This almond coconut cake is a riff on one my cousin Judy makes. Her version is a plain 8-inch round cake with almond flour, dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Without leavening or topping, it is really a cross between almond cake and shortbread. Watching her, I was inspired to try baking with commercially milled almond flour, which is finer than any almond flour I had been able to process on my own. But I wanted to make a lighter and sweeter cake.
Although my finished cake does not resemble Judy’s much, it reminds me of her. there is nothing I enjoy more than baking and chatting with someone I love – except eating the results with them afterwards.
This cake is quick to make because the topping is cooked with the batter, like a pineapple-upside-down cake. The topping goes in first, then the batter and after the cake is done and cools for a few minutes, you flip it over and the topping is done.
I used superfine sugar in the batter. It is sold in 1-pound boxes in the baking aisle. If you can’t find it and you have a food processor, you can make regular sugar into superfine by processing it for a minute or two. Remember that you will need slightly more than ⅔ cup granulated to make the same amount of superfine; the regular granules are larger and therefore when they are ground into superfine more of them are required to fill the (volume) measuring cup.
If you don’t have almond flour, homemade works too; just grind up blanched almonds (skins removed) as finely as you can.
Almond Coconut Cake
Servings – 6-8 Cost – $4-5
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ⅔ cup superfine sugar
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup white flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup sweetened (flaked or shredded) coconut
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 small mixing bowl
- Large fork
- 8-inch round cake pan
- Small bowl (if using microwave) or small saucepan
- Small pan (for toaster or regular oven)
- Cake rack
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan.
- Melt the tablespoon of butter for the topping in a saucepan or in the microwave.
- Toast the coconut in a pan in the toaster oven at 325 degrees for 4-5 minutes or in the pre-heating oven for a few minutes, turning the coconut at least once during that time so that it toasts reasonably evenly. (Don’t be concerned if some parts start to darken to light-mid brown while other parts remain white. Once you mix it up, the coconut will have a pleasing, multi-colored look and taste toasted.)
- Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, toasted coconut and chopped almonds together in a small bowl and press them into the bottom of the pan. A fork works fine, but I used my fingers; nothing like getting personal with your cake topping.
- Cream the butter and superfine sugar, preferably with a mixer at medium speed, but if you don’t have one, with a whisk, until they are a fully merged and a light yellow, almost white color. Add the vanilla and mix or whisk for a few seconds until combined.
- Mix the almond and wheat (regular) flour, baking powder and salt, either with a fork or whisk.
- Add the dry ingredients, (flours, baking powder and salt) to the butter alternately with the eggs, about ⅓ of the dry, mix with a spatula, then an egg, mix again, etc. At the end, the batter will be light in texture and thick, almost like a smooth muffin batter.
- Put the batter on top of the topping and spread it evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake top springs back when lightly touched.
- After you take the cake out of the oven, cool it on a cake rack for about 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the outer edge and invert the cake onto a plate or platter. If a bit of the topping sticks to the pan, just pull it off with a spatula and patch it back onto the cake. At this point, the topping is still warm and works back into the cake easily.
- Cool the cake before serving.
This cake is a great one to make the evening before a brunch. It remains moist for several days, stored well covered with foil.