I love cooking and baking and I do think my recipes are very solid and taste delicious. BUT, I am not great at food styling. Maybe I am better than my husband or a few of my friends, but I feel totally inadequate in this department, especially after seeing the unbelievable talent on Instagram or Pinterest. The truth is, I don’t have a lot of patience for food styling, I’m not that creative, and I don’t have three hours to design a smoothie bowl (a food blogger shared with the NY Post that she spends that much time on her smoothie bowl creations.) Yikes.
Two friends whom I admire so much are Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas from Sweet Laurel Bakery. Laurel bakes the most delicious and beautiful cakes which happen to be grain-free and dairy-free. Their food styling is so gorgeous and I love their whole aesthetic of these romantic, stunning desserts. I also appreciate their whole food approach using (generally) almond flour, eggs, maple syrup, and sea salt. I made the German Chocolate Cake from the new Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-free Desserts and not only was it delicious, it was easy to make, and the styling in the book inspired me to make this look pretty nice with very little effort, if I do say so myself. I had some girlfriends over and they were all so impressed with the cake and the presentation. I felt so proud!
I thought this would be nice treat for Mother’s Day (May 13th) or Father’s Day (June 17th.) Who wouldn’t love a moist, rich chocolate cake with a sweet, thick coconut-pecan frosting? Don’t forget the toasted coconut flakes! So good! I love grain-free baked goods, provided they are done right, and this cake is a great recipe. Not too sweet, but definitely indulgent. I had 2 6-inch cake pans so I went the 4-layer route (you cut 2 6-inch cakes in half to make 4 layers), but you could do a 2-layer cake by splitting 1 8-inch cake in half. Or double the whole recipe and make a 4-layer 8-inch cake!! You could even make this a few days in advance and keep it wrapped in the fridge. I made this cake last Wednesday, assembled it Friday and there’s one piece still sitting in my fridge and the texture and flavor are still amazing.
This is not a recipe for nut-free folks, I’m afraid. As I’ve mentioned many times, you cannot substitute grain-free flours for other flours, so please don’t think you can make this recipe as written by subbing whole wheat flour for the almond flour. Not going to work. On the other hand, the ladies offer substitutions for eggs if you need to make something vegan. The book is just lovely if you like to bake grain-free desserts without refined sugar and offers beautiful inspiration for making your creations looked professional!
If you make this or any other recipe from my website or my cookbook, please tag me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman so I can see your masterpiece!
You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below!
- Coconut oil, for greasing the pans
- 2½ cups blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (they call for Himalyan pink salt)
- 4 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (To melt chocolate, I like to do this in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.)
- ½ cup brewed coffee
- 3 large eggs (I brought mine to room temperature)
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coconut yogurt, store bought (I used Cocoyo) or homemade
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups coconut pecan frosting (recipe below - I used the whole recipe in this cake)
- toasted coconut, for garnish
- pecan halves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 6-inch cake pans or one 8-inch pan with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the melted chocolate, coffee, eggs, maple syrup, vinegar, coconut yogurt, and vanilla until well blended. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to create a smooth batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cakes onto a rack and allow to cool completely while you prepare the frosting.
- To build the cake, slice the cake layers in half horizontally, creating four layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and smooth ½ cup frosting over the entire surface. Add a second layer and spread with another ½ cup frosting. Continue with all four layers, spreading extra frosting on top. If making an 8-inch cake, slice in half, creating two layers, and serve with 1 cup of frosting spread on each layer. Garnish with toasted coconut and pecans.
makes 3½ cups
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1⅓ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and finely chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg yolks, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly and thickened or reaches 170 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
2. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Continue stirring until cooled and thick enough to spread, about 1 hour. The frosting will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.