Little Lemon Coconut Cakes

Created by Laura Wright
No ratings yet

Little lemon coconut cakes are vegan, just sweet enough, and feature wholesome ingredients like spelt flour and coconut milk.

Okay so I don’t love cupcakes. Even when the craze hit big time, I wasn’t totally on board. All of those gorgeous sweet little cakes, ornate and decorated just so… had way too much frosting for my taste. It seems to me that there is an inherent issue of ratios with this handheld treat. This is especially true if the frosting is piped on top, as opposed to being smeared rustically. Giant, sweet clouds were distracting me from my favourite part– the actual cake! So I avoided them for a bit. I opted for cookies and actual slices of cake, a tart here and there. I felt fine about it.

But sweet, little snack cakes with just a bit of glaze-y coconut cream on top? I’ve talked myself into a bit of that action. It has a different feel. A bit more casual, but certainly refined. The ratio of sweet topping to lemony and light cake is ideal for someone like me. It’s just a nice little snack to go with tea. A cup-sized cake shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve gone over the edge with indulgence right? It’s individually portioned out of reason, out of fairness and in the interest of an individual’s right to an equal portion of the dozen.

These spelt-based cakes are rich with coconut milk and have a crunchy little dusting of nutty sesame seeds for fun because individual cakes, at their heart, are totally about fairness and super cute fun time with sparkles and everything else great in life. And this is totally one of those throw-it-all-in-one-bowl-and-mix kind of cakes! Everyone wins here.

Little Lemon Coconut Cakes

Little lemon coconut cakes are vegan, just sweet enough, and feature wholesome ingredients like spelt flour and coconut milk.
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 10 -12


  • ½ cup granulated cane sugar
  • cup melted coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup white spelt flour
  • ½ cup whole spelt flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


Feel free to mix up the citrus a bit! Meyer lemon or orange or lime would all be quite good. 


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a muffin tin (10 cups for bigger cakes, 12 for smaller ones) and set aside.
  • Mix the sugar, coconut oil, half the can of coconut milk, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of vanilla in a medium-large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
  • Sift in the white and whole spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into the wet mixture until just combined.
  • Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs right back when you push on it and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack thoroughly.
  • Make the glaze: remove the remaining coconut milk from the freezer and give it a little stir. Whisk it up with the remaining lemon juice, vanilla and the 2 tbsp of agave nectar. Spoon on top of the cooled cakes and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

29/01/2012 (Last Updated 15/02/2024)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, dessert, spring, summer, sweet, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • Suzanna

    Would coconut sugar work?

    If you wanted to make this into a cake, it would need to be baked ~three times as long?

    Thanks for the recipe! Your style of cooking is the one that best fits with mine and my tastes of any recipe author- eagerly awaiting your next cookbook.

    • Laura

      So sorry for the late reply! Yes, coconut sugar would definitely work as a substitute for cane sugar. If you’re baking this into one cake, I would start checking it at 30 minutes. You’ll have to remove the cake when the edges have pulled away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I’ve never made this recipe into one cake, so after you do the initial check, just gauge the time/future check-ins from there.

  • Sophie

    Hey! When you say natural sugar., do you mean coconut sugar or just an unrefined cane sugar or brown sugar or something? Absolute vegan baking beginner! X

    • Laura

      Cane sugar! Will edit to clarify.

  • Cookie and Kate

    Well, I don’t know how I missed these when you posted them last month, but they look absolutely perfect. Your little coconut cakes are my kind of indulgence.

  • Reb

    Was searching for a sugar-free coconut milk glaze and came across your lovely blog, so glad I did! Your recipes and food philosophy are something I want to see more of– will be visiting often!

  • Mary

    Thanks Laura! That really helps. I’m definitely going to try the oh, ladycakes recipe!

  • Judy @ Seven Second Rhapsody

    oh….wow. That just looks like it’ll make any rainy day fill with sunshine!

  • Mary

    Would it be okay to substitute the two spelt flours in this recipe with 1.5 cups of an all-purpose gluten free flour (I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand). I’m new to the gluten free thing and have no idea how the different blends work.

    • Laura

      Hi Mary, I’m not totally sure how Bob’s would do in this recipe (it’s not my favourite blend to be honest). I really, really love this particular blend from another blog: I’ve had a lot of success with it when making other treats (including cake). You might have to introduce a binder of some kind (a tbsp of ground flax seeds in 1/4 cup of water, an egg, 1/4 cup of applesauce or something similar) if you go with a GF flour blend in general though. Hope that helps!

  • rachel

    New here… love this post. We must be soul sisters, because I couldn’t agree more about the horrors of cupcakes buried in frosting. I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  • Leah

    These look perfect – nice hint of coconut w/ sesame but not too sweet! Sounds like a fantastic combo.

  • Margarita

    Lovely little things! I, like you, have never gotten into the cupcake craze, but I do like muffins and delicious snackies like this.

  • Kels

    Love how you used newspaper for the drippings, can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. These look like they pack quite a punch. And I agree, never was a cupcake gal myself, although these are something I could buy into.

  • adrienne

    Couldn’t agree more with cupcake culture. Wow, these little cakes sound dreamy! They’re the grown-up, educated version of the cupcake :)

  • Jess @ littlegirlbigappetite

    Oh these look so cute and yummy! Glad to stumble upon your page and be a new follower :)

  • Jeanine

    I can’t wait to make these! They’re so cute and what’s better than lemon and coconut?I’m with you on the frosting thing…

  • Zita

    I’m vegetarian but I bake a lot of vegan cakes. These cupcakes are my kind of cakes! In most of my baking I also use whole spelt and white spelt flour. :)

    I’ll definitely give a try and bake these muffins!

  • CulinarilyCourtney

    While I have to admit that frosting actually is my favorite part of a cupcake, haha, these little cakes are just too cute not to want to eat them! I love your idea of sprinkling them with sesame seeds–nature’s sprinkles heheh :)

  • MyFudo

    I love the mix of coconut and sesame seeds…The glaze looks really interesting! I have always loved mini cakes!

  • Jacqui

    I have never really liked cupcakes/cake all because of the frosting; way too sweet! But your’s sound just my style! And I love the sesame seed sprinkles too!

  • Courtney

    I agree with you about the whole cupcake thing! I can’t stand tons of icing and people seem to think that is crazy. These little cakes look absolutely delicious!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    What a lovely treat! These sound so yummy!