If you know anything about Passover desserts, you know that they can be a challenge and we often have to compromise to uphold the rules of being Kosher For Passover. So imagine my delight when I came across an amazing (and beautiful) dessert last year from Bon Appétit that yielded a flourless chocolate cake so decadent and so rich and so perfect; in other words, absolutely zero compromise. This Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Cake was a very welcome addition to my Passover dessert repertoire. It is both gluten- and dairy-free, so it’s not only great for this holiday, but also for people with those dietary restrictions all year long. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this dessert for non-Passover occasions– it is that good. In my opinion, the best Passover desserts are the ones that don’t require bending over backwards to buy special Kosher-For-Passover ingredients– I’d rather not buy a container of cake meal or potato starch for a few tablespoons’ worth and toss the rest of the package. Also, CHOCOLATE. Furthermore, COCONUT. I hope you’re on board with me here.
I felt like I got kinda lucky with this cake, because Bon Appétit‘s description of the batter was not accurate from my experience– for example, we are instructed to scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top, but there was very little scraping, and there was definitely no smoothing. The batter was quite thin and liquid, so I had no idea what was going to come out of the oven. I was positively delighted that 45 minutes later there was an actual cake exiting the oven, and not a puddle of chocolate goo! (Which might be delicious in its own right, but wasn’t what I was looking for on this particular occasion…) And mind you, the exterior looks fairly light-colored and not especially chocolaty, but when you cut it open, you’ll be delighted to find a rich, fudgy cake that will make you want to dive in face-first.
A handful of notes for success:
- When I tested the cake after 45 minutes, the toothpick was still chocolaty, but I didn’t want to overbake it and the top was quite firm, so I pulled it out. It could have gone another 3 minutes or so to fully cook the top-middle, but this was very negligible. The original baking time is 35-45 minutes, but this wasn’t enough time in my oven.
- Flipping the cake seemed like a risky endeavor because the cake appeared somewhat fragile. I thought it might collapse when I inverted it, or at least sink in the middle (and the recipe said it might), especially since I was in a hurry and didn’t let it cool as much as recommended. BUT! It came out of the pan easily after running a knife around the edge, and the cake was *perfectly* level– I was shocked! It’s not as fragile as you might think.
- I chose not to whip the frosting, partly out of being in a rush, partly because I thought a shiny poured ganache would be more elegant. I’m SO glad I did this– it was gorgeous and retained its shine. If you prefer a whipped ganache, follow the link for the original recipe for instructions.
- If I didn’t need the cake to be dairy-free, I’d probably substitute regular cream and corn syrup for the coconut milk and maple syrup in the glaze, since those ingredients are more readily available in my fridge, but the dairy-free version is remarkably good.
- I doubled the quantity of the almond-coconut topping so I could make a ring all the way around the cake edge. Again, I’m glad I did, as it would have looked a little plain without that.
- This could probably be made into a sick two-layer cake if you double the cake batter and ganache– in this case, I would use regular cream in the ganache because it would be thicker and more sturdy for a cake filling as well as the frosting.
- It’s best to use a deep cake pan here because the cake puffs a bit while baking– I used a 3″ deep 9″ round pan, and you could also use a springform pan. The original recipe calls for a 10″ pan, which I think would yield a really flat cake.
I could not have been happier with this cake, whether or not it’s for Passover– it is beautiful, elegant, rich, and decadent. As I said above, there is zero compromise; it’s really hard to believe there’s no flour or dairy in here. I hope you enjoy the holiday!
Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Cake
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Yields 8-10 servings
For the cake:
- 1 cup (200g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
- ¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pan (I use Valrhona)
- 1 cup (140g) skin-on almonds, toasted
- 8 ounces (225g) good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or wafers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (55g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (107g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
- ¼ cup (15g) unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup or light agave nectar (or light corn syrup)
For the ganache:
- 4 ounces (115g) semisweet chocolate, chopped or wafers
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or light agave nectar (or light corn syrup)
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, well-shaken
Make the cake:
Preheat an oven to 325°F and position a rack in the center. Grease a 3″ deep 9″ round cake pan with coconut oil. (If you prefer a 10″ round pan, you can use that instead.) Place a parchment circle in the bottom and grease the parchment. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.
Place the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan filled ⅓ with barely-simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from atop the pot and let the chocolate cool.
Meanwhile, pulse the almonds, salt, and cocoa powder in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. Add the shredded coconut and pulse again a few times to combine everything evenly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed until they are no longer streaky, approximately 20 seconds. Add the granulated and brown sugars and the vanilla; bump up the speed to high and whip until the mixture is pale, thick, and begins to hold the lines of the whisk, about 2 minutes (it should fall off the whisk and immediately sink back into itself).
Switch to the paddle attachment on low speed and slowly stream in the chocolate/oil mixture. Beat just until it’s incorporated, then remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the almond/cocoa mixture with a rubber spatula. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then pour the batter into the prepared pan; it will be thin.
Bake the cake until the top is firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean but greasy, 35-50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and let the cake cool for 15–20 minutes in the pan (it may sink a little in the center, which is okay, although this did not happen for me). Run a small sharp knife or offset spatula around the edge of the cake and carefully invert it onto the rack; peel away the parchment paper and let it cool completely undisturbed (you can serve the prettiest side, top or bottom, as the top of the finished cake).
The cake can be baked the day before you plan to serve it. Store it tightly covered at room temperature.
Make the topping & ganache:
Preheat an oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Toss the coconut flakes, almonds, sugar, and maple syrup in a medium mixing bowl and spread it in an even layer on the prepared pan. Toast until golden, about 4-6 minutes. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack and let the almond-coconut mixture cool, then break it into small clusters with your hands.
Combine the chopped chocolate, maple syrup, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over low heat, then pour it over the chocolate mixture. Let it sit until the chocolate is melty, about 3 minutes, then whisk from the center outward until the ganache is smooth. Let the ganache cool and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
Assemble the cake:
Pour the ganache on the center of the cake and spread it to the edges with a small offset spatula or knife, letting it drip over the sides just slightly. Sprinkle the almond-coconut clusters around the edge of the cake, or as desired.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2018.