I made us a cake!

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

And in doing so, probably eliminated a good percentage of the population with the whole lemon thing. Then I go and add coconut and well, oomph.

These are some serious love-or-hate-it flavors here.

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

In this journey of life that I like to call talking to my invisible internet friends, I’ve watched my tastes go from never wanting anything lemon flavored ever to downright craving the tart and sweet flavor. It totally blows my mind and also makes me feel like I’m getting old since I never knew anyone when I was younger that liked lemon stuff besides my grandma. Now I know more people.

Now I’m old.

What I find incredibly nuts is that now when I want something sweet, which let’s be honest – is every single day – I can actually determine if it’s chocolate or peanut butter or citrus that I want. Perhaps this is what people mean when they say they’ve “found themself?”

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

If knowing that I want lemon cheesecake over a brownie is knowing myself, then yes indeed… I’ve found myself. I might go hide just so I can find myself again.

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

Cheesecake fake out above! Right? Looks like cheesecake.

Isn’t cheesecake. I’m having cake remorse right now. Wish it was cheesecake. I should learn, for all of our sakes.

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

I call this easy lemon cake because, well… it’s easy. Emphasis on the easy. You can mix it in a bowl with a spoon and don’t have to use your mixer. Keep in mind that doing so will not yield a super light and fluffy cake that will often result with the use of your stand mixer, but it still is quite delicious and cake-like nonetheless.

It’s also only one layer because it’s 2013 and I’d like to know who has the patience to make a layer cake. No, really. I’d love to know. Because I don’t. And then I feel terrible about myself and like crud when I see all my inspirational and often very busy blog friends make incredible layer cakes with ombre frosting and ribbons and swirls and topped with the sistine chapel ceiling made out of candy. I’m (not so) secretly jealous. Not only are my layer cakes eternally crooked, uneven and generally a giant mess, but I do not possess the frosting skills nor the willingness to endure such artistry. It takes a lot.

I’m more of a bake-something-and-throw-crap-on-top type of girl.

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

Back to the flavors.

So while I’m all over the lemon now, sometimes I need a little something… extra? That’s where the marshmallow frosting comes in. Which isn’t so easy, but I gave you easy cake so can we overlook such a thing? Actually it is really easy, but the technique is going to freak you out so listen up now when I say for real, it is super easy. I can’t get enough of this stuff. Ugh. So good. And then the coconut – I mean, that just sort of goes with lemon, right? Plus, it’s all Easter-y and what not. Feel free to leave it off. Or pile more on!

Do what you want. We all know I do.

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com


Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut

Yield: serves 4-6

Total Time: 1.5 hours


2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
the zest of 4 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (this was 3 lemons for me)
3 tablespoons milk

marshmallow frosting
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut, toasted if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a round 9-inch cake pan (mine was springform) with nonstick spray liberally.

In a small bowl, whisk together sifted flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in cooled butter and vanilla extract, whisking until combined. Stir in all of the lemon zest. Add half of the flour mixture, stirring well, then add in the lemon juice and milk. Stir in remaining dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Pour into the greased 9-inch pan and use a spatula to even out the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake is set and springs back when touched. Remove and let cool completely.

marshmallow frosting
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl, preferably the bowl of your electric stand mixer. Place over top of a double-boiler that contains simmering water, and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are slightly warm. Immediately remove the bowl and place it on your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beating slow at first and gradually increasing the speed to high. Beat for 6-7 minutes until glossy and thick, then beat in vanilla extract for another minute until combined. Frost cake as desired, then top with coconut!

[adapted from mother lovett's orange cake, frosting from martha]

Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut I howsweeteats.com

I might have eaten half of that cake up there with a fork. Not sliced. So embarrassing.

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113 Responses to “Easy Lemon Cake with Marshmallow Frosting + Toasted Coconut.”

  1. #
    FashionEdible — March 27, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    Wow – I am not a lemon person by any means (I love Limoncello and lemon meringue but that’s about it) but this may convert me. I think the marshmallow frosting is what really gets me. Yum.

