DessertApril-May 2011

Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Coconut Cake

This versatile recipe by professional baker Diane Kittle, owner of Dee’s One Smart Cookie bakery in Glastonbury, Connecticut, is easily converted to a vanilla cake or lemon cake. It can be made with egg replacement* with good results. Frost with Coconut Buttercream Frosting.



1 cup (2 sticks) dairy-free margarine of choice or vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar or organic evaporated cane juice
4 large eggs, room temperature, or egg replacement*
1 tablespoon gluten-free coconut extract
3 cups Gluten-Free Cake Flour Blend or all-purpose flour blend of choice sifted, more to dust pan
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 cups unsweetened premium coconut milk, warm (not low fat)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine or shortening and sugar at medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Lower speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add coconut extract and mix for a minute longer.

3. Measure flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt and sift onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

4. Place coconut milk in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until very warm.

5. Add half the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Then add half the coconut milk and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat process, scraping down bowl. Then beat on low for 2 minutes.

6. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. To decorate cake, place one layer, right side up, on a flat serving plate and spread top with frosting. Place second layer on frosted layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Gently pat handfuls of coconut up the sides. Fill a cake decorator bag (fitted with #6 round tip) with frosting and pipe half loops around the top edge of the cake. Place decorative eggs or jelly beans on the top.

Each slice with frosting contains 821 calories, 51g total fat, 17g saturated fat, 5g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 528mg sodium, 91g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g protein.

*For Egg-Free Coconut Cake, replace eggs with 1 cup applesauce mixed with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Place entire mixture in bowl with sugar and shortening and proceed with recipe.

For Vanilla Cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract. Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice.

For Lemon Cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons lemon extract. Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice. Add 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel to dry ingredients.

Gluten-Free Cake Flour Blend


2 cups rice flour or brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
cup tapioca starch/flour

Combine ingredients. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting


“After decorating your cake, you’ll likely have frosting left over,” says professional baker, Diane Kittle. Refrigerate extra frosting in a sealed container for up to three weeks. Bring to room temperature and whip for a few minutes to make it fluffy again. Use it to fill cookies or frost cupcakes.

6 cups powdered sugar
teaspoon salt
cup boiling water
2 cups vegetable shortening
6 ounces (1 sticks) dairy-free margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon gluten-free coconut extract
-Coarsely shredded coconut, for decorating

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and salt.

2. With whisk attachment, add boiling water and whip at medium speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Add shortening and margarine to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy and increased in volume, about 10 minutes.

For Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, replace coconut extract with an equal amount of vanilla extract.

**TIP Allergy-friendly jellybean eggs are available from Surf Sweets Jelly Beans ( and Gimbals Fine Candies (

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