Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cake: deep-dark deliciousness

Chocolate has always been somewhat mysterious to me. Granted, it could pretty much be its own food group in my diet, but it is still an ingredient that surprises me and piques my curiosity.

There is a depth in its flavor. There is a richness about it that is hard to put into words. It is dark. It awakens the taste buds. It is full of temptation. And it makes me smile.

What I admire about chocolate is the spectrum of its taste. It can go from being extremely bitter and almost inedible, then can quickly be transformed into a sweet, decadent, indulgent treat with the simple addition of sugar (and perhaps a few other ingredients from your pantry).

While I do love using chocolate in my everyday baking, like in gluten-free chocolate chip cookies or fudgy brownies (both staples in my house), chocolate is always my go-to ingredient when I am making something special.

And to me, nothing is more special than family. I recently found out that my parents were hosting a small family party (a reunion of sorts) at our home in Vermont. I am usually in charge of making some sort of appetizer for these events, but seeing as I have a major sweet tooth, I wanted to bring a dessert along that everyone would enjoy.

Chocolate was an obvious choice.

Being that I am the only person in my extended family who is gluten-free, and we have a few picky eaters in our bunch, I wanted a recipe that didn’t “taste gluten-free.” My mind immediately jumped to a cake, since coming together is surely a reason to celebrate, but truthfully I have not had the best of luck serving cake to this crowd.

But my mind was set, so I knew this time it had to be different.

Then I remembered our recipe for Chocolate Coconut Cake. This was it. Not only are chocolate and coconut a perfect match, I have used coconut flour before and know that it makes ultra-moist, dense (but surprisingly light) cakes. Cakes that most certainly do not “taste gluten-free.”

For this occasion I opted to make it in a loaf pan, as it would make for easy slicing, easy eating, and wouldn’t necessarily need frosting. However, since this was going to be a party and all, I wanted to jazz up the loaf a bit by glazing it in chocolate and sprinkling it with toasted coconut.

The verdict (which I’m sure you’re eagerly waiting for..)? I should have made two. It was gone in minutes and I’m still getting emails asking for the recipe. My gluten-loving family seriously loved it.

So let’s dive in and bake this cake together, shall we?

To get started, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pan and set it aside.

Sifted coconut flour for our Chocolate Coconut Cake

Sift together:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Set the flour mixture aside.

And now… it is time for your chocolate.

Melted chocolate for our Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake using Coconut Flour

In a microwave-safe bowl (or in my case a small saucepan since I don’t have a microwave), melt together:

6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

If you are using a saucepan, transfer the melted chocolate to a large mixing bowl once it is completely smooth.

Making a Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cake

To the bowl with the melted butter-cocoa mixture, add:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs

Whisk until smooth. Add the coconut flour-baking powder mixture and whisk again until completely smooth.

Baking a Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cake using coconut flour

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and let it rest for 10 minutes. As coconut flour is very absorbent, you will notice the batter continue to thicken as it rests. If you go too much longer than the 10-minute mark, you will want to reduce your bake time slightly, as there will be less moisture and the cake may dry out more quickly.

Bake the loaf until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, you can top it with any glaze or frosting you would like (or not, if you are going for more of the pound-cake style).

For my loaf, I chose our chocolate water glaze, and then sprinkled the top with our toasted coconut chips.

Then simply slice, serve, and see your family’s eyes light up! It is magical.

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake topped with a Chocolate Glaze and Toasted Coconut Chips

Finally, just a quick note about this recipe: if you would prefer, you can bake this cake in an 8″ square cake pan. Follow the recipe as instructed, but decrease your bake time very slightly, to 30 to 35 minutes.

And now we’d love for you to please read, bake, and review our recipe for Chocolate Coconut Cake.

Print just the recipe.