    FashionEdible Blog


  2. #
    Paula (Sweetharts) — March 27, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

    Love it! Looks so nice, I’ve never thought to pair coconut with lemon…may just have to make this :)


  3. #
    Not Only Sugar — March 28, 2013 @ 6:55 am

    This cake is so lovely!!!

    Not Only Sugar


  4. #
    Michelle — March 28, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    Oh…. this sounds ah-mazing. You didn’t lose me, Jessica! Yum!!! You made a cake!!


  5. #
    Erin @ The Food Doctors — March 28, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    First, there are people who don’t like lemon?? Whaa huh?

    Second, I was super disappointed to read marshmallow frosting UNTIL I looked at the recipe and realized it’s vegetarian. Ummm… I might have to make this ASAP. Yum!!


  6. #
    Lauren — March 28, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    Fabulous pics in this post! I love the freshly squeezed lemons.
    I totally get it; I was anti-citrus-in-baked-goods until last year, and this past winter I’ve gone crazy for anything lemon, starting with your sparkly lemon truffles that I made for new years’. This craze got a little out of control when blood oranges hit the shelves, and peaked when I stumbled upon meyer lemons for the first time (score!!!!), started cooking lemon curd and throwing it into everything I made. I’m thinking I should make this cake and then chill out on this flavor for awhile, since it’s almost time for my roasted strawberry obsession to pick back up. ;-) Btw, I’m eating avocado toast with roasted red pepper hummus and it is So. Good. I figured I needed to eat something substantial before I give myself permission to raid the Cadbury mini egg stash…haha.


  7. #
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips — March 28, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    OK, my favorite thing about this post is that a 9 inch cake serves 4-6 because that is totally how I roll. A quarter of a cake is pretty much the right serving size!


  8. #
    Colette from JFF! — March 28, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

    Been looking for a good marshmallow frosting.
    This looks great – I’m going to make it for Easter!


  9. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — March 28, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

    At first I was like eh another lemon cake, but WHOA marshmallow frosting? Sold.


  10. #
    Heidi @foodiecrush — March 28, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    Lemon, lemon, I’m all about lemon even if it isn’t cheesecake and your piping skills are way above par, check you out!


  11. #
    Adam — March 28, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    Who doesn’t love Lemon?! And in this amazing cake how could you refuse. Excited to try out this recipe tomorrow!


  12. #
    Mommypage — March 28, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

    This cake looks incredible! Especially for people who have lemon trees and want a recipe with lemons- this is perfect! The frosting looks tasty as well!


  13. #
    Katie@Cozydelicious — March 28, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

    I love lemon and I love coconut. So yummy! And that frosting looks awesome!


  14. #
    Lisa L — March 28, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    Jessica, any way you can substitute marshmallow fluff for the icing? What would I add to thin it out to icing consistency? And one of your other commenters mentioned “limoncello” which I think would be a kick-ass addition – maybe poke holes in the cake a la Tres Leches cakes and let it soak in? I’m just riffing here…


  15. #
    Molly @Bakelette — March 28, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

    I love lemon! And coconut! THis sounds divine! And I am right there with you on the layer cakes, I would love to have the patience to make them, but nope can’t find myself as patient.
    xo M


  16. #
    Anne Roberts — March 28, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

    What the hell is wrong with you? Do you not understand that you have undermined all logical thought with regard to dessert, sweets, inability to stay away from coconut…..holy cow. This is looking like something that may delay the bikini factor of spring…….oh well, shorts will do in the meantime. Kudos.


  17. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — March 29, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    I adore the tart sweetness of lemon desserts, and the marshmallow & toasted coconut topping makes it all the better! This cake is gorgeous :)


  18. #
    Jennifer — March 29, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Gah! It’s beautiful and the sweet / tart combo of lemon is making my mouth water.


