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June 10, 2011

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake

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:(      You know when you're making a cake, and the batter seems absolutely perfect? As you put the pan in the oven you think, "Oh, this is gonna taste amazing!" If you're like me, you peer through the oven window every 5 minutes or so, and smile when you see how it is perfectly rising. When the toothpicks come out clean and the cake has cooled, it's time to taste it. And for those of you who make your own recipes or change up other recipes drastically, you have probably experienced the saddening first bites of an experiment gone wrong.  This cake... was one of them.

^^ this looks pretty yummy right?

Well, due to my fervent need to lower the sugar levels in the recipes I bake, I lowered this one a little too much. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago, but never got around to buying the baking bars and coconut milk. Finally, I bought them and was ready to bake this recipe! But, I changed this recipe a little too much (almost every ingredient is different!).

1st Version: (pictured above)
     I would not recommend this recipe. It was too airy... I don't really know how to explain it. Overall, I didn't like the texture and it was really bitter (the result of reducing 1-1/2 cups of sugar to 1/4 cup!). I knew beforehand that I lowered the sugar level by a lot, so I added 35 drops of stevia extract, which was clearly not enough. Instead of regular cocoa powder, I used dark cocoa powder (for the antioxidants of course, wink wink), whole wheat flour instead of AP flour, 3 tbs of coconut oil instead of 6 tbs of butter and some applesauce for moisture. The recipe called for 1 cup of coconut milk, but I used light coconut milk... and sadly, I couldn't taste it at all! After finishing the slice of cake, I was ready for the next version.

2nd Version:
     Because the 1st version was too airy, I researched some healthy thickeners because I didn't want to use corn starch, and didn't have tapioca flour on hand. All I found was that thickeners such as xanthan gum are pretty expensive, so I thought of tofu. I used 1/5 of a package of silken tofu, but unfortunately, all it did was make the cake a little more moist. I doubled the amount of stevia extract from the 1st version, which definitely improved the flavor, and added some whey protein since my dad always complains that whatever I bake "needs more protein!" I also added 1/2 tsp of coconut extract to enhance the coconut flavor, or, the lack-thereof.
     This cake was almost like a sponge cake. It could probably be baked as a cupcake because of how light it was. The flavor was there, just the texture that I was personally looking for in a cake.

3rd Version:
     I invested in arrowroot starch! I searched up some other recipes with it so now I know it won't go to waste. Anyways, I increased the stevia amount and whey protein powder to 1/2 cup, along with the addition of the arrowroot starch. I went to Trader Joe's today to get some groceries and some baking ingredients, but they didn't have silken tofu! So I got firm tofu, thank goodness it still worked.

Yes, I ate it with my hands.

Here's a big, BIG slice for you!


Okay, you can have this one ;D
4th Version:
     Mmmm! These are so good! I made them in 2 muffin pans that held 6 each, but the batter only filled 10 cupcakes (thinking of it now, this batter would go best in a bundt pan). These were much better--more dense, much more moist, and more sweet and chocolatey!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake:  [low sugar, high fiber/protein]
inspired by The Little Red House
(makes one 9" cake, 10 large muffins or one medium bundt cake)

    4oz 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
    60g (3/4 cup) Dark Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
    39g (3 tbs) Coconut Oil
    1/2 cup Boiling Water
    123g (1/2 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
    1 cup Light Coconut Milk, canned
    2 Large Eggs
    85g (1/5 package) Firm Tofu
    63g (3 tbs) Honey
    1+1/4 tsp Stevia Extract
    1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    1 tsp Coconut Extract

    150g (1+1/4 cup) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
    48g (1/4 cup) Sucanat (or dry sweetener of choice)
    40g (1/2 cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
    24g (3 tbs) Arrowroot Starch (or cornstarch)
    1 tsp Baking Soda
    1/2 tsp Baking Powder
    1/2 tsp Salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9" cake pan or 10 large muffin tins with cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl, stir together the chopped bittersweet chocolate, the cocoa powder and coconut oil.
3.  In a large blender, puree the applesauce, coconut milk, eggs, tofu, honey and extracts until smooth.
4.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sweetener, protein, starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
5.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl with the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coconut oil and stir until smooth (it should look like a thick ganache).  Stir in the blender mixture.
6.  Add the dry to wet and gently fold together.  Pour batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for ~40-45 minutes (depends on pans sued) or until surface of cake is firm to touch and a toothpick comes out clean.

Top with this chocolate icing or this classic white icing.


  1. Hi Jessica! This cake sounds awesome, I'll have to give it a try. ^_^ You can probably add more coconut oil to it or add an extra egg to make it more dense. Seriously, this is my new favorite blog!

  2. Oh my gosh, this makes me want to cry i want it so bad!! (<--ahh thats horrible!) Wanna send me a slice ;) LOL

  3. Maybe if you baked it in a muffin tin and renamed it a breakfast food, the airiness would seem appropriate and wouldn't bother you. Either way, it does look delicious! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Yeah, next time I'll bake it in a muffin tin and maybe add a flax egg... thanks for helping R.C. and Carissa!

  5. This looks amazing! It reminds me of a brownies. I'm so happy that I found your blog

  6. Wow, you put so much effort into finding the best recipe, that is awesome! This cake looks amazingly beautiful, it's hard to believe it's got such an awesome ingredients list.

  7. Looks delicious! Even if it is a bit airy for your tastes, it looks like a winner!

  8. Justr a general question... when you substitute in whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, do you need to add more liquids? For some reason I feel like whole wheat flour would absorb the liquids more.

  9. Don't despair! A brilliant recipe takes plenty of trial and error. That is, unless if you can see the future. (: I think the cake looks good enough!

    ps: i have a fervent need to lower sugar levels too! :D

  10. Anonymous,
    When you use whole wheat flour instead of AP flour, the end product is more dense, dryer and harder--that's why certain recipes ask for sifting--you may need to add more oil or applesauce to achieve the moisture level you want, but only by a tbs or two, depending on the recipe. Hope that helps!

    Hannah @ Bake Five,
    I know! Don't you just hate the crash you get after eating a lot of sugar? I'm glad I'm not alone haha.

  11. Yum! We'd love for you to share this over at!

  12. Is the whey protein concentrate really needed or could I leave it out?

    1. I would deem it necessary because I find that protein powders add structure to the cake. You can probably use any protein powder (like the ones you mix in drinks) but I haven't tried that yet. You can buy a single bag of the protein powder I used online if you don't want too much lying around. Here's a link where you can buy a case of 4 or 1 single bag:

  13. this cake looks tremendously delicious! I wish I could grab it out of my computer screen ;)
    I also like the general idea of your blog - which I just discovered by the way - so I will definitely follow and try out some of your recipes!

    maybe you want to come visit:

    1. Thanks, Martina!
      PS: I love your blog, and I really like the name :)


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