Palestinian Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut cake soaked with qater (Sugar Syrup) is a staple in many Palestinian homes and across the Levant: Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to name a few. It is usually made as a one layer cake then served warm or chilled with tea or coffee. Simple, but absolutely delicious. Some versions use semolina, others use flour.

I am presenting today, my own version of coconut cake, which still can very much be made into a one layer cake, or it can be made into a layered cake. I developed this recipe especially for Ahmed (my husband’s) birthday.

What you will find is a meeting of East and West. Middle eastern notes of rose water and lemon, come through and mix with vanilla and creamy butterness in the cake icing…exactly what I want to accomplish when I set out to make this cake


For The Cake:

115 g Butter (room temperature)

115 g Canola oil

300 g sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 drops vanilla flavoring

6 large egg whites (room temperature)

360 mL Yogurt thinned with water

1/4 cup Labaneh

437 g Cake Flour

100-150 g Coconut Shaving

For the Syrup

60 mL Lemon Juice

175 mL Water

175 g Sugar

2 Tsp Rose Water

For the Butter Cream

340 g Butter

60 mL Lemon Juice

40-60 mL whole milk or cream (slightly warm)

680 g Powdered (Icing Sugar)

5 drops vanilla flavoring

10 mL Rose Water

30 mL Lemon Juice

Various gel food coloring.

Edible Gold Dust


For the Cake:

1. Separate egg whites and let stand. Cream oil, butter and sugar until they become light in color and fluffy. Add egg whites gradually and continue to whisk using stand mixer or hand mixer until it becomes white in color and fluffy.





2. In the mean time, sift the flour and baking powder, measure coconut, labaneh, and yogurt and switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment.


3. Start by adding the labaneh. Then alternate the flour, yogurt, and coconut. Make sure that every time you continue to scrap the sides every now and then. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and 5 drops vanilla falvoring


4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C while allowing the cake batter to rest. The batter will double in size.

5. Divide the batter into three cake pans greased and lined with parchment paper.


7. Place pan in the oven and take down temperature to 160 C. Bake each layer for 20 minutes watching closely and checking with a toothpick before taking out of the oven. Please do not open your oven door the first 15 minute. Start checking the cake after fifteen minutes. Depending on the heat of your oven, the cake should be ready in twenty minutes or so.

For the Syrup

Mix 125 mL lemon juice with 175 mL water and 150 g sugar. Bring to a gentle boil. Let it simmer until syrup thickens slightly, then remove from the heat.

Add 2 tsp rose water and let the syrup cool for a few minutes, then pour onto baked layers, one layer at a time.

Vanilla, Lemon and Rose Butter Cream

1. Sift 680 g of powdered sugar.

Place 340 g of butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the butter for a minute. Add the lemon juice and continue beating.


2. Start adding the sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Please be sure to add slowly and allow the sugar to incorporate so that you continue to have a smooth buttercream and avoid graininess.


3. Halfway through adding the sugar, add 60 mL of room temperature-warm milk along with vanilla flavoring and rose water

Finish adding the sugar.

4. If you are going to use this butter cream with various colors, divide into different bowls and add the coloring to each separately. I used Turquoise, purple and orange gel color to produce three different colors.

I then created the water color illusion using the three colors.

For a magical touch, I finished the cake with gold dust. See Gallery below!

Cake Decoration

Happy Birthday!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s