Toasted Coconut Cake: dessert with a nutrition mission

All “punniness” intended: we’re coco-nuts about coconut flour! Rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, this naturally gluten-free flour is a super addition to cookies, bars, pancakes, muffins, and cakes. A perfect example: this tender, flavorful Toasted Coconut Cake.

Our newest crowd-pleaser boasts a slightly dense texture (think pound cake), and a taste and mouth-feel that’s beyond decadent. Topped with toasted coconut and light-as-air whipped mascarpone frosting, it screams the tropics.

Coconut Flour via @kingarthurflourThe cake calls for a mixture of coconut flour and all-purpose flour — and each brings a lot to the table. Coconut flour offers an array of health benefits and bright new flavor, but acts very differently than our ol’ faithful all-purpose flour. There are few better ways to learn a flour’s quirks than to bake recipes that King Arthur designed with that particular flour in mind. These recipes have been tested and perfected, allowing you to try out something new with confidence.

Which brings us to this yummy Toasted Coconut Cake. Let’s use this cake as a test recipe for baking with coconut flour, discovering how to use it successfully — and why you’ll always want to keep a stash of coconut flour in your pantry.

Protein- and fiber-rich toasted coconut cake is an indulgence we can all get behind! Click To Tweet

How to make Coconut Flour Cake via @kingarthurflour

To make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8” round cake pans.

Whisk together 2 cups flour (King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure), 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together 12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 cup coconut flour until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes.

Be sure to beat the batter for at least 2 minutes, even if it looks smooth. Coconut flour tends to make cakes a bit denser, and a longer mixing time adds volume. Batter with coconut flour will be thicker than the consistency you’re used to; don’t worry, this is normal.

How to make Coconut Flour Cake via @kingarthurflour

Mix in 2 tablespoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavor. Coconut flour does taste a bit like coconut, which will translate in your baking, but not enough to really distinguish itself. If you want more of a vanilla-flavored cake, feel free to leave out the coconut flavor and just stick with the vanilla.

Add 6 large eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Six eggs may seem like a lot, but they’re crucial when baking with coconut flour. Eggs not only help the cake rise, they make it moist and tender.

How to make Coconut Flour Cake via @kingarthurflour

Add the flour mixture and 1 3/4 cups milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

Scrape the bowl and mix once more to fully combine. The batter will look a little curdled — that’s okay. The coconut flour is finely ground, but will leave batter looking a little mealy in texture, which is perfectly normal.

How to make Coconut Flour Cake via @kingarthurflour

Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Smooth the top with a spatula. This will ensure the cake bakes up with a level top.

Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, until the cake’s edges are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the top is lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool for 5 minutes. Run a spatula or knife around the edges, then turn the layers out onto a rack to cool completely.

Since baked goods made with coconut flour tend to be denser than their counterparts made with conventional flour, there’s nothing that would top this cake off better than a light and airy frosting. So mascarpone coconut cream it is!

How to make Coconut Flour Cake via @kingarthurflour

To make the frosting

Beat 2 cups cold heavy cream until medium peaks form. Whisk together 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar and 4 teaspoons Instant ClearJel (this pre-mixing prevents clumping), and slowly add to the whipped cream along with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavor.

What if you don’t have ClearJel? Not a problem. It helps to stabilize the whipped cream, preventing it from loosening up and “weeping” off your beautiful cake. Without it, just be sure to serve the cake sooner rather than later. Also, ClearJel isn’t gluten-free (it’s processed on equipment that also handles wheat), so if you’re baking for those with sensitivity, it’s best left off.

Gently whisk in 1/2 cup room-temperature mascarpone cheese, mixing until the frosting is thick and creamy; don’t over-mix. If it starts to look a little stiff, don’t stress! Add a teaspoon or two of heavy cream and hand mix it until it loosens up.

You’ll see that my frosting was a bit tight (above right), but a little extra cream fixes everything, right?!

coconut-flour-cake via @kingarthurflour.com

To assemble the Coconut Four Cake

Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread one-fourth of the frosting on top. Place the other layer over the frosting, then spread the top and sides with the rest of the frosting, piping on decorations, if desired. Finally, sprinkle toasted coconut decoratively over the top and sides.

