A dessert worth celebrating: vegan coconut almond flour cake, studded with chunks of chocolate! It is grain-free, gluten-free, & oil-free.
An Almond Joy of Cake
I enjoy a jumble of random weekend baking rituals that feel exactly and effortlessly right—that inspire, especially when I’m in a mood (good or bad)–a feeling of “this is why I bake.”
Key to the rituals: baking without a schedule. I’ll pull out pans and bowls before anyone makes specific requests or pronouncements of profound hunger (most common from resident teenage man-boy). Also essential: ease and familiarity. Muffins, scones, and other quick breads, definitely. Brownies and cookies, yes and yes.
For-no-good-reason cakes also qualify. More often than not, a good reason is revealed once the cake is baked.
Case in point, my Saturday morning baking joy: Vegan Coconut Almond Flour Cake (with chocolate chunks, thank you very much).
Healthy Highlights of this Cake
The flavors of the cake are inspired by Almond Joy candy bars–almonds, coconut, and chocolate–but without the accompanying barge of sugar. It’s a cake for many to enjoy, because it is:
Vegan (egg-free and dairy-free)
Ingredients for the Cake
The ingredients for the cake are familiar and minimal. You will need:
Blanched almond flour: the package need not say “blanched,” but it needs to be super-fine for best results. Avoid using a coarse almond meal.
Chickpea flour: also known as garbanzo bean flour. It works as a replacement for eggs in this simple recipe, binding the cake and adding critical (protein) structure in ways that traditional vegan egg replacements (e.g., flax and chia) cannot. The chickpea flavor is not detectable when used in combination with the almond flour, vanilla, maple syrup and almond extract.
Maple syrup: contributes just enough natural sweetness.
Canned full-fat coconut milk: adds moisture (healthy fats, without adding oil) and distinctive flavor.
Cider vinegar: use apple cider vinegar, or any light color vinegar you prefer (or have in the pantry). Lemon juice can also be used. This addition of acid promotes a reaction from the baking soda for a decent rise to the cake in the absence of eggs.
Vanilla and almond extracts: add the distinctive “almond joy” flavors in one simple step.
Unsweetened flake or shredded coconut: use finely shredded coconut. If you only have large flakes/shreds on hand. blitz them in a food processor, or finely chop.
Chocolate chunks or chips: for just the right hit of melty chocolate throughout the cake’s interior.
Because this is an any time, reason or season cake, I designed it to be super-simple. First, preheat the oven to 325F and grease or spray an 8-inch round cake pan.
In a blender or food processor, blend the liquid ingredients–coconut milk, water, vinegar, extracts, and maple syrup–with the chickpea flour until completley smooth. This is the equivalent of the eggs, oil, and dairy in a traditional cake.
Add the chocolate (chunks or chips) next. Even if using chocolate chips, I suggest giving them a rough chop for greater chocolate dispersion in the cake.
Spread the batter in the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the top with coconut. Time to bake!
Bake the Cake
In the preheated 325F oven, bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes until risen, the coconut is toasted, and (most importantly), a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Place the cake pan on a cooling rack and cool the cake for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a large plate on top and invert the cake. Remove the cake pan. Place the cooling rack on top of the cake and turn the cake right side up (do not worry if a few stray pieces of coconut come loose; simply sprinkle them back on top).
Cool the cake completely on the rack. It needs no adornment, unless you are feeling fancy. I was, so I added a drizzle of melted white chocolate!
The options for varying the cake are wide-ranging. For example, the following:
Vanilla Almond Flour Cake: Nix the coconut flakes, chocolate chunks, and almond flavoring and you have a simple and lovely vanilla almond flour cake. I suggest upping the vanilla to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons total.
Switch up the Mix-Ins: ‘Tis almost the season of sweet spices, dried cranberries and more. Omit the coconut and consider using chopped dried fruits in place of the chocolate. Instead of almond extract, add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sweet spices (e.g., cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, allspice, cardamom, etc.).
Get Zesty: Omit the coconut, chocolate, and almond extract and add 2 to 3teaspoons of finely grated citrus zest. For a holiday classic, keep the dark chocolate, and add orange zest plus a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, cardamom, or pumpkin pie spice.
Storage: Store the cooled cake in a cake keeper or other covered container at room temperature for 1 day. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
I baked the Vegan Coconut Almond Flour Cake! My husband and I was amazed how good the taste was. My husband is very picky but he loved that cake . I have food allergies and I have to eat everything gluten free and so I was amazed how easy it was to make and it tasted so delicious. Thanks sincerely, Gabriele
Just made this cake and I am really impressed with how delicious, moist and amazing texture it has! I used almond milk instead of coconut cream and I didn't have almond extract either, and it still turned out amazing! This will be my go to quick cake! Thank you!
Wednesday 11th of November 2020
Oh Vicky, that is so good to hear! Thrilled that to know that it worked well with almond milk, too, I know that will be useful to other readers (as well as to me!) :)