Coconut & Lime Palm Tree Cake

I have a good friend, who over the years, has become mad about palm trees. She’s full of palm tree facts, likes to drink from palm tree cups and I bet she’d have a good go at climbing one given the chance. Therefore it was only fitting that for her birthday I bake her a palm tree cake. What flavour would a palm tree cake take? I went with coconut and lime to give it that tropical vibe that my friend Allie loves so much, and sandwiched the cake together with zingy lime curd.

The recipe below makes a round cake, 20cm in diameter, you may wish to double to recipe to make a larger, two-tier cake (as pictured above).

This recipe is adapted from Coconut and Lime Cake – Diana Henry.

Coconut & Lime Palm Tree Cake with lime curd and coconut buttercream


245g butter, softened

245g soft brown sugar

Zest of 2 limes, finely grated

2 eggs (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g desiccated coconut

200mL coconut milk

For the lime curd:

2 eggs yolks

80g castor sugar

50mL lime juice

40g butter, coarsely chopped

For the coconut buttercream:

100g butter, softened

100g icing sugar

Coconut cream


  1. 1.For the cake: Preheat oven to 180ºC/350º/gas mark 4, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. Place butter, lime zest and sugar in a large bowl and beat together (cream) until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add desiccated coconut and combine with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture along with the coconut cream and fold gently to combine. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour, until risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once cooked, leave in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 
  2. 2.While the cake is cooking prepare the lime curd: In a bowl whisk yolks and sugar to combine, followed by lime juice. Transfer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add butter and stir continuously over a medium heat until just simmering (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and pour into a sterilised jar (makes 150mL). Leave to cool before using in cake.
  3. 3. For the buttercream, beat butter, icing sugar and as much of the coconut cream as necessary, to achieve a fluffy consistency
  4. Assembly: Once the cake it completely cool, saw in half  carefully.
  5. 4. Use the lime curd to sandwich the two layers together. Ice with the coconut buttercream. (I coloured some of my icing green for the top layer, and used a green fondant and stencils to cut out the green leaf shapes).

Tips and Tricks 

Double the mixture to make a two-tier cake as shown in the photo.

The lime curd can be made and stored in the fridge for up to a week, it’s also great for many other things – such as smothered on toast.

The coconut cream (as opposed to coconut milk) in the buttercream will give it a stronger coconut flavour, and it has a thicker consistency.


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