Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake (vegan)

Despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to cut sugar from my diet. Try as I might, the craving for something sweet never goes away for me. Perhaps I haven't given it long enough but they say you should listen to your body and when it's screaming dessert, I listen. I've always been the obedient type.  Top that with trying to cut out dairy and you've got a real situation and not the Pauly D kind.  

When a recent vegan coworker's birthday came up, I asked her what type of dessert she wanted.  She said anything but I knew she'd surely appreciate something vegan.  I was nervous, skeptical and also very anxious to try my hand at my first vegan cake.

I must have gotten lucky because I picked a great one!  I didn't even bother sharing with the rest of my coworkers that the cake was completely vegan because some of them wouldn't have even tried it.  After receiving positive remarks, I'm convinced you could fool anyone with this cake.  It is extremely moist and the coconut flavor is so prevalent, but in a good way.

There were several firsts for me in this cake - skimming the solid coconut from the top of a full-fat can of coconut milk, cooking with coconut milk yogurt, and using vegan, non-soy cream cheese.  My inner Alton Brown thought the coconut milk trick was super cool.  Who knew the fat solids rose to the top if left unshaken?  Further, who discovered that and who thought to use that as a frosting?  Brilliant!  As far as the coconut milk yogurt, I think I totally lucked out on that one because our local stores had just started carrying that product shortly before I selected this cake recipe.

I had to adapt the icing slightly for fear that it would just slide off the cake.  Thus, the vegan (non-soy based) cream cheese.  It was very creamy and less solid than dairy-based cream cheese.  I've yet to use the rest of it but I'm anxious to try it on a bagel or something where I can really taste it.

Other than the tiny addition in the icing, I stayed true to form with this recipe, following each instruction to the letter.  I've found it's best not to deviate when baking!  I encourage you to give this a try, you won't be disappointed (and if you are, you can mail me your leftovers!).

Double Layer Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake
source:  Mangia Gioia!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (plus more for greasing pans)
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 (6oz) container coconut milk yogurt (I used raspberry to give it a little extra dimension)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, rice, etc.)
1 T. vanilla extract

Sweet Coconut Whipped Cream
2 cans full fat coconut milk (see note)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 cup vegan (non-soy based) cream cheese
raw coconut for decoration

Note:  The coconut milk must be full fat (the low fat kind will not work).  Before making this recipe, allow the cans of coconut milk to sit in a cool place so that the solids can rise to the top.  This is what you need to make the whipped cream.


1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2. Gently open the cans of coconut cream, being careful not to shake the contents. With a spoon, carefully scoop out the top layer of thick cream without disturbing the coconut water underneath. Make sure to not include any of the coconut water with the cream or the consistency will be too runny.

3. Transfer the cream to a medium bowl and add the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract.  Blend well with an electric mixer or whisk.  Gradually add cream cheese until you achieve your desired consistency.  The cream will be thick and slightly firm. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator to cool while you prepare the cake.

4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

5. Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and the sugar together in a separate bowl.

6. Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract to the coconut oil and sugar and beat until smooth.

7. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients careful not to over mix.

8.  Divide the cake batter evenly between two round 9-inch cake pans that have been lightly oiled and floured.  (I lined mine with parchment paper to be doubly sure.)

9. Place the cake pans on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out clean.

10. When the cakes are done, remove the pans from the oven and place on a cooling wrack to cool (about 15 minutes) then gently remove the cakes from the pans and set back on the cooling wrack to cool completely.

11. Once cakes are completely cool, take the chilled coconut cream out and whisk briefly to loosen the consistency. Spread desired amount of chilled cream over one cake round. Place the second cake on top. Proceed with frosting the cake with the rest of the cream. 

12.  Garnish with toasted or raw coconut. 



  1. So pretty! And a very impressive recipe to tackle. I would have been too intimidated by that one.

  2. That cake looks delicious!! I am very impressed!

  3. I've never made a vegan cake so I'm impressed :) And I really like the toasted vs untoasted coconut circles on top - so pretty, I will be stealing this idea!