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She's been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

  1. Kathy

    I am really looking forward to trying this…I wanted to know if I could make it a day or two ahead of serving it…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I do not think this will hold up to more than a day or two so I would not plan on it Kathy! Freezing will allow you to prepare further in advance. Elisabeth@KAF

  2. Maggie

    This looks wonderful! I’ve never cooked with coconut flour before, so I’m intrigued. Often I need to adjust recipes for my altitude (4500 ft) so it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, needs modifying. Moisture and structure are the two that I keep an eye on. Does this cake rise pretty well or is it fairly dense? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      I’m excited to hear what you think of this cake once you give it a go, Maggie. Coconut flour is an amazing ingredient and is rather surprising when you first bake with it. But I’m sure you’ll quickly see that it results in a lovely, tender texture without being overly dense. Enjoy! Alyssa

  3. RunnerGirl

    This looks great! I’ve used coconut flour a lot in baking and it’s pretty amazing stuff! Do you think coconut oil could be subbed for the butter? I’ve done it in other recipes, but not in one like this.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, for most recipes coconut oil will work in place of butter. They are both solid at room temp so results should be similar. Good luck! Elisabeth@KAF

  4. Tory

    Love the coconut flour option! And thanks for the feedback above re coconut oil. Think I’ll try it 2 ways, one with butter and one with half butter/half coconut oil? We’ll see! Looking forward to pairing it with a Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting…..
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Oh boy, that mocha cream cheese frosting sounds amazing! Would love to know how the cakes turn out with the butter-coconut oil mix. I’m thinking the flavor will be perfect. Enjoy!

  5. Darlene

    I doubled the recipe to make 2 8-inch layer cakes. It smelled wonderful and the taste was chocolately, but the cake was dry. Would doubling the ingredients cause this to happen? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Most recipes are safe to double, but minor errors in measuring are more obvious when the recipe is enlarged. You might want to purchase a scale and use that for measuring if you want to routinely double your recipes. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  6. Judith

    Yay!! a baked product made with coconut flour that is edible!. Great recipe. Changes I made include six tablespoons of coconut oil instead of butter, a half teaspoon more of vanilla and a half teaspoon of real almond extract – no frosting. Cake is moist and tasty – even better is that the chocolate flavor comes through and even with six eggs, the eggy flavor is not there. Thank you for a great gluten free recipe.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Judith, I am SO happy that you enjoyed the recipe. We’ve been having so much fun testing new coconut flour recipes, and this is surely one of our favorites. I like the idea you have of adding almond extract – I bet that was delicious. Happy baking! Alyssa

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dutched cocoa is either neutral or slightly alkaline. You need baking powder instead of baking soda because powder contains the acid needed for leavening that has been removed from the cocoa. Best in cookies and cakes. A “natural” cocoa will not yield the same results, sorry! Laurie@KAF

  7. Gluten free cake

    This Looking so amazing.hanks for recipe for gluten free chocolate coconut cake…I appreciate it for sharing them.Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Eileen

    Thank you for this recipe–am looking forward to making it very soon! I just wanted to make sure the bake time is correct because I got a little confused: 35-45 mins in a loaf pan and then towards the end you mentioned increasing the time in a cake pan to 30-35 mins. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Eileen,

      Excited for you to try the recipe! Which size pan will you be using? If you’re making a loaf, bake for 35 – 45 but if you’re baking in a square cake pan (which you can certainly still do), adjust your bake time to 30 – 35 minutes. Hope that clears up any confusion! Would love to hear what you think of it 🙂

      Enjoy,
      Alyssa

  9. Celeste Fritsche

    I tried this over the Easter weekend. I found it rather dry. I did not let it set the full 10 minutes and reduced the bake time since I used an 8″ square pan. While not terrible, I think I’d like to try it again substituting either coconut oil or olive oil for part or all of the butter. I tend to think cakes made with butter wind up a bit dry anyway (excluding gooey butter cakes). I’m curious if anyone else has tried substituting oil in this recipe.

