Coconut-Rum Cake with Lemon Curd and White Chocolate Ganache

A subtle lemon-coconut-rum cake with fantastic fillings and topped with a white chocolate ganache. Perfect for a special occasion. I received this recipe from a retired baker. All the measurements were in "baker's speak". Here is my version for the home cook.

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs
1 9-inch layer cake


Coconut Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

  • cup full-fat coconut milk

  • cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Lemon Curd:

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Coconut Pastry Cream:

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon coconut-flavored rum (such as Malibu®)

Coconut Rum Simple Syrup:

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • ½ fluid ounce coconut-flavored rum (such as Malibu®)

White Chocolate Ganache:

  • cup heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 1 fluid ounce coconut-flavored rum (such as Malibu®)

  • 9 ounces white chocolate melting wafers (such as Ghirardelli®)

  • 1 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch metal cake pans.

  2. Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt for cake into a bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs, coconut milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl until well combined.

  3. Cream sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, scraping down as needed. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the milk mixture and mix on low until evenly incorporated. Repeat, ending with remaining flour mixture, scraping down the bowl after each addition and mixing at medium speed until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Evenly split batter among the prepared cake pans.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cakes are starting to pull away from the sides of the pans, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes; invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  5. While cakes cool, make lemon curd. Mix sugar and cornstarch well in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk whole eggs and egg yolks together in a small bowl and set aside.

  6. Heat lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture all at once. Bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly. Whisk some of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Pour back into the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick, 5 to 10 minutes.

  7. Remove curd from heat and add butter. Mix until smooth. Strain curd if necessary and place in a small bowl. Press plastic wrap against the surface and chill, at least 20 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, make pastry cream. Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Whisk egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl until well mixed.

  9. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan until simmering. Add sugar-cornstarch mixture and whisk until smooth and sugar is melted. Whisk some of the hot milk into the eggs to temper them. Pour back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

  10. Remove pastry cream from heat and stir in butter and coconut rum; mix until smooth. Strain if necessary, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 20 minutes.

  11. For the simple syrup, bring sugar, water, and rum to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 15 to 20 minutes.

  12. For the ganache, combine heavy cream, butter, corn syrup, and rum in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Mix until smooth. Allow to cool to lukewarm, 5 to 10 minutes.

  13. Trim tops of cake layers to be flat, if needed. Place 1 cooled cake layer onto a serving plate. Brush with 1/2 of the simple syrup. Cover with 1/2 of the pastry cream. Drop spoonfuls of lemon curd on top and smooth out carefully. Repeat with a second layer and remaining syrup, pastry cream, and curd. Carefully place the third cake layer on top. Frost the entire cake with ganache and sprinkle toasted coconut over the sides and top.

Cook's Notes:

You can use light coconut milk instead of full-fat. You can use half-and-half instead of heavy cream for the coconut cake batter.

You can use baker's spray on three 9-inch silicone cake pans instead of metal cake pans.

Lemon curd and pastry cream can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

775 Calories
45g Fat
87g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 14
Calories 775
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 45g 57%
Saturated Fat 29g 143%
Cholesterol 247mg 82%
Sodium 283mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 87g 32%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 57g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 149mg 11%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 248mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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