Tag Archives: coconut

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

10 Jun

Here it is. My first-ever gluten-free bakeventure!

We have a friend of the family who is very conscientiously working her way through an elimination diet  in order to alleviate pain that has been with her since early in the year. She invited us to her croquet-themed birthday celebration, and naturally I offered to bake something. I knew when I suggested I bring the dessert that her diet requires her to be wheat-free, so I thought I would make some cute-o macarons, which use almond flour, as a birthday snack for the party-goers. However, after more conversation with the birthday girl, she revealed that not only can she not eat wheat, but she can’t eat almonds, or chocolate, or peanuts, or citrus.

So. The macarons were out and the search began. This seemed to be a very particular challenge because the more I looked the more at gluten-free recipes the more I found that they mostly all were chocolate. And what have I ever made in my life that didn’t have lemon in it? It required a good three days of work, which I mostly neglected any other duties to perform. But it was totally fine because in the end it all paid off: I came across this beaut, ran the recipe by the recipient, and set to work.

I was nervous about the texture and durability of this cake. Gluten makes strands of protein which holds baked goods together–and this recipe calls for two cake rounds to be cut in half. I was sure they would crumble if I even just looked at them. But I had promised this cake and so I had to sally forthThis recipe was very well-received at the party–the cake itself is dense and not very sweet so it’s a nice vehicle for the sweet coconutty frosting.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Adapted from Gluten Free Canteen

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs, plus 1 egg white

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour Blend)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 coconut, unsweetened and grated

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and flour the pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add in the dry ingredients and coconut. Stir in the milk and sour cream. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes, reduce oven to 325° and bake about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely, and transfer to the freezer to make cutting the layers in half more manageable.


3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons whole milk

about 2 cups coconut, unsweetened and grated

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and almond flavor and mix on high for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Gradually add milk to the mixture until it is the right consistency for spreading. Beat on high again for one minute.

To assemble the cake, cut each layer in half. Place the first layer on a cake stand or platter, and frost with a small amout of frosting, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Repeat with the next three layers. Using the remaining frosting, cover the whole cake. Press the grated coconut into the frosting–it’s yummy and it hides all manner or mistakes!