    It did pair nicely with the dark chocolate ganache that I glazed it with and the salted beer caramel sauce I drizzled over that.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Celeste, thanks so much for writing and sharing your twist on this cake. I certainly think it would be fine to substitute another oil for the butter. My preference would be coconut oil, but olive oil would probably work (it just might affect the flavor). Would love to know how it goes if you give it another try. And your beer caramel sauce sounds lovely! – Alyssa

  10. Mary Agnes Mazur

    I’m wondering, what would be the internal temperature on this cake to know that it’s fully baked, but not overdone?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      210′ is the internal temperature you’re striving for in gluten free baked cakes. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We have not tried using stevia in place of sugar, but we welcome you to try and report back on if it worked or not.JoAnn@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tested this substitution and fear it may be a gamble. If you’re a betting baker, consider using a couple tablespoons less liquid in the recipe to compensate for the honey. We’d love to hear about your baked results. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  11. Maxine Stokes

    I’m gluten intolerant and also allergic to eggs. Cake has never been a favorite for me but I’ve always loved bread, and it’s one of the foods I miss the most…I’m having a little gathering soon and I’ve been looking a good gluten free cake recipe. I was told that I can use bananas instead of eggs, or flax seeds; has any one here tried the bananas? I’ve tried the flax but it made me ill, so I’m trying to avoid all grains.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Maxine, we have a recipe for making an egg replacer using a blend of different food starches on our websiteif you are looking for an alternative to flax seeds. You could also consider using chia seeds instead of flax seeds in the same manner of adding it to cold water and allowing it to thicken. Please note that eggs are an important structural component of gluten-free baking, so without them you should expect your baked goods to be more dense and have a different mouth-feel. Because of these factors, you might be more pleased with the results if you aim to make a pound cake recipe instead of a cake that is supposed to be light and fluffy. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Shirley Albertson

      I was wondering about egg substitutes also. My daughter is sensitive to eggs also, but we do use some in baking. Since this recipe called for so many eggs, I wondered about using one or two eggs, but making a chia or flax substitute for the rest. Has anyone tried that?

  12. Maxine

    The Baker’s Hotline… Thank you so much for your prompt response.I think I’ll just use 1/2 of the recipe and see how it turn out first .If it does not turn out well I’ll just make another dessert, maybe some homemade ice cream and some type of fruit, or a pudding. Like I stated before Cake is not one of my favorite foods but I like to have a slice every now and then, especially if it’s really good and this one really look delicious. Lol guess I forgot to mention that I’m a chocolate lover. Thanks again…

    Reply
  13. Clare

    I wish I had read the comments. I made this cake and it was super dry. I followed all the ingredients exactly. I’m surprised because there is 6 eggs in this recipe. When I saw it was dry, I took evasive action: I pricked the cake all over and spooned Bailey’s Irish Cream into it. Then I put the ganache and Toasted Coconut on top. The top of the cake was good, but it was still really dry. I will try it one more time and add applesauce or a banana to this recipe. Given the number of comments that said it was dry, I think the authors should review this recipe again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your evasive action sounds like necessity being the mother of invention! We’ll add your comments to the queue to look at the recipe again. In the meantime, Happy GF Baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No, I am sorry but hazelnut flour behaves very differently than coconut flour. Consider adding to your favorite recipes 1-3 T. of hazelnut flour per cup of regular flour. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  14. Larissa

    Can this recipe be used to make cupcakes as well? Ik there is a cupcake recipe already in vanilla but i want to make chocolate and I’m aiming for 50 cupcakes

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can absolutely give the cupcakes a try! This recipe should yield about 12-15 cupcakes. Just keep in mind that a shorter baking time will be needed, about 18-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let us know your results. Bryanna@KAF

  15. Kim

    I made this cake based upon the recipe on the back of the package of KAF coconut flour. The cake was a bit dry around the edges but moist towards the center. I think the only thing that really surprised me was that I did not taste any coconut at all. Just chocolate (which is not bad by any means), but I had expected coconut. Any one else experience this?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Coconut flour does have a surprisingly mild flavor, especially if you’re used to eating baked goods that include shredded coconut. If you want to bring out the natural coconut flavors when baking with coconut flour next time, consider adding 1/4 teaspoon of Coconut Flavor. Your cake may have turned out slightly dry if you baked in a glass or ceramic loaf pan; in these cases, we recommend turning down the oven temperature by about 25°F and checking for doneness five minutes early. Hope that helps! Kye@KAF

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