a recipe: coconut flour cake with coconut frosting

Coconut flour cake has quickly become our stand-by, a staple of birthday celebrations.  With a flavor and texture reminiscent of classic yellow cake, this coconut flour cake is a welcome and nourishing alternative to all that refined flour and sugar.   So when my son turned five recently, I knew just what cake I’d make to celebrate that momentous occasion. As an added benefit, the cake is free from grains, gluten and dairy products without compromising flavor or texture, meaning that it’s a good dessert for family, friends and guests who may suffer from common food allergies.  If you liked the coconut bread, you’ll really enjoy this cake.

Why Use Coconut Flour for Your Cake

Rich in protein and fiber, coconut flour produces a filling and nutrient-dense cake.  Typical birthday party fare includes candies, sugary sodas and cakes loaded with white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated fats and powdered sugar.  It’s easy to rationalize it: it’s only once a year, the kids deserve their treat.  Yet, all those refined carbohydrates come at a great cost to little bodies and developing metabolisms.  As any parent who’s attended his or her share of children’s birthday parties knows that the after the sweetness of a birthday cake wears off, the craziness sets in.  Little bodies, and big bodies for that matter, just aren’t prepared to handle such an intense rush of refined carbohydrates and manufactured fats.  We love healthy treats for kids at Nourished Kitchen, and this gluten-free cake is no exception.

A coconut flour cake, by contrast to traditional birthday cakes, helps to provide better nourishment through protein- and fiber-rich flour coupled with pastured eggs rich in vitamins and nourishing fats.  While sweetened by honey, thanks to its rich assortment of proteins, fiber and fat, it still lacks the sugar rush associated with other flour- and sugar-rich cakes, making it a perfect choice for a child’s birthday party.

Similarly, the coconut frosting that accompanies coconut flour cake is also sweetened only by a touch of honey.  It lacks the powdered sugar, a combination of sugar and starch, found in most frostings so this coconut frosting is light and fluffy in texture, and it melts readily, so keep the frosted cake chilled in the refrigerator until it’s ready to serve.

grain-free sweetsUsing Coconut Flour

Extremely absorbent, coconut flour benefits from a high ratio of liquid ingredients to flour, and eggs provide the cake with plenty of moistness and a boost of nutrition.  You can learn more about baking with coconut flour here.

Where to Find Coconut Flour for Your Cake

You can find coconut flour, coconut oil and coconut milk at most well-stocked health food stores; however, you can also purchase coconut flour and coconut oil online.

Other Coconut Flour Recipes

For other grain=free, and dairy-free recipes, be sure to check out the Nourished Kitchen Guide to Grain-free Baking, Sweets and Treats.  The digital guide features 90+ grain-free, dairy-free recipes as well as tips and resources for baking without grains or dairy.

coconut flour cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cake, about 8 servings

coconut flour cake

Dense, moist, and rich with coconut flavor, coconut flour cake is a remarkable treat. While both its texture and flavor is reminiscent of classic yellow cake, it’s considerably more nourishing thanks to the nutrient profile of both coconut flour and fresh pastured eggs. We serve coconut flour cake for birthdays and special occasions.


    For the Cake
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • up to 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 2 cups coconut flour (available here
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • coconut oil, for greasing the pan
  • For the Frosting
  • 2 cups coconut spread (available here)
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (available here)
  • up to 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Beat a dozen eggs, two cups coconut milk and up to three-quarters of a cup of honey together with vanilla, coconut and orange extracts until smooth, creamy and uniform in both color and texture.
  3. Dump two cups coconut flour, a half-teaspoon baking soda and a quarter teaspoon unrefined sea salt into the mixture of eggs, honey and extracts, and continue to beat until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Grease and flour two eight-inch cake tins.
  5. Pour, or spoon, the cake batter into the greased and floured tins, shaking them to even out the batter and smoothing it with the back of a spoon or with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about forty minutes, or until the cake separates from the sides of the tin and a toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin and frosting with the coconut frosting below.
  8. Beat all ingredients for the frosting together until thoroughly combined.
  9. Refrigerate the frosting for five to ten minutes so that it stiffens a bit.
  10. Remove from the refrigerator, beat for about one minute.
  11. Frost your cake.

