Let me teach you how to make a beautiful lemon coconut Easter cake decorated like a nest! Top with silky lemon cream cheese frosting, fluffy feathery coconut, and, of course, chocolate Easter egg candies! You just need some basic baking staples, an electric mixer, and a standard Bundt pan to make this stunning springtime dessert that’s easy enough for cake decorating beginners.
Out of all the seasonal candy sold in stores throughout the year, I think Easter candy takes the cake. (See what I did there?) Easter bunny, you’ve got the right idea. Give me a basket full of peanut butter eggs, please!
Today I’m sharing a fun Easter cake dessert, a recipe I originally published back in 2017 and have served every Easter holiday since. This beautiful birds’ nest cake certainly makes an impression, but the best part is… decorating this Bundt cake couldn’t be easier! Definitely much simpler than a layer cake, though if you’re up for a challenge, my carrot cake and coconut cake recipes also make for a sweet finale to a springtime meal.
Here’s Why This Will Be Your Favorite Easter Cake
- Easy to make, easy to decorate—if you have young fledglings in your nest, they love to help!
- You’ll find coconut both inside and on top of this Easter cake—toasting some for topping adds color and texture variation.
- The cake and frosting aren’t overly sweet (save that for the Easter candy!), with a hint of tartness from lemon and tanginess from cream cheese frosting.
- Can prep the cake the day before.
- Decorating takes only about 10 minutes, tops.
- Makes enough for a crowd of your favorite “peeps.” 😉
- Cake with candy. You’re welcome; the end.
Start With the Bundt Cake
Let’s begin by constructing the interior of this nest: the cake. Cradling those precious pastel-hued chocolate eggs is a lightly sweet coconut-flavored cake with a hint of fresh lemon.
Here are the best ingredients to use for your Easter cake and why:
- Cake Flour: To keep this coconut Bundt cake soft, and prevent it from being too heavy, cake flour is a must. If you can’t find it, you can make this DIY cake flour substitute.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda: Both leaveners lift this cake up as it bakes.
- Salt: Always needed for flavor.
- Butter: For that unparalleled buttery cake flavor. You need to cream the butter, so make sure you’re starting with proper room temperature butter (it may be cooler than you think!).
- Sugar: We’re using granulated sugar to sweeten this Easter cake.
- Lemons: For the best flavor, use fresh lemons. You’ll use both the zest and the juice; remember to zest first, before slicing and juicing—much easier than trying to zest a squeezed lemon half!
- Vegetable Oil: Using oil helps keep the cake moist.
- Eggs: Key for binding the ingredients together, so the cake doesn’t fall apart (see below!). Use whole eggs here, for a denser-style cake. My regular coconut cake uses just egg whites, and is much lighter and fluffier.
- Vanilla + Coconut Extracts: Flavor and more flavor.
- Sour Cream + Whole Milk: A careful ratio of these 2 ingredients gives this cake the best balance of structure and moisture.
- Sweetened Shredded/Flaked Coconut: I recommend using sweetened shredded coconut, sometimes sold as sweetened flaked coconut. It’s moister than unsweetened coconut, and that makes a big difference in the cake’s texture. I reduced the added sugar in the cake batter to make up for the sweetness. A cup goes into the cake batter; save the rest for feathering the nest!
More Easter Recipes
I have plenty of Easter recipes, including roundups of my favorite Easter brunch recipes and Easter dessert recipes.
Recipe Testing This Coconut Easter Bundt Cake
For today’s coconut Bundt cake, my team and I went through 3 rounds of testing to land on perfection:
- I started with some of the same ingredients and ratios as this lemon coconut cake. Bundt cakes can have a tendency to turn out heavy and dry, and my first try at a coconut version was both. The texture was overly dense—even tough. I’m pretty sure mama bird would not deem this a suitably soft nest for her eggs!
- The second cake my team and I tested had better flavor and was definitely softer, but completely crumbled apart when we cut into it. (Did you see that on my Instagram stories the other week? The coconutty cake crumbles tasted delicious over a bowl of orange sherbet, though!)
- For the third try, I took a note from my cranberry orange Bundt cake and used a combination of sour cream and whole milk to achieve the right balance of structure and moisture. We also reduced the amount of coconut in the batter, which was causing excess crumbliness, and added one more egg, to help with binding the crumb together. The third time was indeed the charm, and that’s the recipe you’ll see here today.
