plush coconut cake

If you told me a year and a half ago that I wouldn’t have just one, but two vegan cakes on the site, and that I liked them so that I honestly question from time to time why any cakes have any eggs in them, ever, I’d have thought you lost your mind. Let me explain: I know there are amazing and delicious vegan cakes in the world, but I believed I’d need flax eggs or the liquid from a can of chickpeas or some other magic to pull them off; I figured I’d leave it to the experts. Plus, I suspect my devotion to butter and buttermilk is well-established by now.

four dry ingredientstwo wet ingredients
smooth the batterperfectly domed

But that was before I learned about Wacky Cakes, a.k.a. Depression Cakes or Cockeyed Cakes, if you’re a Peg Bracken fan, which of course, everyone should be. They typically have about 7 completely basic, everyday ingredients and they’re usually chocolate-flavored, but never enough for me. So in my version, I used a higher proportion of cocoa powder and olive oil, whose fruitiness is exceptionally cozy with chocolate. The cake is so good, we recently found in the fridge a chunk of the one I made in late November (five weeks later) and my husband refused to let me throw it away, taking his life in his hands to eat it right then and there. If you’ve made it, maybe you understand.

plush coconut cake

Not a chocolate fan? Today is your day. This long overdue version (with only 6 ingredients, what a showoff) might be — don’t tell the chocolate fiends in your life — even better. I made it with coconut oil and coconut milk, which together provide a subtle coconut flavor and rich, plushness to the cake I thought heretofore impossible in any cake, vegan or other. Forget a month; this cake isn’t going to survive this long weekend.

plush coconut cake


One year ago: Sheet Pan Meatballs with Crispy Turmeric Chickpeas
Two years ago: Chocolate Dutch Baby
Three years ago: Blood Orange, Almond, and Ricotta Cake and Cabbage and Sausage Casserole
Four years ago: Key Lime Pie and Make Your Own Vanilla Extract
Five years ago: Pear and Hazelnut Muffins and Warm Lentil and Potato Salad
Six years ago: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard, and Garlic
Seven years ago: Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Eight years ago: Baked Potato Soup
Nine years ago: Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup and an Intensely Almond Cake
Ten years ago: Clementine Cake and Mushroom Bourguignon
Eleven years ago: Chicken Caesar Salad and Fried Chicken
Twelve years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Bourbon Peach Smash
1.5 Years Ago: Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
2.5 Years Ago: Corn, Bacon, and Parmesan Pasta
3.5 Years Ago: Very Blueberry Scones
4.5 Years Ago: Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles

Plush Coconut Cake

This, as written, is fantastic everyday or snack cake with a simple glaze and [updated to note] a mild coconut flavor, but I could totally see it getting ready for a party as a two-layer cake. I bet it would be a gorgeous confetti cake, too. If you’re not deeply into coconut, use a flavorless oil or vegan butter instead of coconut oil and then soy, almond, or oat milk instead of canned coconut milk to give you a more neutral launchpad for other flavor combinations. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Note: A 13.5-ounce can of coconut milk will have about 3 tablespoons more than you need for this recipe. Reserve it make the glaze.

  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (285 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) coconut oil, warmed just enough to liquefy
  • 1 1/2 cups full- or low-fat coconut milk (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) plain vinegar
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with a fitted round of parchment paper and coat the bottoms and sides with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add coconut oil, coconut milk, and vinegar and whisk until batter is smooth.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes [updated to note: it’s sounding in the comments like it’s taking some people a bit longer — it’s not done until the center is set, even if it’s longer than it took me], or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out batter-free. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut around it with a knife to ensure it is loosened and flip it out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

If you wish to make a glaze: Whisk together 3/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the leftover coconut milk, adding a little at a time, until it is smooth but not too runny. Add a pinch of salt, if you wish. Once cake is fully cool, spread over the top of the cake and smooth to the edges with a knife or small offset spatula, where it will find its way down the sides decoratively on its own. I added some white confetti sprinkles, but toasted coconut chips would be nice here too.


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