As far as food trends go, coconut oil has been in the news for only a little while now. It has been touted as a miracle worker – good for your skin, hair and health too. I find it slightly amusing because where my family comes from, coconut oil is a commonplace ingredient. It is used not only in cooking but also as a natural moisturiser. As kids, we were forced to slather ourselves in the oil from head to toe, including our hair, before every shower.
I am happy that with the newfound glory of coconut oil, I can find it in any ordinary supermarket. If you have ever wondered what to use this very nutty flavoured oil for, then make this chocolate cake and you’ll be hooked. Did I already mention that it is also great for your skin and hair?
I came across a recipe for a ‘Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake’ in a ‘Bon Appétit’ magazine, one of many in my growing stack of food magazines. What caught my attention was the fact that apart from using the usual suspects, coconut flakes and cocoa powder, this recipe also includes the use of coconut oil. It’s been a really long time since I had anything with coconut oil in it, so off I went to the kitchen to try this out.
I used shredded coconut instead of the coconut flakes suggested in the recipe simply because I had a big jar of it in the cupboard. I also added a small amount of dark semi sweet chocolate to make it more decadent. Afterall, it is called a ‘chocolate’ cake, right?
This cake also uses buttermilk as an ingredient. Together with the coconut oil it lends a luscious texture that works perfectly with the chocolate flavour. I served it as dessert the day it was made along with a scoop of black cherry gelato and it went down very well. According to the magazine, you can also bake this upto 5 days ahead and store it tightly wrapped.
Chocolate Coconut Cake (original recipe from the March 2014 issue of Bon Appétit magazine)
1/4 cup butter plus extra for greasing the loaf pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose/plain flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups plus an extra 1 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g/5oz semi sweet dark chocolate melted (optional)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325F/165C. Grease and line a standard sized loaf tin. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and set aside. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat together the butter, oil and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between additions. Beat the mixture until it is light and doubled in volume. Add the vanilla extract followed by the melted chocolate if using. On a low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions. This way, you start and end by adding the dry ingredients. Bring it all together taking care not to overmix. Transfer batter to the loaf tin. Sprinkle with coconut flakes or shredded coconut and the 1 tbsp sugar.
Place tin in the oven and bake for about 70-80 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Keep an eye on the coconut sprinked on top. Once it is toasted and dark brown in colour, cover the tin loosely with foil to prevent it from turning too dark.
Once done, remove the tin from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes on a wire rack before turning the cake out.
The crunchy coconut topping adds another texture to the otherwise soft crumbly cake. Enjoy this with icecream for dessert as suggested before or just on its own with a good cup of tea or coffee. And let me know if you love coconut oil already or not.