Everyone goes crazy over this Almond Coconut Cake with its super tender, moist crumb, fabulous flavor and crisp, candy-like glaze. No one has to know it’s ridiculously easy to make with just one bowl and no mixer! (Gluten-free adaptation included!)
You might not recognize it, but this Ridiculously Easy Almond Coconut Cake is a kissin’ cousin to a Café reader favorite, our French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake (aka Granny Cake). Everyone falls in love with that cake with the first bite and I know this will be the same sweet story!
I said you might not recognize it as I did adapt the recipe quite a bit. This time we’re using buttermilk in place of the yogurt, subbing some almond flour for part of the all-purpose flour, exchanging lemon zest for vanilla and a splash of almond extract and adding a little butter to replace part of the oil. Oh, and a nice generous scoop of sweetened coconut. The deliciousness and ridiculously easy parts remain the same!
With just one bowl and a whisk needed to mix up this Almond Coconut Cake, it definitely fits into our Ridiculously Easy category of recipes. If you’re new to The Café, you can read more about our Ridiculously Easy recipes in this post. They’re a huge favorite of mine as well as beloved by many of our readers because they make all of us look like kitchen rock stars with minimal effort of our part. (Of course, we don’t share all that with just anybody.)
The glaze… oh my!
While the cake is baking you’ll need just a few minutes to stir up the glaze. It’s simply powdered sugar, apple (or orange) juice, vanilla and a few drops of almond extract. Stir it up and brush it on the cake while it’s still warm. Some of the glaze seeps into the top layer of the cake and the rest hardens to form a thin, crisp, shiny, almost candy-like glaze as the cake cools. Take a look at this picture below to see just what I mean…
This Almond Coconut Cake is fabulous on its own, but to give it a really pretty gourmet presentation without a lot of fussing, I love to give it a shower of powdered sugar. I use a small fine-mesh sieve and it takes less than a minute to add this beautiful touch.
Another way to serve this cake is to pair it with our Ridiculously Easy Raspberry Coulis. Either drizzle this beautiful jewel-toned sauce right over the top or serve a slice of cake on a pool of the delicious coulis.
Add a few fresh raspberries and a mint sprig on top and you’ve got a gorgeous dessert worth of a fine French bakeshop!
And if you’re running out of time, this cake is also delicious without the almonds on top. It makes a perfect base for fresh strawberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or a combination of berries. Delish!
A match made in heaven
Almonds and coconut are a delicious combination and this Easy Almond Coconut Cake is a perfect showcase for this claim. The almond flour gives the cake a fabulous gourmet flavor and in combination with shredded coconut, a super moist texture. I’ve served this cake lots of times over the past few weeks and it always gets rave reviews. Try it! You’ll see exactly what I mean!
One last thing… It seems that more and more people are finding that they feel better eating gluten-free. In the past two months, we’ve had several visitors who prefer a gluten-free diet for health reasons. To accommodate them, I’ve been doing a little gluten-free baking and have gotten advice from several Café readers who have more expertise in this area.
I made a gluten-free version of this Ridiculously Easy Almond Coconut Cake with very good success. The gluten-free rendition looks like the original and the taste is wonderful. I’m including the modifications below in the recipe.
Cafe Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Almond Coconut Cake
- This Almond Coconut Cake recipe calls for almond flour. Almond flour is blanched almonds that have been finely ground. Don’t confuse almond flour with almond meal. Almond meal is ground unblanched almonds. Almond meal is much coarser than almond flour and will create a different textured cake.
- Almond flour can be expensive at most grocery stores. I find that it’s much more reasonably priced at big box stores like Sam’s or Costco and also online.
- Almond flour will keep for up to one year, unopened. Once it’s open, it’s best stored in a cool, dark place in a well-sealed container. If you don’t use almond flour frequently you can refrigerate or freeze it for longer storage.
- This recipe calls for ¼ cup of apple juice for the glaze. Don’t go out and buy apple juice just for this recipe. You can also use orange juice or even water in a pinch if you don’t have apple juice.
- Any type of neutral-flavored oil works well in this recipe. I have made it with sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and avocado oil. They all work well.
- When purchasing sliced almonds, check the little window on the bag to see what condition the nuts are in. Some sliced almonds look like they’ve been through a war. The more intact your almonds are, the prettier your cake will be. But if you only have crushed almonds (that perhaps have been through a war) the cake will still be delicious.
- The best way to check if a cake is done is with an instant thermometer. Instant thermometers are reasonably priced and are invaluable to determine whether cakes, cupcakes, meats, etc. are done.
- No buttermilk? No problem! There are actually several solutions to this problem:
- Make your own buttermilk. Just add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup. Fill the cup to the on half cup level and stir. Wait 5 minutes, stir again and you’re good to go! The milk should thicken just a bit and work perfectly in lieu of buttermilk.
- Substitute the same amount of Greek yogurt for the buttermilk.
- Substitute an equal amount of sour cream for the buttermilk.
- Be sure to let the cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting and brushing with the glaze. This short cooling time gives the cake time to “set” a bit so it won’t collapse or fall apart when removed from the pan.
- The bottom of this Almond Coconut Cake becomes the top when the cake is finished and served. This gives the top and sides a beautiful golden crust.
- Brush the glaze on slowly and use it all. Some of it will drip off, but most will be absorbed by the cake and will form the delicious candy-like glaze.
- This recipe calls for a 2-inch deep, 8-inch pan. Not all 8-inch pans are that deep. If you don’t have an 8-inch pan that’s at least 2-inches deep, use a 9-inch pan so that the cake doesn’t overflow the pan.
- I love this 8-inch baking pan. It has a nice, textured non-stick finish, is super sturdy and comes through the dishwasher beautifully!
- This cake freezes well although the glaze won’t be crisp when it’s thawed. I freeze the cake uncovered for an hour until it’s mostly frozen then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Freezing it uncovered keeps the cake from getting smooshed when you’re wrapping it.
Thought for the day:
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup almond flour not almond meal
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil sunflower, safflower, grape seed, avocado, vegetable or canola oil
- ¾ cup sweetened coconut
- ¼ cup apple juice or orange juice
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray, rub the inside surface of the pan with a paper towel to cover evenly with the spray. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.
Place almonds in a small baking pan. Spread to a single layer. Bake for 8-12 minutes or just until they're beginning to turn pale golden, stirring every 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool (these will be used at the end to top the cake).
Place the butter in a medium-large microwave-safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high power for 45-60 seconds, just until melted. Add the buttermilk and sugar and whisk until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk again until the mixture is smooth.
Sprinkle the baking powder and salt over the top of the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth and lump-free.
Add the all-purpose flour and almond flour, mixing just until all of the flours are incorporated.
Add the oil and stir well. Don’t worry, at first it will seem to separate, but keep stirring till smooth. Stir in the coconut and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. To make sure the cake is done you can check it with an instant-read thermometer. The temp when done is 203-210˚F. Don’t overbake.
Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan onto the rack. The bottom of the cake will become the top so leave the flat side up.
While the cake is baking make the glaze by combining the apple juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
While the cake is still warm, using a pastry brush, gently pat the glaze all over the sides and top of the cake. Just keep going over the cake till the glaze is gone, starting on the sides and finishing on the top. Some of it will drip off, but most of it will soak in.
Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top of the cake while the glaze is wet and pat gently. Allow cake to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. ENJOY!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
To make this cake gluten-free, simply replace the all-purpose flour with Meaure-for-Measure King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour. (Other brands of cup-to-cup flour would probably also work but I tested this recipe with the King Arthur brand which is available at Whole Foods and other larger grocery stores. It's also available online.)