There you have it: Coconut Four Cake perfection with added nutrients to boot! Each slice delivers 4g of fiber and 8g of protein. Not bad for an indulgence!

If you want to start experimenting with coconut flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure in other recipes, here are some tips:

Begin by replacing up to a quarter of the flour by volume with coconut flour; if you like the result, try upping the percentage next time around.
• Add extra liquid equal to the amount of coconut flour you’ve used (by volume). Crazy, right? Coconut flour LOVES liquid. It can absorb up to four times its weight in liquid. You might be a bit surprised by the quantity of eggs and liquid in this recipe, but trust us; it’s necessary. This absorption does make coconut flour a great option for thickening smoothies, which is one of our favorite things to do with it. A small amount goes a long way and will give you some added fiber and protein to boot!

If you ever have any questions, our Baker’s Hotline is always available to help.

See our Toasted Coconut Cake recipe, including a printable version.

Coconut flour is a terrific addition to any pantry. Tell us – what are you making with coconut flour? Are there any coconut flour confections you wish we’d bake and share?

Gwen Adams
About

Gwen Adams grew up in northern New Hampshire, on top of a mountain, surrounded by nature and not much else. After graduating from Lyndon State College in 2010, Gwen sought a career that combined her passion for writing with her love of baking. She found ...

comments

    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      Hi Mary. Adding the coconut flour with the butter and sugar allows it to incorporate more smoothly into the batter. There’s a greater chance for clumping when it’s added with the flour, even if it was whisked together beforehand. Better to be safe than sorry, right?? Happy Baking! -Gwen

  1. Janice

    You mentioned that clearjel is manufactured on equipment that handles yeast and is not gluten free. Yeast does not contain gluten. Does the clearjel?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Janice, sounds like there’s some confusion. Let’s see if we can help. ClearJel is processed on equipment that also handles wheat (not yeast), so if you’re baking for those with a gluten sensitivity, it’s best not to include it. We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  2. Margee

    One of the articles said to add something to the Cake to make it moist. I can’t remember what it is. Could you tell me? Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It sounds like you’re referring to our Cake Enhancer, a “miracle ingredient,” as it’s often referred to. It helps keep your cakes tender, moist, and fresh for longer. You can read more about it on our website here. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Claude, the answer is slightly complex. But not to worry, we’ve written a full article on our blog about the best way to use liquid sweeteners, like honey, to replace the sugar in your recipe. Check it out and let us know if you have any further questions. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Carm, this cake should bake up nicely in a 9″ by 13″ pan. Typically cakes of this size take about 5-10 minutes longer to bake all the way through. Start checking for doneness between 43-48 minutes, and if it doesn’t appear to be done, give it a few more minutes in the oven. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Dee Dee

    May we have the nutrition breakdown per serving on this recipe?
    I was wondering about the carbs, sugar, fiber and protein per serving.
    Thank you for the tip in adding coconut flour to smoothies! I love using
    Almond flour and look forward to adding coconut flour to my repertoire.
    Thanks in advance☺️

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You sure can, Dee Dee. The full nutrition information for this cake is available by clicking on the “Nutrition information” link in the At a Glance Box on the right hand side of the recipe page. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  4. Anne

    This seems to be a good way to try using coconut flour. But will the recipe work if we reduce the amount of sugar by half? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Anne, we’ve done some testing to figure out the best way to reduce the amount of sugar in a cake recipe. We recommend making smaller changes to begin with (10-25% reduction) to see how you like the resulting flavor and texture. You’re welcome to make larger changes knowing that the cake will bake differently. For more details, check out the full article on our blog here. Kye@KAF

  5. Gail

    “There are few better ways to learn a flour’s quirks than to bake recipes that King Arthur designed with that particular flour in mind. These recipes have been tested and perfected, allowing you to try out something new with confidence.”
    This point is solid gold, Gwen!

    Reply
  6. Marta

    Hi, could you please tell me the flour amounts in grams? I’m not used to using cups (Europe) and I’m afraid that my flour might be more densely packed which will result in a cake flop (I hate to waste the ingredients). Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Marta, we love baking by weights; it’s so precise! You can view the full recipe in either grams, ounces, or volume by viewing the full recipe here. Simply click the toggle button based on what view you’re looking for. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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