1/2cupfull-fat coconut milk - shake the can well before opening and reserve some for the frosting
Zest of 1 lemon
FOR THE FROSTING (omit to make Paleo, or swap your favorite Paleo vanilla frosting or whipped coconut cream):
1/2cupunsalted butter - softened; swap vegan butter to make dairy free
1/2teaspoonpure vanilla extract
2–3cupspowdered sugar - sifted if lumpy
3tablespoonsfull-fat coconut milk - from the can above, plus additional as needed
Sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
Mini chocolate chips - optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat one 9-inch round cake pan or two 6-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom(s) with parchment paper, then lightly coat again. Set aside.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil for 30 seconds. Continue to heat in 15-second bursts, stopping as soon as it liquifies. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Do not skip the sifting—it's key to giving the cake a lighter texture.
To the bowl with the room-temperature coconut oil, add the eggs, egg whites, honey, vanilla extract, almond extract, and coconut milk. (If, when you open your can of coconut milk, the cream and liquid are separated pour the contents of the can into a separate mixing bowl or large measuring cup and whisk to smoothly recombine before measuring out 1/2 cup. Learn from my mistakes and do not try to stir it together in the open can or you will have a liquidy mess running down the can and onto your counter.) Whisk until the wet ingredients are very well blended and no streaks of eggs remain.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. The coconut flour will form large lumps at first, but just keep on whisking and consider this your arm workout for the day. Stop stirring when the flour lumps are small (about the size of sprinkles). With a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest. (I like to zest the lemon directly into the bowl.) Pour the cake into the prepared pan and, with the back of the spatula, smooth the top. (If using two pans, make sure to evenly divide the batter between each.)
Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, the cake is deeply golden at the edges, and the center springs back lightly when touched. Place the pan(s) on a wire rack and let cool in the pan(s) completely.
While the cake cools, prepare the frosting: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and mix once more until blended.
Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Mix it in on low speed. Continue adding the next 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar a little at a time until it is decently incorporated (if you add it too quickly, you’ll end up with a big cloud of sugar that billows out of the bowl). If at any point the mixture becomes dry and crumbly, add a little of the coconut milk as needed to begin thinning it. Add the rest of the 3 tablespoons coconut milk. Increase the speed to medium high and beat for a full 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed. If the frosting seems too thick, add coconut milk 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time to thin it. If you would like the froster thicker, continue adding the remaining 1 cup additional powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
If making a single layer cake: Once the cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving plate, with the flat bottom-side down. If making a two-layer cake, place the first layer domed top-side down—if the dome is very high and the cake seems wobbly, you can level it first. Tucks strips of wax paper underneath the bottom of the cake to protect the plate. Spread the frosting all over the top of the cake (if adding a second layer, place it flat-side down, dome-side up). Continue frosting, swirling frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake. Decorate as desired. Slice and serve!
Coconut flour does not have any substitutions that I can suggest. It is very unique and must be used in this recipe. If you prefer a different option, check out some of my other cake recipes.
I do not recommend flax eggs in place of the eggs called for this recipe, as the eggs are necessary to ensure the cake will rise. If you’d like a vegan cake, check out my Instant Pot Cake recipe.
Store leftover cake tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If storing in the refrigerator, let come to room temperature prior to serving. You can also freeze the cake for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator (if you thaw at room temperature, the cake may become mushy).
Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. If freezing, thaw the frosting in the refrigerator, then beat it for a few seconds so it becomes creamy again.
You will have some extra coconut milk after making this recipe. Try using it in smoothies (or frozen cocktails!), add it to a chicken marinade, swap it for heavy cream in baking recipes, or use it in any of these coconut milk recipes.