Saturday, April 23, 2011

Honey-Kissed Lemon Coconut Cake with Strawberries (gluten, dairy and egg-free)

Yesterday was my birthday. A very special day with my family that actually started the night before and will probably end tomorrow :) I am so blessed to have a husband that loves me and an adorable baby that brings so much joy and love to my (our) life. I was also very excited to make a special cake that I have been dreaming about for a few months now. Mostly because I couldn't wait to get some strawberries, even if they were from California (Michigan strawberries are the BEST!). But also because I love to bake, and special occasions. So, I started working on this cake I had in mind...

As a kid, my mom would ask us kids when it was our birthday what cake we wanted this year. It was always a special thing because I am the oldest of five kids, and when you get something special, or that YOU yourself want, it makes it special in itself. Anyway, so I always liked to ask for some kind of fruit focused cake. Like strawberry or lemon.... and that is how this cake evolved. A funny memory from one of my lemon cakes when I was a kid was that it also had Starburst candy all over it in the formation of flowers (my mom really liked to decorate our cakes and have color themes :) And, I guess one year I remember a lemon cake with peach ring gummy candy on it as well... haha, I guess I have evolved as well to like more than chewy-gummy candy on a yummy cake. Good memories though.
This year I made a lemon themed cake with a honey glaze and coconut frosting topped with nothing more than a delectable and delicious fruit, the strawberry. Hm, I must tell the truth. I did a second take on the baking of the cake because I wasn't 100% satisfied with the texture results. But I guess that is what happens when you are a GF baker. You test, try and experiment more than sometimes you wish or want to. The recipe I am sharing today is what I came up with to be the best results. And, of course, it tasted fabulous to me. So, my friends, here is my birthday cake for 2011. It is very pretty, and brought much sunshine on my birthday that was covered in rain.

Lemon Coconut Cake Recipe
1/2 cup of sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of organic corn flour
1 cup of organic cornmeal
1 TB of flaxmeal
2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of xanthan gum

Mix all of the above dry ingredients together first in a large mixing bowl.

1 1/4 cups of non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious coconut milk beverage, which is the best!)
4 ts. of apple cider vinegar (or more lemon juice would work here too).

Then mix the above two ingredients in a separate bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes to create a "buttermilk" or kefir-like mixture. After turning into a curdled milk, then you can add it to dry mix ingredients with the following wet ingredients:

1/2 cup of light olive oil
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1/2 cup of local honey
1/3 cup of applesauce (I used my own unsweetened homemade)
1/4-1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Also, add the zest of 1-2 lemons for about 2 TB of lemon zest.

Mix all of the ingredients together, the dry, milk mixture and wet ingredients. Mix well and then pour into (2) 8 or 9 inch circle cake pans. I greased my pans with solid organic palm oil shortening before I poured the cake mix to ensure that I could get my cakes out of the pan and still be in one piece. (Or you could pour this cake batter into a 9x13 pan if you wanted to make a long rectangular cake). Bake the cakes side by side to also get the same baking results, and bake for 40-45 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Pull from oven, test with pick to make sure cakes are clear of any goo, and then let cool on the stove before doing the next steps...

After the cakes are cooled and ready for adding glaze and frosting and berries, poke the cakes with a toothpick and then brush a glaze over the tops of the cakes (or bottoms depending on what is the side you are going to use as the real bottom of the cake as you assemble).

Honey-lemon glaze ingredients:
1/3 cup of local honey
2 TB of lemon juice
dash of sea salt
(NOTE: I have been told that coconut nectar would be good subs for honey if you are strict vegan.)

Put the above ingredients in a saucepan and warm on the stove top until bubbling. Then use a kitchen brush and brush the glaze over the cakes that have been poked in their pans and let the glaze soak into little holes in the cakes. Let the cakes sit for 30 minutes to soak up the glaze, and in the meantime, make the coconut frosting...

Coconut Frosting Ingredients:
1 can of pure fat coconut milk (only use the cream that is separated in the can, toss the gooey liquid that is semi-clear and save and use the thick white cream that should be at the top of the can separated). Estimated amount of cream would be somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 cup of cream.
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of tapioca flour

Use a mixer to whip up the following ingredients, then set in the freezer for the remainder of the time you are waiting for the cakes to soak up glaze, about 25-30 minutes. Then, use the same mixer to blend again before topping cakes. The frosting is a bit runny and more of a glaze as well, but it will harden more after it has been topped. If you need to make it more manageable to use, then I suggest you leave it in the freezer a bit longer till it is to your liking.

