chocolate coconut cake

Yesterday was my birthday! It was pretty uneventful as far as birthdays go, although I think 31-39 are probably not considered special.

Sheila did send me a Hedley & Bennett apron (!!) and I immediately commissioned the GS to hang a hook for it so that I can display it proudly at all times even when I’m not wearing it. Kamala Harris has the same one, NBD.


My initial plan for my birthday dessert this year was this giant Tagalong cookie, but I tested it last weekend (half the recipe) and wasn’t impressed. It tasted GREAT but the peanut butter layer totally separated from the shortbread layer which made it hard to eat. I chopped it up and threw it into some ice cream so… no harm done.

Anyway it was kind of a crazy week- my PhD program started up again and I started teaching two graduate classes so not a ton of time to shop for specialty dessert ingredients.

As a side note, I already respected teachers but OMG teaching virtually is terrible. And I’m teaching adults. So bless all the teachers out there who are trying to wrangle children and keep them interested. This cake is for you.


Chocolate Coconut Cake

adapted from NYT Cooking

For the cake:

12 tbs softened butter

2 tbs coconut oil

5.5 oz bittersweet chocolate

1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbs cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt (I used Diamond Crystal, so 1/2 tsp if you use regular salt)

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

4 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

For the frosting:

7 oz chocolate (I used semisweet)

1 tbs butter

OR you should use any go-to chocolate buttercream recipe! Or this nutella frosting

In a small bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate, coffee, butter, and coconut oil. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can do all butter! I just made a little sub for more coconut flavor. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the coconut.


Whip together the 4 egg yolks and the sugar until pale yellow and fluffy.


Fold in the chocolate mixture. Then alternate folding in the flour mixture and the heavy cream. While you’re doing this, you can have the egg whites whipping in the stand mixer until light and fluffy. Then fold those into the batter. My baking assistant was really looking to sample the batter.


The original recipe calls for it to be poured into a 10″ springform pan, but my IKEA springform broke after using it twice (still love you forever, IKEA), so I buttered and dusted two 9 1/2″ pans and split the batter in half.


Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until the top springs back. One of mine was done in 30, and the other one that I apparently put more than half the batter into took closer to 40.

The original recipe called for frosting made of just melted chocolate and butter, but that really didn’t work for me. I ended up adding some heavy cream to make it more like a ganache, but I just didn’t find it spreadable at all. So I would make whatever chocolate frosting you like or use store bought (gasp!) and then just top with some toasted coconut! I do this in my toaster oven but you can do it in the regular oven or on the stove- just keep an eye on it because it happens quick.


This cake really lends itself well to being eaten with a big glass of (almond) milk. It’s not dry at all but it is RICH- almost more of a brownie than a fluffy chocolate cake. And it’s not overly sweet, so the sweetened coconut doesn’t send it over the top. I’m so happy it’s going to be in my fridge for the next week.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Liz Mossotti says:

    Today is my brother’s birthday so I just put this cake in the oven. Used a springform pan so I’ll keep checking after 40 min. Thank you, love the pic of your helper.

  2. Amanda Lee says:

    Hope you had a great birthday!!


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