11 April 2013

Flourless lime and coconut cake

This is officially the best cake in the world (according to me). Wheat free, grain free, dairy free, low in fat (but not in sugar - hey, you can't have it all), moist, finely textured, exotic, pretty, keeps well and is incredibly easy to make. AND it tastes like lemon meringue pie.

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 Tahitian limes, zested and juiced (about 100ml liquid)
  • 1 cup caster sugar

  • 1 ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup finely desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • pinch salt
for the syrup
  • ¼ cup grated jaggery (or raw sugar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • zest of one lime
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. 
  2. Beat eggs and sugar on a high speed until smooth and creamy, and then add lime juice and zest, salt and baking powder. Finally stir in almonds and coconut with a spoon. 
  3. Pour into a lined tin (I used a 20cm one) and bake for 55 minutes or until a spike tests clean.
  4. Just before serving, place the syrup ingredients into a small pan and heat until dissolved nicely. Pour over cake (can be served warm or cold).
  1. Don't think you can do this without baking paper. It's a sticky cake, and a greased tin just won't cut it. 
  2. Metric measurements - 1 cup = 250ml Conversion link here
Just give me kisses in the comments - you will totally want to marry me once you've made this...


  1. treat for the eyes and mouth.. gorgeous summery colors!.. love

  2. That looks fantaastic - it's going on the table tonight!

  3. Awesome combination of lime and coconut..sounds so yum! Beautiful

  4. Delicious combination, looks tempting!

  5. So, I tried your cake and had a few problems. First, the batter wouldn't all fit into a 20 cm pan. Second, the texture was too crumbly; I could hardly transfer it from the cooling rack to a plate. Also, there was too much lime zest, making it a tad bitter. However, it's worth playing with a bit because the lime a coconut together were so yummy!

    1. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you. Perhaps I should leave my thoughts on why this happened for anyone else, and if you wanted to try again.

      I adapted this recipe from a cloudless orange and almond cake, and I must admit my first attempt was also very crumbly. I therefore used more eggs and less coconut in the second. I also turned down the temperature and cooked it for longer so the dry ingredients had more time to absorb the wet ones and soften up. This second cake was moist and has a fine layer of custard at the top (bottom before its turned out).

      I don't know why the mix would not fit in the pan. I would possibly put that down to very large eggs or more densely packed dry ingredients. I simply poured the coconut and almond meal into the cups, and did not press them in. If your eggs are very large, it may be worth reducing to 5. The pas I used is 7cm deep, but the cake itself is closer to 5.

      I did not put the cake on a cooling rack, but allowed it to cool slightly in the pan before placing it directly on the serving plate. It is a sticky and delicate cake, and I agree, moving it would not be impossible but would take some effort! Leave it in the paper until you are ready to serve.

      Regarding the bitterness, I suggest using a very sharp grater or microplane to zest. The pith below the green layer is very bitter, and if you end up taking that with the zest, it will definitely be bitter. Make sure your limes are ripe and slightly soft, otherwise you will end up taking too much of the bitter elements with the juice as you will be forced to squeeze harder to get the juice out. There is quite a bit of sugar in this recipe, so that should counter the sourness for most people, but this cake is not your standard sweet-tooth cake. It's for grown-up tastes (my 6 year old found it too savoury, but my older son loved it), and should have a sweet and sour taste, but definitely not be bitter.

      I hope that might help somehow - I hate hearing my recipe didn't work out. I hope you'll give it another go.

    2. 'Flourless' cake, not 'cloudless' - Darn autocorrect!

  6. Made this cake today and haven't tasted it yet but my cake seemed to have sank in the middle, any ideas on why? Thanks, Sarah

    1. hmm... That's strange. I've made it twice now (three times including the failed attempt as mentioned above!) and it has done this on no occasion. Also it's a very dense cake that doesn't really rise (the baking powder is minimum, and really just keeps it stable), so it shouldn't have had an opportunity to sink.
      I guess it could be one of the following:
      - An ingredient was forgotten (e.g. baking powder)
      - An ingredient was very different to what I would consider standard (e.g. Dessicated coconut for me is dried, finely grated coconut. If you used the wet, large grated sweetened coconut, it would not work so well). If eggs were larger/smaller...
      - eggs and following baking powder and juice were not beaten enough so that the mixture was uneven
      - It was made using imperial cups, not metric ones (an imperial cup is only about 200ml, whereas a metric one is 250ml)
      - There's something different between ovens that I didn't account for (I use a fan-forced, which is really good at regulating temperature. An old fashioned electric or a gas oven might need different temperature or care taken?)
      - My oven or yours is lying about the temperature it displays as correct
      - It was overcooked (maybe it doesn't hold together so well if it dries out too much)
      - The oven was opened too often during cooking.

      Please let me know if any of those ideas make sense, and how it tasted - I hope it's good enough to warrant another try!

  7. Hi Sarah. I made this cake over the weekend and it turned out perfectly! The whole family absolutly loved it. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Been around asia. A foodie at heart. Just got back from Sri Lanka and heading to Europe soon. I am an Aussie and it makes me so proud to see and hear about well travelled and cultured Aussies like your-slef, sharing their experiences with the world. Please dont stop writing. I am a fan.

    1. Unreal! I was a little worried after those previous two comments. I'm a big fan of Sri Lanka - I've blogged about it heaps on the travel pages. I too am off to Europe again in July - mainly Spain and France, but also getting my first look at some Greek islands. Have a great trip, and thanks for the lovely comment :)

  8. Made this for Mother's Day. Huge success. Thanks

  9. I made this last night due to an abundance of limes from my mother's tree. It was delicious, easy to make and perfect for a dinner party with my fructose intolerant friend.


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