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A piece of Lemon Coconut Poppy Seed Cake on a white plate.
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Lemon Coconut Poppy Seed Cake

This easy Lemon Coconut Poppy Seed Cake is a light, delicious choice that is perfect for any spring or summer gathering.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24
Calories: 59kcal


  • 16.25 ounce package white cake mix
  • 1 ¼ cups water (see recipe note)
  • cup vegetable oil (see recipe note)
  • 3 whole eggs or egg whites (see recipe note)
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3 ½ cups cold whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 8 ounce carton frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip) thawed
  • cup sweetened shredded coconut toasted


  • Prepare cake mix with water, oil, and eggs (see recipe note) according to package directions. Use a spoon to fold ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut (not toasted), lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds into batter. Pour into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F according to package directions for a 13- x 9-inch pan (approximately 29 to 32 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  • Add both packages of pudding mix, milk, and coconut extract to a large mixing bowl. Whisk for 2 minutes then let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spread over the cooled cake. Spread with whipped topping. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.



My Betty Crocker cake mix called for the amount of water, oil and eggs shown in the ingredient list above. Check your cake mix package for ingredient amounts and cooking times. The cake shown in this post was prepared with 3 whole eggs. For a lighter white cake, use just the egg whites.
To toast coconut: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place  cup coconut on parchment paper lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Toss with a spatula and return to oven for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned to your liking.
Make-Ahead Instructions
Follow as written but after spreading pudding mixture on top of cooled cake, cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight. Spread with whipped topping and garnish with toasted coconut and lemon slices just before serving.


Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 48mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 2.4mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.2mg