Then cut a quart of fresh, organic strawberries to tops your cakes with.

Ok, now we have come to the putting-it-all-together part!

Put one of the glazed cakes on your serving cake platter, brush with more glaze if you desire. Then, top with coconut frosting just on top ( it can drizzle down if that is the look you want). Then cover cake with slices of strawberry. do as much or as little as you want. Then take the second cake, and also brush with more glaze if you desire, and top with frosting. And arrange the rest of the fresh cut strawberries how you desire. Then also top with some lemon zest and mint if you want. It is ready to serve! Yeah, the moment you have been waiting for!

Yet, the cake is so pretty and yummy smelling you make have a problem cutting into it and serving. Take a moment to enjoy and display with much pride and love! Then, at the right moment (do not delay too long!) cut into your cake and eat, enjoy and share!

This cake could serve 8-12 people and is best kept in the fridge as leftovers because of the frosting and berries.

Some other "baker's" notes:
* If you are a strict vegan, you can sub out the honey for agave nectar, no problem.
* If you are allergic to corn, I would suggest using almond flour as the corn flour and meal substitutes...haven't tried it yet personally, but that is the flour I would try if wanting to avoid corn.

One last thought-

This is my beautiful birthday cake (Earth-Day style!), but because my birthday so wonderfully fell on Easter weekend this year, it could also serve as a leftover Easter treat as well. I doubt that it is your birthday (maybe one or two of you), but you may want to make this pretty cake as an Easter dessert treat.... I would suggest you do! It is a beautiful spring-looking and fresh smelling cake that would be loved and enjoyed by many!

I hope you enjoy this holiday Sunday, and if you are a Jesus-follower like me-there is much to celebrate! New life, restoration and resurrection because of the love of Jesus! Thank you God for His undying love!

Much love to you today! And a special Easter blessing to you!


  1. OMG, Stephanie, that looks crazy good! I'm going to substitute coconut nectar for the honey to make it vegan, but WOW! This looks eye-poppingly spectactular! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! More ways to bake with So Delicious coconut milk. I LOVE it!!!!

  2. P.S. Happy belated birthday!!!!!!

  3. That looks incredible! I am going to make that soon.

    If you are eating California strawberries you might want to do a search on the current debate regarding some very dangerous chemicals that are currently being used on most strawberries from California.

  4. Thanks Helen, I did not know of this coconut nectar you speak of...:) I will have to find it and try it. Thanks for commenting and the birthday wishes!

    Megan- Thanks for the info on cali strawberries. I will have to look into it. My strawberries came from my favorite health store where I live, everything is organic and usually really great. I paid an arm and a leg for them... I will have to look into what's going on. Thanks for commenting!

  5. This looks soooooo amazing! Any ideas for frosting that is coconut free? I can't have coconut cream or dairy cream or mimic cream either! :(

  6. This looks yummy -- but why all the different flours?

  7. Ariana- I myself sometimes try to find good dairy-free coconut free alternatives... and it is hard! I really like using hemp milk occasionally, but there is no cream version of that. I also have used spectrum organic palm shortening as a frosting, but it doesn't mix well with agave and is more stiff... You could omit the cream from the cake and add a favorite frosting of yours...

    I use so many flours to have a stiff, yet moist cake, And in GF baking you have to mix flours to have a good blend, texture and taste... I guess that is just my opinion...

  8. Happy birthday! This looks gorgeous.

  9. As usual, this new creation of yours looks divine! Kudos to you on your persistence and creativity!
    I love learning a little more about you with each recipe you post. Thanks for sharing your passions through your blog, it's a blessing to know you across the miles and "web space." Easter blessings to you and your family - He is risen, and for this we are so thankful! :)

  10. Hi Stephanie - just wanted to let you know that I highlighted this recipe in my Favorite Recipes post for last week. Thanks! ~Aubree

  11. Aubree- Thanks for the link and blog love. Much love to you!!!

  12. First of all A late Happy Birthday to you! You & me both have our Birthday's in April! Yeah!! This stylish & ooh so beautiful decorated & filled cake looks just stunning!!

    That's quite a lot of work though to make it!! MMMMMMM,...! :)

  13. There needs to be more gluten free recipes. Thanks for your efforts.

  14. Could this cake be made ahead of time (as in the day before) and then have everything assembled the day of the party? I'm wondering how the frosting would hold up over night. Does anyone know?

    Thank you!
    Mary Beth