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. So for her birthday I bake her a palm tree cake, coconut and lime seemed a suitably tropical flavour. The layers are sandwiched together with zingy lime curd and iced with coconut butter cream.

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 Diana Henry’s Coconut and lime cake.


245g butter, softened

245g soft brown sugar

2 limes, zest finely grated

2 eggs (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g desiccated coconut

200ml coconut milk


2 eggs yolks

80g castor sugar

50ml lime juice

40g butter, coarsely chopped


100g butter, softened

100g icing sugar

Coconut cream

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 down sift flour and baking powder, add desiccated coconut and combine with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the butter, add the coconut cream and fold gently to combine. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the over and leave in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack.

To make 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 the cake.

To make the buttercream – beat the butter, icing sugar and as much of the coconut cream as necessary, to achieve a fluffy consistency

Assembly – once the cake is completely cool, saw in half, spread generous amounts of lime curd on the bottom layer and place the second layer on top. Ice with the coconut buttercream. I coloured some of the icing green for the top tier, and used green fondant leaf shapes to decorate.


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 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.