Soft, sweet cake that is full of coconut flavor! This vegan coconut cake is healthy, gluten free and naturally sweetened. A single layer cake that’s super easy, but a total crowd pleaser.
Because, every week should start with a piece of cake. Happy Monday to us!
The day I baked this cake, it was actually my very first day off work for the summer, and it was awesome. I started my day with a workout, baked some new recipes all day, hung out with Rumor (our bull terrier, if you haven’t seen her goofy face all over my insta stories), and had dinner ready to go for Joe when he got home from a work trip.
During these long but productive days, I listen to podcasts alllllll day long. I discovered them about a year ago, and ever since I’ve just been addicted. I listen to them during all my workouts, during any free time or work time on my laptop, and of course, while I bake and take photos for the blog. The obsession comes from the feeling that I’m constantly learning things while listening, and I always enjoy hearing people discuss topics I’m passionate about (plant-based nutrition, health/fitness). Plus, it’s always nice to get somebody else’s perspective.
So, I need you guys to give me some podcast recommendations! I have a handful that I listen to every week, but now I’m all caught up to their current episodes. I work out every day and have a lot more time to listen in the summer, so I’d like to add a few to my list. Seriously, share! I can definitely share mine too, if you’re interested.
Now, let’s talk vegan coconut cake.
This cake kind of changed my life. Yes, I’m serious. Dessert is not something I take lightly – all teeth in this mouth are sweet.
Can I tell you guys a secret?
I think I found a new cake love – the single layer cake. Peace out, cupcakes. I know, I can’t believe I’m saying it either. Cupcakes are still cute as can be, and such a fun treat, and literally the same base recipe as I would use for a single layer cake. So cupcakes, I still love you!
But seriously, I LOVED baking this cake and I can’t wait to do like 10 more in different flavors and leave my cupcake tin happily in it’s drawer for the time being.
This also served as my celebration dessert for making it through another year of teaching, which in turn led to me justifying eating 4 slices. Oops! I’m so not sorry, though, cause this cake is made of healthy, plant-based ingredients, and I’m not eating 4 slices of cake everyday, so we’re good. Sometimes you gotta treat yoself, am I right?!
Let’s discuss all the wonderful things about single layer cakes that my poor self didn’t known prior to this vegan coconut cake gracing my kitchen.
First of all, portion size in general! Now, I LOVE big, classic layer cakes. In my opinion they’re the best of the best when it comes to ALL desserts. So gorgeous. But being a family of two, we don’t necessarily need the many portions a layer cake brings. This cake is packed with healthy plant ingredients, but it would take us like over a week to get through the entire thing if it was more than one layer. And I wouldn’t want to get bored of it – not that I could with this dreamy cake, but I digress.
Then, there’s the ease of baking itself. No need to portion out 12 separate cupcakes – literally just dump the batter into a round cake pan and toss it in the oven. I’m all about ease when it comes to prepping a dessert! But don’t actually dump/toss your pan. It’ll make a mess and you’ll be sad AND you won’t have cake.
Speaking of ease, single layer cakes are so simple when it comes to decorating. Don’t get me wrong, cupcakes always look cute in the end. But there’s something about having to individually frost, top, and/or sprinkle 12 separate cakes that isn’t super fun when you’re trying to take photos – I’m talking ingredients all over my hands, the table, wrappers and piping bags everywhere. It’s not pretty. I love that a single layer is just one, blank, beautiful canvas to decorate. As you can see, mine isn’t exactly a masterpiece. But, it was actually fun to do, because it was easy rather than intimidating.
Now that I’ve professed my newfound love for the single layer cake, let’s talk specifics! This vegan coconut cake is perfect for the warm weather seasons. I mean, coconut just screams tropical, warm, fun, summertime to me. I considered adding chocolate somewhere, because I am myself, but I resisted that strong urge and was SO happy with the final product. This cake is all coconut, all the way, and I’m in love with it. I sort of hate myself for thinking I “hated coconut” until like, last year. Ugh.
The batter is really simple. Almond and coconut flour for a super soft and fluffy texture. Date paste for rich, natural sweetness. Applesauce for even more moisture, because dry cake sucks. Coconut extract just to really drive that coconut flavor home – this is totally optional! Also, don’t be afraid when you smell it. It literally smells like sun screen. I was terrified, but went with 1/2 a teaspoon and it is the perfect amount, definitely not overpowering, and I love the flavor it adds. Last is some almond milk to bring the batter together.
Here’s the ONE drawback to this cake, if you can even call it that, because it’s not so much a drawback as a time management thing – this cake bakes for an hour. Yes, a full hour! I know, the agony of being patient. Life is so hard sometimes. But it’s a lot of batter in one pan, so put those patient pants on. Oh, and after the hour of baking, it has to cool for another hour! Don’t hate me.
This cake is sooo soft. Like, softer than a unicorn’s pillow. As a result, if you try to turn it out of the pan before it’s COMPLETELY cool, your layer might crack in half and mush all over the place. Yes, mush is a verb now. So anyway, it’ll still be delicious cake mush, but your best bet is to let this cake cool for at least an hour before decorating and serving. I let mine cool on the counter for 15 minutes, then put it in the refrigerator for another hour. So, so important so your cake can really firm up and you can get clean slices.
Once your cake is completely cool, it’s time to decorate! I went really simple, with a coconut milk drizzle and more toasted, shredded coconut. I may or may not have burnt some to a crisp while baking this cake the first time around and had to redo it after throwing around some expletives, so, don’t be like me and be sure to keep an eye on it.
An important note if you go the same route I did for decorating – the coconut milk seeps into the cake, giving it a very tres leches-esque texture. Soft, almost wet, and I know that sounds weird and disgusting, but it is out of this world. If you’ve had tres leches cake before, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, go look up a vegan version and get ready for the best day of your life. Also, I want you guys to know that leches keeps auto-correcting to “leeches.” You will NOT be seeing a tres leeches cake around here any time, ever.
My point is, don’t expect a dry, light cake – this one is soft, SUPER moist, and thick. I’m drooling.
So, after some coconut milk and shredded coconut to make your vegan coconut cake beautiful, I highly, highly recommend adding some heavenly Date Lady coconut caramel sauce. Oh my stars, guys. It seriously catapults this vegan coconut cake to a whole other level in terms of flavor. The coconut caramel perfectly complements the cake and brings out the coconut flavor even more! I love all of the Date Lady’s products, they have so many incredible vegan options that go so well with desserts and sweet breakfasts. Check out their site!
After taking these photos I realized the slices kind of look like pie, which drives me CRAZY because while I don’t hate pie – so much love for this and this! – I just love love love cake. So, trust and believe, that though the little slices look like pie, it is CAKE ALL THE WAY!
I’m really feeling the caps today, apparently. Sorry for shouting.
This vegan coconut cake is an absolute dream. I could not get over the amazing texture. It’s made with healthy ingredients, totally naturally sweetened, and SO easy to bake and decorate. What more could you want in a dessert?!
And people think eating plant-based is sooo hard. 🙂
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes/what you think! Take a picture and tag me @beamingbanana on Instagram. Happy baking!