Chocolate Coconut Cake

Gluten-free, using coconut and ground nuts, this cake is low in sugar and rich thanks to the extra-dark chocolate. It’s a wonderfully decadent cake. 

This cake is worth the effort. Yes, the ingredients list is long; yes, there is prep involved. And, yes, it is a more labor-intensive recipe. But, it sure is delicious… and mostly ageless. This is a special occasion cake. It’s not hard to make, but you do need the proper tools. The original recipe from Bon Appétit magazine calls for using a stand mixer. I don’t have one, so I used a hand mixer (one that’s really old), and it worked out fine. I also used a food processor to grind the nuts, but when I tested the recipe another time, used a coffee grinder. And, that worked. Also, I substituted hazelnuts for almonds, because I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, and my aunt is allergic to almonds. Macadamia nuts would also work really well. The key to the recipe is to use the very best chocolate and cocoa you can source. The darkest, most flavorful. The bars I used were over 70% cacao content. 

Rich Chocolate and Coconut Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Serves 10
A flourless, decadent, delicious chocolate cake that's perfect for any special occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  1. 1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted, cooled, plus more for pan
  2. ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  3. 1 cup skin-on almonds, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts
  4. 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  7. 6 large eggs, room temperature
  8. 1 cup coconut palm or date sugar
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  3. Pinch of sea salt
  4. ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a very well shaken 13.5-ounce can)
  1. Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly brush a 10"-diameter cake pan with coconut oil. Line the bottom with a round of parchment; brush parchment with oil. Dust sides of pan with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet until slightly darkened, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  2. On the stovetop, heat chocolate and 1 cup oil in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch the water), stirring often, until mixture is smooth. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, but don't allow coconut oil to harden.
  3. Pulse nuts, salt, and ¼ cup cocoa in food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add shredded coconut and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  4. Beat eggs on medium speed in the bowl of a mixer, about a minute. Add the sugar and vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat until mixture is thick, about 2 minutes. Keep the hand or stand mixer on low speed, gradually add the melted chocolate mixture. Beat to incorporate, then mix in nut/coconut/cocoa mixture. Fold batter several times to ensure nut mixture is incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake cake until firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 35–45 minutes.
  6. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool 15–20 minutes in pan (cake might fall slightly in the center; that’s okay). Run a paring knife or small offset spatula around edges of cake; invert onto rack. Carefully peel away parchment; let cool completely.
  7. For the ganache: combine chocolate, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and salt in a medium bowl. Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over low; pour over chocolate mixture. Let sit until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.
  8. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture until it has lost its sheen and is thick enough to hold very soft peaks, 6–8 minutes (ganache won’t be quite as thick as regular frosting, but it will set on the cake).
  9. Working quickly before ganache starts to set, scrape on top of cake and spread to edges with a small offset spatula or knife.
  10. If you want, garnish with coconut flakes or toasted nuts.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
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