[Paleo] Coconut Cake with Lemon Frosting

Paleo Update:  Jon and I are officially 17 days into our Paleo challenge!  Although there have been some temptations and many cravings, we haven’t even come close to our “breaking points.”  Good news, right? 😉  Here are a few of our insights:

  • I don’t feel noticeably different.  I was hoping to feel like I had extra energy on Paleo since a lot of people have had that experience.  Nope… I feel the same.  BUT, Jon astutely pointed out that that’s a good thing!  We are functioning just as well on about half of the calories we used to consume!
  • I didn’t lose any weight for almost the entire 2nd week – I just stayed flat.  After losing almost 5lbs the 1st week, it was pretty disappointing especially since I had worked out FIVE times and eaten really well.  Jon thinks I’m gaining muscle and he swears my face looks slightly thinner but my clothes haven’t been fitting any differently.  However, a couple of days into week 3 and I’ve dropped a pound!
  • After about two weeks, a Paleo lifestyle starts to feel fairly “normal.”  In some regards, it’s a lot more satisfying.  I used to eat a Chobani greek yogurt every morning but now I have a piece of frittata or egg whites and bacon.  Warm meals feel so much heartier!


Paleo Coconut Cake_2

Who’s says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?!  We may be on a diet but we can still eat cake (best.diet.ever)!  Granted, there are some ingredient modifications but nothing that I couldn’t find in my local grocery store (Wegman’s).  If you’re a skeptic, you may be thinking, “Yeah, but I bet it tastes funny or has a weird consistency.”  I had the same thoughts but trust me, this cake is deeeelicious.  If I had to compare it to a “normal” cake, I would say it’s more dense (similar to a pound cake) and the frosting doesn’t have a super smooth consistency.  But other than that, it’s oh-so-good and filled with “good” fats!

I came across the recipe on Paleo in PDX and pinned it immediately!  I couldn’t wait to try my first Paleo-friendly dessert and I don’t even like coconut!  Luckily the flavor is very faint.  This was my first time working with coconut flour and it smells amazing.  (Look for it in the gluten-free section)

Let’s get baking!

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (F) and lightly grease two 9″ cake pans (or one 13″ x 9″ cake pan).

We’re actually going to make the frosting before the cake and we’re going to make the frosting in a blender!  I know, I know – I’m really switching things up today but there’s a method to my madness.  We’re making the frosting first because it needs set to firm up in the fridge.

Once you’ve pulled out your blender, add the coconut oil, coconut milk, honey, vanilla extract, coconut flour and lemon juice – aka all frosting ingredients.

Tip:  Alisa mentioned that you should carefully measure your coconut flour because it’s so dense that a little extra can have a big impact.

Tip:  When you first open your coconut milk, the contents will be separated.  Make sure to combine them again before measuring and adding to the blender.

Blend the frosting for 20-30 seconds and pour into a bowl.  Don’t be alarmed if it’s pretty runny – just look at mine:

Paleo Coconut Cake_Frosting

Set the bowl in your fridge and we’ll come back to it in a little bit.

Okay, now it’s time to make the cake!

In a small bowl, sift your coconut flour, salt and baking soda.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Sifting

In a large mixing bowl (like your Kitchen Aid bowl), combine your eggs, honey, vanilla, and melted coconut oil.

Tip:  Coconut oil is sold in jars and is a solid at room temperature.  To melt it, I simply placed the jar in a bowl of hot tap water.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Eggs

Slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Adding

Once everything has been combined and the batter is smooth, fold in your shredded coconut flakes.

Tip:  The original recipe calls for one cup but I don’t like coconut that much so I only added 1/2 cup.  I couldn’t really taste it at all.  Next time I will probably omit it all together.

Fill your cake pan(s) with the batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Prebake

I checked mine at 25 and the centers weren’t quite set so I let them bake for another 5 minutes.  Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Postbake

Once the cake(s) have cooled, remove them from the pan and set on a serving dish.

Paleo Coconut Cake_Plain 2

Take out your bowl of frosting from the fridge and give it a good stir.  If it’s too thick to spread, microwave it for 10 seconds and stir it again.  Frost away!  Since I did two cake pans, I frosted a layer between the two cakes and then added another layer of frosting on the top.  Yum!

Paleo Coconut Cake_2

[Paleo] Coconut Cake with Lemon Frosting

Inspired by Paleo in PDX

Serves 10-12

Ingredients (Frosting)

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (place jar in a bowl of hot water)
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, room temperature with layers combined
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

What to Do (Frosting)

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend for 20-30 seconds and pour contents into a bowl.
  3. Place bowl in the refrigerator until needed.

Ingredients (Cake)

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes

What to Do (Cake)

  1. In a small bowl, sift the coconut flour, salt and baking soda together.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, and melted coconut oil.
  3. Slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
  4. Once everything has been combined and the batter is smooth, fold in your shredded coconut flakes.
  5. Fill two 9″ cake pan(s) or a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with the batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Once the cake(s) have cooled, remove them from the pan and set on a serving dish.
  7. Take out your bowl of frosting from the fridge and give it a good stir.  If it’s too thick to spread, microwave it for 10 seconds and stir it again.
  8. Frost a layer between the two cakes and then another layer on top.

27 thoughts on “[Paleo] Coconut Cake with Lemon Frosting

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Heather! I’m glad to hear you’re inspired – that’s a HUGE compliment. 🙂

      This cake is great! Let me know if you give a try. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  1. YUM! That sounds and looks super delish!! Congrats on being a total beast with your paleo challenge! I should take a leaf out of your frittata book–lately I’ve been craving warm breakfasts (it’s so cold outside!) and I can only eat so much oatmeal 🙂 Yay for paleo baking!!