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What people are saying

  1. Jill Swanson says

    Is there a substitute for coconut spread? I am not able to find it conveniently and would like to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday this weekend!

    • Kristine says

      Whole foods has it too. It is used like butter and is in a similar container. I have been using it for over a year now. I even make grilled cheese and tomato using coconut spread instead of butter.

      I made icing instead of the frosting in the recipe. It sounds too heavy for me.
      Confectionery sugar, water and a 1/2 tsp of coconut extract mixed together. Then drizzle that and sprinkle flaked coconut to make it look nice, and add even more coconut.
      People with low thyroids, eat coconut all you want. It is good for us!

  2. d.w.s. says

    Hi Jenny,
    In the icing recipe there is “coconut spread” what exactly is that? Also, when I go to sources I cannot find it.

    Thank you-

    • Jenny says

      Coconut spread is the same thing as nut butter, only made with coconut – you can find it from Wilderness Family Naturals.

    • Alex says

      “coconut spread” is sold under a variety of names:

      – coconut cream
      – creamed coconut
      – coconut manna
      – coconut butter

      Also, coconut milk can be made by mixing coconut cream with hot water. I highly recommend this approach over canned coconut milk, which often contains guar gum, which is a bean and upsets my stomach. And in my opinion, canned coconut milk has a weird taste, either from the can or the guar gum.

  3. Dorothy says

    Can you use anything besides honey? Want cake for first birthday, but would rather not try it on such a big day!

    • says

      I swap sweeteners a lot in similar recipes: if you are not following GAPS/SCD, try maple syrup for sweetening babies first cake. Or some date sugar (pure) or even just blending a bit of moistened dates or very ripe banana right into batter, if you are avoiding sweeteners.

      • abby says

        Dorothy, did you try an alternative sweetener to the honey? I would love to know how it turned out. I am looking to do the same thing – baby’s first birthday cake!

  4. Samantha says

    Can you use light canned coconut milk or does it need to be full fat? Also will the amount of honey I use effect the texture/outcome of the cake? I was thinking of using 1/2 cup of honey and some liquid stevia. Thanks!

    • Kristine says

      I use coconut milk that is in near the refrigerator dept, where almond and soy milk is kept cold. I do not use canned coconut milk. Are you sure you are not mixing it up with condensed milk? That comes in light or full fat. I never saw coconut milk like that.
      Using honey makes everything more moist so I do not see why everyone is so worried. It is healthier too.
      I have not found any sugar substitute that tastes good.

  5. says

    I have a friend who’s son is on a ketogenic diet for a rare illness. I’d love to adapt the recipe and use stevia as a sweetener for both the cake and the frosting. Any tips for how to do that? It would be so nice to be able to have him eat cake on his birthday.

    • Abbe says

      I use stevia in all recipes that call for sugar. I use the same amount of stevia as the sugar called for in the recipe. I have never had a problem with it. The cake will be a little more dense and you may need to cook it for less time ~ watch it closely so it doesn’t get overcooked. Good luck!

    • Kamila says

      this will vary tremendously depending on the brand of stevia you use. Some have fillers and others don’t and those will be VERY sweet.

  6. Roberta says

    This sounds so delicious.We live in a rural town with not many shopping options.So I was thinking cream cheese would be good spread on this cake! You could use the whipped kind as it spreads easier maybe with some sort of jam mixed in?

    • Kristine says

      Or mix flaked coconut into it and maybe a bit of coconut extract.
      I am making a coconut icing because their frosting sounds too heavy.

  7. Carolina says

    How thick is the frosting? Will it hold several layers? From the picture it looks kinda liquidy.

  8. monique says

    I attempted this but it came out horrible, more eggy than cakey! The batter was not overly runny and I was concerned at that point. Any hot tips!

