Say it with me, Cherry Coconut Cake.
I don’t need a reason to bake, or make a cake, but having a birthday certainly provides a very good one. I like making my own birthday cakes, and have done it for many years. One year I couldn’t decide between two different flavours, so I made both and posted on Facebook, “its my birthday, I’ve got cake, pop by for a slice and a cuppa.” There was no RSVP, or formal invite, a casual, come on over. I was absolutely amazed and blessed by the number of friends and acquaintances who popped it! The cakes were enjoyed by all, and it remains one of my most memorable birthdays.
This year it was the opposite; no social gatherings, no impromptu cake party, no friends and family, yeah thanks Covid. Despite all the lockdown restrictions there was still cake ! This delicious Cherry & Coconut number. Oh my. It was absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. I think I will try with raspberries now that fresh cherries are going out of season.
In fact, I might just make it again this week, because in all this corona virus craziness we can at least enjoy cake!


cover image for coconut and cherry cake Cherry Coconut Cake with Lemon & beetroot Frosting

Serves 8 

Prep Time: 60 minutes + 60 minutes refrigeration time 

Baking Time: 30 Minutes + 90 minutes cooling time 


300 g unsalted butter, at room temp

250 g caster sugar

6 large free range eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup/ 135g  unsweetened greek yogurt 

1/2 cup coconut cream

zest of 1 lemon

200 g plain flour

100 g ground almonds

100 g fine desiccated coconut

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and cut in half (frozen cherries are fine , don’t defrost)

Cream cheese buttercream

150 g unsalted butter,  room temperature 

500 g cream cheese, room temperature

Juice and zest of half a lemon

2 cups icing sugar sifted

1-2 teaspoons freeze dried beetroot powder or concentrated cherry juice

Optional decorations – coconut flakes, rose petals, flowers, fresh cherries 


  1. Grease and line 3x20cm cake tins with baking paper, and preheat the oven to 180°
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
  4. Add the vanilla, yogurt, lemon zest and coconut cream and mix until just combined.
  5. Add the flour, ground almonds, coconut and baking powder and mix until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three tins. Top with equal amounts of cherries scattered evenly over the top of each cake (don’t press in).
  7. Bake for 25- 30 minutes until the surface of the cake just springs back to touch and a skewer inserted comes out just clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, turn out and allow to cool completely before icing.

Cream cheese frosting

  1. It is imperative that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature before you start or the icing will be lumpy. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter until smooth and creamy, a couple of minutes. Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, until fully combined.
  3. Add the lemon juice and zest,  beat to combine.
  4. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar after about a minute until just combined. Add the beetroot powder or concentrated cherry juice.
  5. Set aside , cover but do not refrigerate. 

To assemble

  1. Place one cake layer on the plate, cakeboard or cake stand you plan to serve it on.
  2. Top with a spoonful of cream cheese buttercream and use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the cake at about 1/2 cm – 1 cm thick. Gently place a second cake on top. Repeat with the icing, then another cake layer, then icing again. If it is warm in your kitchen, or a very hot day, at this point you may want to place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes to make it easier to ice the sides.
  3. Gently spread a thin layer of  frosting around the sides of the cake, this is called the crumb layer and it is important on such a soft cake. Refrigerate for another 30- 40  minutes to set the frosting on the cake. ( do not refrigerate the frosting) 
  4. Gently spread the remaining frosting over the cake using an offset spatula. I use an offset spatula as I find this makes it easier to get a smooth layer. It may take a little bit of patience to get it even and smooth.
  5. Decorate with coconut shavings, fresh cherries or edible flowers and serve.

Original recipe adapted from The Brick Kitchen 

Cherry Coconut Cake with cream cheese frosting Cherry Coconut Cake with Lemon & beetroot Frosting


Cherry Coconut Cake with Lemon & beetroot Frosting Cherry Coconut Cake with Lemon & beetroot Frosting

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