This Easter cake is not as light and fluffy as this layered coconut cake, because a Bundt cake is always going to be more dense, with a tighter crumb. But that’s ok! The texture is similar to pound cake, and I just love how a Bundt cake gets that chewy golden crust on the exterior. LOVE!
Expect a thick and fluffy batter:
After baking, let the cake cool for 2 hours in the pan, then invert it onto a cake stand or serving platter to continue cooling, and eventually decorate.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Silky smooth cream cheese frosting is really easy to spread on a Bundt cake because it glides right on. In addition, it’s a fabulous “glue” for all the fluffy, feathery coconut on top.
You’ll flavor today’s cream cheese frosting with fresh lemon juice, but feel free to also add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the frosting if you’d like to amp up the coconut flavor.
How to Decorate This Easter Cake Like a Nest
Transforming this cake into a bird’s nest is quick and easy. Simply slather on the frosting (I use an icing spatula), then “feather the nest” by gently pressing the sweetened shredded coconut on top, so that it sticks to the frosting.
Finally, lay your eggs—er, I mean, fill the center of the nest with your favorite candy-coated chocolate eggs. Then be prepared to swat away any sneaky little hands this Easter cake will attract!
And you know what would launch the cuteness factor into overdrive? Adding marshmallow chick Peeps to your nest!
Optional: How to Toast Coconut for Topping
I like to toast a little bit of the sweetened coconut to add some color variation on top of this Easter nest cake. It also adds that delicious crispy texture and toasted flavor.
For a contrast of texture and color, I toasted about half of the coconut. You can leave the coconut untoasted or toast it all—the decision is yours.
Spread the coconut on an ungreased baking sheet, and toast in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 6–8 minutes, until it’s golden-brown. Let it cool completely before using. Super easy.
More Easter Dessert Recipes
- Carrot Cake
- Jelly Bean Sugar Cookies
- Easter Cookies (so fun to decorate!)
- Lemon Bars
- Peanut Butter Easter Eggs
- Easter Cupcakes
Easter Cake Recipe
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 4 hours (includes cooling)
- Yield: serves 10-12
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
This beautiful springtime nest cake is easy enough for cake decorating beginners. Top the lemon coconut Bundt cake with creamy lemon cream cheese frosting, feathery sweetened coconut, and, of course, candy-coated chocolate eggs!
- 3 cups (360g) cake flour (spooned & leveled)*
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 1 heaping Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (180ml) whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (100g) sweetened flaked/shredded coconut
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1–2 Tablespoons (15–30ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) sweetened flaked/shredded coconut*
- 1–2 cups candy-coated chocolate eggs, such as Cadbury Mini Eggs
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease a 10–12-cup Bundt pan.
- Make the cake: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and lemon zest and beat on high speed for 3–4 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the oil and mix on medium speed to combine. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add sour cream and the vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Whisk the lemon juice and milk together. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the lemon-milk mixture and mixing after each addition until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. The batter will be thick and fluffy. Fold in the coconut.
- Spoon/pour evenly into Bundt pan and bake for 55–65 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. If you find the top is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil about halfway through bake time.
- Cool cake for 2 hours in the pan, and then invert onto a cake stand or serving plate. Cool completely before decorating.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of lemon juice to thin out, if desired. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
- Using an icing spatula or a knife, frost the cooled Bundt cake. Top with sweetened flaked/shredded coconut. Fill the hole in the center of the cake with candy-coated chocolate eggs. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours. If the cake has been refrigerated for longer than an hour, let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving, to soften up a bit.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I usually store frosted cakes in a cake carrier.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make and cool the cake 1 day before serving, store covered overnight, and decorate and serve the following day. You can also make and decorate the cake 1 day in advance; see step 8. To freeze, wrap unfrosted baked and cooled cake in 1–2 layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw (still in the wrapping) overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before frosting, slicing, and serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Bundt Pan | Icing Spatula | Cake Carrier
- Cake Flour: For the best results, I strongly recommend cake flour. You can find cake flour in the baking aisle and I have many more recipes using it. If you can’t find it, try making this cake flour substitute.