    • Haha, I don’t know if I’d say I’m beasting the Paleo challenege – I still get strong cravings (sugar, sugar, sugar!) but thank you!

      Yesss, frittatas are where it’s at. I love how versatile they are – literally just throw whatever you’ve got into one. They last a few days too so you’ll be good to go for almost the whole week. 🙂

  2. This sounds AMAZING! I’ve been dying to bake, but because I’ve been trying to omit sugar and butter from my diet, I can’t think of anything to make. I will DEFINITELY be trying this, though probably in cupcake form. So excited! Writing this down so I don’t forget. Thanks!! 😀

    • Awesome! I can’t wait to see your cupcake version. I know what you mean – it’s definitely a challenge to find sugar/butter-free baking recipes. Buuuuut if you get “creative,” you can substitute honey and coconut oil. 😉

      I have a Paleo banana bread that I’ll be sharing soon and if you feel like baking, I recommend that. It’s super simple and DELICIOUS. You can’t tell it’s any different from “normal” banana bread.

      • I never thought to sub in coconut oil! I always just tried applesauce, stevia, and honey. Interesting. Looking forward to the banana bread! Zach and I put the cupcake recipe ingredients on the list for the next couple of weeks (we’ll see which one works the best) and he’s surprisingly looking forward to it, too. Thanks!!

    • Yes, it was so good! I actually thought it was better the day after – letting it sit in the fridge really firmed everything up and we kind of liked it cold. Thanks for sharing!

  3. great job on keeping up the Paleo lifestyle!! it’s incredible that you are still feeling normal despite only consuming half the amount of calories. this cake looks fantastic and definitely quite the treat!!

    • Thank you! Your encouragement is greatly appreciated. 🙂 I agree – half the calories is insane but surprisingly, it’s actually kind of hard to eat enough calories when you cut out all the “filler” foods. But that’s where little treats like this cake come in. 😉

    • Thank you! If you love coconut and you make this cake, I suggest increasing the shredded coconut. I decreased the amount since I’m not a huge fan so the flavor would be fairly subtle.

  4. I think Jon is right! I’m sure you’re gaining muscles ;). Keep up the good work and you’ll start to see those pants getting baggier. I had to laugh when you mentioned Jon telling you that your face looks thinner. I don’t care what the scale says. If my face looks thinner that’s all that matters hehe.
    I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes with coconut flour, and I’m dying to try it!

    • Haha, thank you! If you and Jon agree, then I’m convinced! I really appreciate your support though. 🙂

      Yes, you should definitely give coconut flour a try! It’s much more dense than other flours so most recipes call for much less (or much more liquid ingredients). I think it tastes great and bakes well!

  5. Wow, Leah, good for you! I’ve been reading about paleo lately and while I wouldn’t change my entire diet, I’d love to incorporate some of the elements into it. It’s really awesome that you feel normal this many weeks in – I’ve heard that some people feel a huge (and sometimes unpleasant at first) change. And this cake looks pretty damn good if you ask me!

    • Thank you for your support! It’s definitely been a challenge the first couple weeks but once you get into the swing of it, it’s not so bad (except the sugar cravings). After we complete the January challenge, we don’t plan on keeping a strict Paleo diet. Our goal is to stay 75-80% Paleo so I think incorporating some elements is a great idea!

  6. Wonderful job on your Paleo diet! You are inspiring Leah. This coconut cake with lemon frosting looks scrumptious. Love the honey 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Judy! This cake is definitely a nice Paleo-treat. It’s been so much fun experimenting with new ingredients and trying new recipes!

  7. Great job sticking to the Paleo diet! I think you may not notice a big difference in energy levels if you’re not gluten sensitive – that’s where (I think) people’s new energy comes from when they try Atkins / South Beach / Paleo.
    Mind if I ask what calories you and Jon aim for each day?

    • Thanks, Sarah! You make a great point – luckily, I’ve never been gluten sensitive.

      I’m aiming for about 1100-1300 calories each day but that’s only because I’m working on losing a few pounds. Once I reach my goal weight, I plan to increase my intake to 1500-1700. Jon is currently aiming for 1500-1800 calories per day and he’s also working to lose weight. Are you interested in going Paleo?

      • I don’t think I can go full-on Paleo, but I’m gluten free and trying to cut out unhealthy things / working on losing those extra pounds I’ve gained since college. The Paleo recipes you’ve posted look delicious & I especially love the idea of sweets w/o sugar! (or at least without added sugar). Thanks for sharing your calorie goals – I was wondering how calories on Paleo related to more traditional calorie recommendations & it seems very similar! Sarah
        PS I tried the Paleo Pancake recipe you posted & it was delicious!

        • That’s great – good for you! Jon and I are definitely going to try to stay 75-80% Paleo even after the month of January. We just feel good and feel like we’re fueling our bodies the right way.

          So glad you’ve liked my recent Paleo-friendly posts. 🙂 Lucky for you, all Paleo recipes are also GF recipes – yay! That’s awesome that you tried the pancake recipe – I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Let me know if you try any other Paleo recipes (mine or otherwise).

          • Yes, I’m so excited since I figured out Paleo recipes are always gluten free. I’m excited to start using more coconut – like in this recipe! I’ll be sure to let you know if I try any other Paleo-approved recipes!

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