    • Jenny says

      When it come sout like you describe, it’s usually because the cook made substitutions – often by replacing oconut flour with regular flour.

      • Lauren says

        I made this exactly according to your recipe and it came out “eggy” as the previous commenter described. I used Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour as it’s the only kind I could find, and it says it’s good for gluten-free baking. However, I would not describe this as having a light, crumbly texture as most people would want from a cake.

  9. Melissa C says

    I get quit confused with “coconut milk” in recipes. There is a canned coconut milk that is quite thick & then there is the coconut milk in the refrigerated section of the store (with the watery consistency of, well, cows milk). Which does you recipe use & if canned, can you use the light coconut milk??

    Thanks – the recipe looks wonderful!!

    • Jenny says

      My recipes only call for full-fat coconut milk (canned or fresh), and NEVER EVER do I use the coconut milk sold in cartons. It’s loaded with synthetic vitamins and food additives.

      • Kristine says

        Not all coconut milk in cartons is bad? Maybe you cannot find it, but I have it and it is real pure coconut milk and there are none of the additives you mentioned. CANNED now there you have the preservatives, because it does not require refrigeration. you have this all backwards. Canned is better than refrigerated? No way~

        • Elsa says

          I use full fat NON-BPA and NO fillers, just coconut and water CANNED organic coconut milk. The brand is Natural Value. It is much better than any refrigerated coconut milk that I have seen in my local stores. Whether run of the mill(Safeway, Winco, etc.) or my local health food Co-op. All refrigerated brands that I have seen have had at least 6 ingredients. Most have more gums and other not so great for you ingredients.

  10. kara says

    Has anyone tried this batter for cupcakes? I have little baking experience in general, and an old unreliable oven, so I’m thinking I’d be more confident if I tried cupcakes rather than a 2-layered cake. Is this approach likely to be successful? Would I simply adjust the baking time through trial and (hopefully very little) error?

  11. ANNE L. Texas says

    Jenny HI, you cake looks fabulous!! I cannot wait to try it. You didn’t say sifted coconut flour so I am assuming you did not sift? Have all the ingredients and want to make this but I usually see sifted coconut flour so want to be sure before I get started.
    Thanks for all the recipes you share, keep up the good work!

  12. Melissa says

    Hi Jenny. Is coconut spread also coconut butter? I typically make this myself so I’m hoping so. Also, I’d like to make my own coconut flour. Once I make my coconut milk and have strained the milk through a cheesecloth, is the pulp remaining considered coconut flour? Maybe blended once dried to a fine consistency?

  13. Laura L. says

    Hi, I am really looking forward to making this. I wanted to know what brand specifically you use in the Coconut milk – I have tried various brands of canned coconut milk and they all very greatly. Hoping for a huge success in this turning out like yours. If you use the Wilderness Naturals coconut milk they have ( “cream” or milk coconut milk) If so which. Thanks so much ( if possible could you email your answer to me so I don’t have to keep checking back?) Thanks again!!

  14. Melissa says

    I’m wondering why our questions are often not answered? I’d love to make these recipes and keep refining our kitchen and foods but I sort of feel left hanging. I wonder if it’s because this was originally an older post?

    • jenny says

      I often don’t even see the comments on older posts – because comments on newer posts overtake them so they’re not immediately visible unless there’s a lull like today. I recommend that people post any questions to the Nourished Kitchen facebook wall: http://facebook.com/nourishedkitchen so that if I can’t answer, someone else might be able to.

  15. says

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    helped me out a lot. I am hoping to offer one thing back and aid others like you helped me.

  16. Megan says

    Hello- also looking to make this for baby’s first bday. I’d like to add pineapple to sweeten it. How would you I incorporate pineapple juice and/or fresh pineapple?

  17. emily says

    What can I use besides eggs my friends son is allergic to eggs wheat milk &soy and his bday is coming and I am searching for a cake recipe for him

    • Kamila says

      Have you tried EnerGee Egg Replacer? It works very well and doesn’t have the flavor issue of flax ‘eggs’.

