My Great Grandmother's Buttermilk Lemon Coconut Cake

"My great grandmother made this all the time and no one had the recipe. She never measured anything she put in it. Finally my dad watched her make it one time and before she added each ingredient, he made her stop so he could measure it and write it down. This cake is different from the usual coconut cake in that the icing is less fluffy and instead soaks the cake more. It is to die for!! This is the moistest, densest cake, and the combination of flavors is amazing!"
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Ready In:
1hr 40mins




  • Preheat oven to 300. Grease and flour 3 9" cake pans. Sift together flour and salt.
  • Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
  • Add buttermilk, soda, and flavoring.
  • Add flour mixture gradually until combined. This is similar to a pound cake batter.
  • Pour into cake pans at bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.
  • For Icing:

  • Cook sugar, milk, coconut, marshmallows over a double boiler until smooth. Note: as it is hard to find unsweeted coconut, I've used sweeted and reduced the sugar to 1/2 Cup. Fold in almond extract. Icing will be fairly runny--it's supposed to seep into the cake and run off the sides. If you want it to be thicker, add more marshmallows.
  • Ice layers and top of cake while still hot. I poke holes in the layers with a toothpick so that the icing seeps down into the cake.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight. No cheating! You MUST serve it after it's been refrigerated, and serve it cold - it's best that way.
  • Enjoy!

Questions & Replies

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  1. When I starting making this cake It seem that it had a lot of shortening. I thought that was a mistake. The more I made the cake; I thought it is like an old wedding cake recipe. I believe that is what it is. I think it needed more marshmallows. It was a bit runny.Dan loved the cake and I made it for him. Over all it turn out a pretty good cake. Chef#220151.


I got married to my high school sweetheart in August 06 at the ripe old age of 21, and my husband Luke and I just moved to Birmingham, AL from Auburn. He's in his second year of dental school at UAB. I have a BFA in Graphic Design, and I'm a designer at Time Inc and doing freelance design work on the side. I'm planning to go to grad school for a Master's of Fine Arts in Book Arts some time or another. I had deferred because I think the timing will be better once Luke gets out of school and perhaps I might not need to commute the hour over there. Getting married and getting HALF of a refrigerator instead of sharing one with seven other girls really ignited a cooking fire in me! Lately I've been trying to cut out the sugar, which is hard, because Luke likes sugary pancakes and cereal, and because I like baking things. I need to quit baking! Trying to lose the newlywed nine so I can fit into my winter clothes.
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