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: I recommend using sweetened shredded/flaked coconut in the cake and as the topping. It’s moister than unsweetened coconut and that makes a big difference in the cake’s texture. If desired, pulse the coconut shreds in a food processor to chop them up so they aren’t as long inside and outside of the cake. Chopping the coconut is optional.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Here is why room temperature ingredients are important in baking.
- Whole Milk & Sour Cream: Whole milk and full-fat sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. You can substitute full-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream, if needed. And if you don’t have whole milk, lower fat or nondairy milk work in a pinch.
- Toasted Coconut for Topping: If desired, you can toast some or all of the coconut for the topping. Spread the coconut on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 6–8 minutes, or until browned to your liking. Let cool before using.
- Can I Use Another Frosting? If you don’t want a cream cheese frosting, this lemon buttercream would be so tasty, and you can halve the recipe to make just enough for the Bundt.
- Can I Use Another Flavor Bundt Cake? Yes, you can use this frosting and decorating technique with another flavor Bundt cake such as cheesecake swirl carrot Bundt cake, chocolate marble banana Bundt cake, lemon berry yogurt cake, and cream cheese pound cake.
- Inspired by Real Simple.
Keywords: Easter cake, nest cake
Reader Comments & Reviews
I halved the recipe and baked it in a 6 cup Bundt pan. I also made cake flour substitute with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF flour and corn starch. It turned out great! We all loved it, even the kid who doesn’t really like coconut. The lemon cream cheese frosting was perfect.
Loved this recipe! It was loved by everyone ❤️
I made this for Easter and it was so good. I used lemon extract instead of coconut extract because I didn’t have coconut extract. It was more like a pound cake but everything came out really good. I would definitely make this again. I wish you could see my picture
So glad it was a hit, Moana! Feel free to send us a photo at email@example.com—we’d love to see it!
I was very disappointed… I followed this recipe exactly and it was so dense my family made fun of how hard it was to cut…don’t know what I did wrong … any suggestions? I also followed the directions exactly for the frosting and it came out like a loose glaze …I added more 10x sugar and it became a little thicker so I quickly put on the coconut to act like plaster so wouldn’t slide off. Unfortunately this cake hit the barrel at the end of Easter evening , which is a shame considering the time and many ingredients.
I made this cake and will make it again.
I didn’t frost it but sliced and froze individually, so when I want a slice with tea or coffee, just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then gave a topping with coconut whipped cream!
I started to question why a coconut cake with so many coconut ingredients would require so much lemon juice and zest, but since it was the first time making the recipe I wanted to follow it exactly as written. I even made two for Easter. This is the first recipe from this site that let me down, which is, in a sense, a compliment. However, nothing about this cake tasted like coconut despite buying quite a few specialty coconut ingredients that I don’t keep on hand. Perhaps I’d have been less disappointed had this been named Lemon Easter cake. The only people who liked the cake at Easter were the people who said they didn’t like coconut! What does that say about this “coconut” cake?! Too bad I don’t like lemon desserts. I took the extra cake that nobody touch and brought it to work. I wrote lemon Bundt cake on the box and not a single complaint!
Thank you for your feedback, Amy! I do find the coconut flavor stronger than the lemon. Did you use coconut extract? It’s very lightly lemon flavored, which is why I hesitate to label it as only lemon. I appreciate your feedback though!
Family very happy with cake and was perfect. Wanted to send a picture. So pretty!
We’re so glad your family enjoyed the cake, Lynn! Feel free to send us a photo at firstname.lastname@example.org — we’d love to see it!
HELP! I made this cake for Easter. I followed your instructions exactly (weighing everything, not measuring) and even purchased the bundt pan you recommended. I monitored the cake for temperature vs time and took it out just shy of the cooking time at 205 degrees. The cake was an absolute brick. It was beyond dense, but surprisingly not dry (if that makes sense). I LOVE your recipes and made 2 others along with the cake and they came out perfectly. Any idea what I could have done wrong with the cake?
Hi Stephanie, we’re happy to help troubleshoot. This is a denser-style cake with a tight crumb—like a pound cake. But if it seemed overly dense, it’s possible that the batter was slightly over-mixed. This post on how to prevent dry and dense cakes will also be a helpful resource. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!
This Easter Bundt cake was so fun to make. The finished product was so cute!