  18. Barbara R. says

    Hi Jenny,

    Would coconut cream concentrate from Tropical Traditions or Coconut butter from Artisana work? Which one is better?
    Thank you.

  19. says

    I made an alternative icing with coconut oil (solid cos its cold here right now!) 6tbps with 170g icing sugar, 2 tsp grated orange peel, 2 tbsp. orange juice and it tastes good! I couldn’t fine coconut spread here in Australia

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  21. Nicole says

    I was so exited when I read the ingredient list for this cake because my toddler has multiple food allergies and leaky gut, so we have to avoid a lot including eggs and rice (most gluten free recipes use rice). So I was so bummed when I was getting ready to buy all the ingredients then read down in the instructions that you need a dozen eggs. I didn’t see it in the ingredients list. Would look to try this recipe some day though

  22. Annemarie says

    It says above the ingredient list the recipe includes eggs.. and I would think you would need them with that much coconut flour, but I don’t see them listed in the ingredient list..?

  23. Flora says

    Honey is quite dangerous to give to babies (under years, I think?) because they can get infant botulism! That may be why so many commenters wish to avoid honey in this recipe. Perhaps the liquid coconut palm sugar, (or agave syrup can be substituted for the honey? The liquid form of coconut palm sugar (itself comes from the nectar of the flower of the coconut palm) has a wonderful buttery – sweet taste! Seems like that would only enhance this frosting! I use it as I am diabetic (still watch the carb count and h. i. index, of course, but it is much better and even tastes better than typical frosting and cake! Thanks!

  24. Cristina says

    I’m puzzled by the eggs mentioned on the instruction, but not on the ingredients list. Do I need them or not? A dozen??

  25. Kelly says

    I followed this recipe exactly and was very disappointed with the results. My cake completely stuck to the pan and was “dry” nothing like the picture. Oh well. Using organic products made it a bit pricey to lose.

  26. Monique Mitchell says

    I’d like to use duck eggs instead of chicken eggs. Would I use less duck eggs since they are bigger? If so, how many?

  27. Joan Overcash says

    Hi – I just tried this cake and the texture is grainy – as if there were coconut bits in it. And it was more moist that I would like as many of the gluten free cakes turn out. Can you give us some tips on how to remedy these results? Perhaps I didn’t beat the two stages long enough, oer perhaps I should have used the whipping tool from my Kitchenaid mixer. It does have a lovely coconut taste. (I’ll skip the frosting – much too rich – or perhaps I will cut it down somehow.)

    Thanks, in advance

    • says

      That’s the nature of baking with coconut flour – it tends toward graininess, and if you noticed coconut bits, you might try a different coconut flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes a good one.

  28. Melissa says

    I made this cake today. I also live at 5300 feet.
    I used a dozen extra large eggs. I did make a
    couple changes: I used 2% milk and a Tbsp
    of vanilla-omitted the other flavorings and
    added 3/4 tsp of baking powder. I did not
    make the frosting as I wanted this cake for
    peach shortcake. The flavor and texture are
    amazing. I will be saving this recipe.

  29. Kristin says

    I would really like to do this with duck eggs. Do you have a recommendation for replacing chicken eggs with duck eggs?

  30. Kim says

    Would it be possible to make this cake with strawberry puree? Would I use less coconut milk or eggs? Thanks!

  31. says

    I really enjoy all the work you put into your site etc. It’s one of my favourites!!
    I’m curious what you opinion is on heating honey? I’m under the impression that once honey is heated it becomes difficult to digest, therefore I use maple syrup for heated recipes and honey for low temperatures. ? I understand honey is gaps allowable, we did gaps for some time with amazing results!

  32. alma says

    Is there any way to replace the eggs in this recipe, with say, bananas or some other replacement? I have a friend who cannot eat eggs, dairy, peanut and tree nut products, soy, and wheat and I would like to try to bake a treat for her since she is so bummed about this recent change. Otherwise, this looks like a great recipe! :)

    • Jenny says

      The recipe calls for a dozen eggs, there’s just no way you can substitute for that and still come up with comparable results.

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