White Christmas limoncello cake recipe

  • Serves 24
  • 45 mins to prepare, 30 mins to cook, plus cooling and chilling
  • 489 calories / serving
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Wow guests with this beautiful layer cake that tastes every bit as good as it looks.This showstopping Christmas dessert gives layer upon layer of light sponge, sweet limoncello filling and creamy coconut frosting, which will definitely bring festive cheer.

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line 3 x 18cm (7in) loose-bottomed cake tins. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Fold in the flour, baking powder, soured cream and desiccated coconut.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out the sponges onto wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For the filling, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy then add the icing sugar and beat until stiffened. Stir in the lime zest, juice and limoncello; chill for 15 minutes. For the frosting beat the butter and cream cheese using electric beaters until pale and fluffy, add the icing sugar and beat until stiff, grate in the coconut and beat again to combine. The icing is ready to use now.
  4. When the cakes are completely cool, carefully slice each sponge in half (horizontally), using a large, sharp, serrated knife, to make 6 even layers. Stack on a plate for use as required.
  5. Put the first layer of sponge on a serving plate and spread with a third of the filling. Top with a second layer of sponge and spread with
 3 tbsp of the lemon curd. Continue layering up the cake with alternating layers of filling and lemon curd, leaving the sixth tier plain. Using a palette knife, spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle half the desiccated coconut over the centre, and then press the remaining amount around the bottom third. Adorn with your favourite Christmas decorations, if you like. To serve, cut into small slices.

Get ahead

Make the sponges the day before – store them in airtight containers until ready to ice, or freeze them for up to 1 month wrapped in baking paper and tin foil. The frosting can be made a day in advance and kept chilled. Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before icing the cake and whisk to bring it back to the right consistency. Once iced, the layer cake will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Expert tip

To get 24 servings, dip a sharp knife into warm water and cut out a circle 4·5cm (1·75in) from the outer edge. Slice the border into 16 pieces, and then cut the remaining circle into eighths. 

Flavour spins

Salted caramel: Swap 25g (1oz) flour for cocoa powder and the desiccated coconut for 50g (2oz) dark chocolate. Double the filling, swapping lime and limoncello for 4 tbsp dulce de leche and 1/2 tsp salt. To frost, swap coconut milk for 100g (3 1/2oz) dark chocolate and 150ml (1/4pt) double cream.

Lemon and blueberry: Replace desiccated coconut for the zest of 2 lemons. For the filling, use lemon zest and juice instead of lime, and blueberry conserve instead of lemon curd. For the frosting, swap coconut milk for 300ml (1/2pt) double cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Decorate with fresh blueberries.

Chocolate melt: Swap the desiccated coconut with cocoa powder. Double the filling, swapping lime and limoncello for 3 heaped tbsps drinking malt powder. For the frosting, swap coconut milk for 100g (3 1/2oz) melted dark 70% chocolate and 150ml (1/4pt) double cream. 

See more Christmas desserts

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  • Ingredients

  • 375g (12oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 340g (11 1/2oz) caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 325g (11oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) soured cream
  • 25g (1oz) desiccated coconut
  • For the filling

  • 75g (3oz) unsalted butter
  • 75g (3oz) cream cheese
  • 300g (10oz) icing sugar
  • 2 limes, zested, plus a squeeze of juice
  • 2 tbsp limoncello
  • 6 tbsp lemon curd
  • For the frosting and decoration

  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g (5oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 400g (13oz) icing sugar
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) creamed coconut (solid block)
  • 40g (1 1/2oz) desiccated coconut
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  • Energy 2033kj 489kcal 24%
  • Fat 34.5g 49%
  • Saturates 20.6g 103%
  • Sugars 30.1g 33%
  • Salt 0.4g 7%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 42.7g Protein 4g Fibre 1g

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