  19. #
    victoria — March 30, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

    AH! question!!!! i have no idea if this will be answered or seen BUT! can the marshmallow frosting be made before hand? or does it have to be made right before eating the cake? i’m hoping to make it for easter tmrw but won’t have much time the morning of and am trying to prep as much as possible! eeeeep let me know :)


    • Jessica — March 30th, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

      if you want to make it tonight, i would make the entire cake beforehand and frost it, then stick it in the fridge!


  20. #
    Brenda — March 31, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    I made this for Easter. It was a huge hit! Thanks for the great recipie it’s definitely going into the family cookbook I’m creating for my daughter. :)


  21. #
    Katie — April 2, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    Totally making this tonight as a “yay for your new job” cake for my husband……totally intimidated by the frosting, but I’m going to attempt it! :)


    • Katie — April 2nd, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

      PS – if I made the frosting and the cake at the same time, would the frosting keep well in the fridge while the cake is cooling? 2 hours or so?


  22. #
    Susie — April 3, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

    I am so sad that my frosting never got “thick and glossy” – what did I do wrong?? I used a metal bowl for the double-boiler and beat it for like an hour and it never got thick. It remained a glaze. So sad. Any ideas what I did wrong?


    • Babz — April 25th, 2013 @ 10:12 am

      Just like a meringue mix, if even the tiniest bit of yolk gets in the egg white mix, or if the utensils you’re using have any sort of grease on them, the mix will not be able to become thick and glossy…
      Hope this helps!


  23. #
    Rachel {studio cuisine} — April 5, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    Made this cake last night for a potluck dinner tonight and I am DYING to cut into it! Also, all that leftover marshmallow frosting is DANGEROUS!


  24. #
    party bus — April 9, 2013 @ 3:45 am

    how one living, from Hidden Hills, California I want to mention, I liked this article. However, it is funny how I ended up on your website. I searched for limousine services charlotte nc on Yahoo and ended up on your website. I must say I do like your site and will check back soon. But I need to find the limo I was originally looking for first. Have a great day! so long.


  25. #
    Amy Powell — April 16, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    marshmallow frosting? AMAZING. yum.


  26. #
    Kiki — April 25, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

    What’s the likelihood this would make a good cupcake?


    • Jessica — April 25th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

      ahhh unfortunately i am not sure – haven’t tried it at all. i’m sure it would be, but i don’t know how many it will make! maybe 8? that’s just a guess.


  27. #
    Allison @ thebakingyear — May 14, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    looks amazing! your piping is beautiful!! this combination of ingredients is completely unique as well!


  28. #
    Tracy Harouff — June 3, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    Marshmallow probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts comes from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well.’.-^



  29. #
    Liz — July 18, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    Love this recipe. Thank you. Have a good one.


  30. #
    KayleneP @ The Links Site — October 23, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    My lemon tree is covered with small lemons at the moment. I know what I’ll be making when they are ready!


  31. #
    Anne — February 4, 2014 @ 10:59 am

    Stop reading my diary, Miss Jessica. This cake is ALL my favorite things in one. Add Gossip Girl re-runs and freshly bown-out hair; and its my nirvana. Hat’s off.


  32. #
    Tara — February 4, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    YUM! Oh and its 2014!!


  33. #
    Judy — February 5, 2014 @ 7:39 am

    I love lemon and orange cakes. I also love citrus body soaps and lotions and cucumber! I wouldn’t do your gran’s orange cake though. Too much like hard work! I can’t get cream of tartar. Sigh.
    I have never ever e v e r got a valentine’s day card in all my long years :'( :'( :'( :'( etc.
    I will try your lemon cake. I had limoncela! but the bottle got broken but I like the idea except when the animals oops I mean the grandchildren come.
    H A G D everybody.


  34. #
    chelsay — May 6, 2014 @ 4:06 am

    I made this on Friday for my fiance’s birthday and it was a smashing success! Such a delicious and easy cake to make, and the marshmallow frosting was genius! The recipe made so much frosting, almost enough for 2 cakes.

    Will definitely make again :-)



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