Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coconut Cake with Chocolate Espresso Sauce

The original recipe for this post is from Paci Restaurant in Southport, Connecticut. I love Paci's Coconut Cake so much that I wrote to Gourmet for it in July, 2000. I was pregnant, out of work, and apparently had a lot of time on my hands.  I'm pretty sure if I had called, and asked nicely, they would have shared the recipe. Bob Patchen and his wife, Donna, are two of the nicest people in the entire universe. But I was SO excited to be "published" in Gourmet magazine I can hardly tell you. I blame it on pregnancy hormones and, of course, REALLY loving their coconut cake. You should make it - their version or mine. Honestly, I love both!

 Just out of the oven - golden brown!
My own version has some minor adjustments, a little less sugar, a little more vanilla and sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened (available at most health food stores).

Coconut Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Serves 10-12

2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) (225 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs 
1 cup (8.6 ounces) whole milk
1 1/2 cups (135 grams) sweetened, flaked coconut

Grease a 10- by 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment.  Grease paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess. Or, if you are in a hurry, use a cooking spray.

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.

Add vanilla, then beat in eggs, 1 at a time. (Mixture may look curdled.)

Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk in 3 batches on low speed. Begin and end with flour mixture.
Increase speed to medium and beat batter 1 1/2 minutes, or until smooth. Fold in coconut.

Spoon batter into cake pan and spread evenly with a butter knife or small offset spatula. Bang pan once or twice on counter to remove any air bubbles that may have formed.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack 1 hour, then invert onto rack. Remove paper and reinvert onto another rack to cool completely.

Serve with Chocolate Espresso Sauce (recipe follows and is a modified Paci recipe as well).

My version, with a little puddle of Chocolate Espresso Sauce.

Chocolate Espresso Sauce

Yield: 1 1/2+ cups

6 ounces espresso
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces best quality semi-sweet chocolate 

In a small sauce pan over medium heat add espresso and sugar and cook to reduce by half.

Bring mixture to room temperature. When cool, whisk in vanilla.

In a double boiler over simmering water (I don't own a double boiler and instead use a stainless bowl that fits in a  medium size soup pot), melt semi-sweet chocolate with heavy cream. When melted, remove from heat and gently whisk in espresso mixture. 

This sauce is best used immediately or gently rewarmed prior to serving.


  1. THank you so much! I was waiting and now it is here. Yay.

  2. Aaaaaw. Thanks. It's a favorite and I hope you enjoy it!

  3. I love the combination of Coconut and Chocolate. Mmm.... this sounds divine!

  4. Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients and this cake looks fantastic Michelle!!

  5. Every once in a while a new recipe comes your way and you are instantly attracted to it. This appears to be one of them. I will make it soon (your version) and let you know how it turns out. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you, Shulie & Richard. Enjoy your day!

  7. coconut cake is one of my faves! i've never had it with espresso sauce that sounds like an incredible pairing!