Chocolate Coconut Cake


chocolate coconut cake

“Why another recipe for chocolate cake?”, you might ask.

For nearly a decade now, I thought I had found THE chocolate cake recipe, namely Nigella Lawson’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, which has been my faithful go-to chocolate cake recipe for every occasion from birthday parties to moments where I simply felt that chocolate cake was the answer (like on Friday nights when I like to be slumped on the sofa watching back-to-back episodes of the Good Wife).

But I think this Chocolate Coconut Cake might be my new favourite cake …

chocolate coconut cake 2

This recipe comes from Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann, a book which evokes both comfort at the mere sight of the cover and comfort from within, courtesy of a comprehensive selection of Scandinavian recipes for cakes, pastries and breads.

What I love about this cake is how tender and chocolatey it is, probably owing to the cream content in the batter, and how simple and understated it is to both make and look at.

Although there is coconut in the batter, you can’t really taste the coconut in the cake itself. But the coconut sprinkled on top of the chocolate icing (which is simply melted chocolate with a knob of butter) brings life to this plain cake, reminiscent of the cosiness of fresh snow on a cold winter’s day. But anyone who is a fan of Bounty bars would not need any persuasion on the comforting combination of milk chocolate and coconut.

The original recipe calls for a 28 cm cake tin, which would produce a rather huge cake, but nonetheless fitting for celebrations such as birthdays or large afternoon tea parties. My largest round cake tin is 24 cm and I still ended up with a rather large and high cake, but it was so delicious that neither my husband nor I complained about having to help ourselves to multiple servings over several days.

If you want a simple, no-fuss chocolate cake with a tender crumb and full of chocolate flavour, this is the cake to try.

chocolate coconut cake recipe

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe adapted from Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann
Serves: Serves 6-8
  • For the cake
  • 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 200 g (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) dessicated coconut
  • 200 ml (6.5 fl oz) double cream (heavy whipping cream)

  • For the icing
  • 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 50 g (2 oz) dessicated coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Line the base of a 24 cm cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
  3. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bain marie (or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water) and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and fluffy, and stir through the chocolate mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and dessicated coconut.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the batter alternatively with the double cream (heavy whipping cream).
  7. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and gently fold them into the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  10. Make the icing by the dark chocolate and then whisk through the butter.
  11. Spread the icing over the cake and let it run down the sides, and sprinkle over the dessicated coconut.
The cake keeps well for several days under a covered cake stand or covered in clingfilm.

As is the case for any cake where chocolate is the key flavour, you should use the best-quality chocolate you can afford. This cake works best with chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids, and the darkest, richest cocoa powder you can find.

My cake sunk a little in the middle upon cooling (maybe because I left it too close to an open window), but it just meant that some of the icing pooled in the centre.

Share your photos!

If you have made this dish, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird


  1. Such an easy cake! And it looks absolutely delicious. I love this idea!

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 June 2015

      Thanks, Katrina! Yes, it’s a really easy cake. I will probably make this one for my son’s next birthday 🙂

  2. Paula 12 June 2015

    Thanh!!! Saying you this, you’ll turn when you walk down the street, thinking that you have a crazy groupie chasing you, but I get excited every time you post! I love your photos so cute, that I feel good looking at them!!

    I will take a look at that book, it seems nice.

    The cake looks reallygood, I make one similar, but with coconut milk, and it’s delicious.

    PS: Please, Thanh, tell me that you have order nice weather this summer, not like last year. I’ve started the countdown!!

    • Eat, Little Bird 12 June 2015

      Hi Paula,
      Oh that’s so lovely to hear! I’m happy to know that there is someone who looks forward to seeing my new posts 🙂 I wish I could do so much more on the blog but I am a bit busy these days with two little kids …

      I’m intrigued about your chocolate cake with coconut milk. It sounds delicious!

      So far, we’ve had some lovely warm weather the past few weeks and even went for our first swim in the lake last weekend. I really hope it will be a nice summer in Switzerland this year. But no matter the weather, I hope you will still enjoy your holiday here 🙂

  3. Ashima 17 June 2015

    so beautiful and easy! 🙂
    I love the way you describe it as “coziness of fresh snow on a cold winter’s day”!


    • Eat, Little Bird 18 June 2015

      Thank you! I first made this cake in winter and that’s what this cake reminds me of now – fresh snow falling outside 🙂

  4. Helen 31 March 2016

    Could you use milk instead of double cream and if so how much?

    • Eat, Little Bird 31 March 2016

      Hello, I think it would be perfectly fine to substitute the cream for milk in this recipe. Just use the same quantity. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!


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