For the past two weeks it's been all pumpkin, all the time at my house. I had a stash of those giant warehouse-sized cans of pumpkin in my pantry and I've flown through them in record time. In other words, there's a lot of pumpkin goodness coming your way in the next month, so stay tuned :)
As much as I love the flavors of fall, after all that pumpkin baking, I needed a little break. And no surprise, I was craving something chocolatey! My first thought was a big pan of chewy, fudgy brownies (because, truthfully, when am I not in the mood for brownies?) but in the end I decided to go in a different direction and try this Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cake. I've had it bookmarked forever, and I just adore the combination of coconut and chocolate so I had a feeling this one would be a winner.
This is a no-fuss, simple one layer cake - perfect for those times when you want cake but don't want to mess with lots of layers, fillings, and frostings. It has so much going on you won't miss any of those things, promise! The coconut flavor in the cake comes not only from the shredded coconut mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top, but also from the use of coconut milk in the cake itself. Oh, and there's also the coconut glaze drizzled over the finished cake as well. It's pretty much a coconut lover's dream! Chocolate chunks are distributed throughout the cake and on top so it's not lacking in that department either. The combination is very reminiscent of Mounds Bars, so good!
I was in a hurry to finish the cake and get it photographed, so I cut into it while it was still a tad warm. The resulting slices were a bit crumbly, but no less delicious. I almost spoiled my lunch taking one bite after another as I shot the cake, all in the name of taste-testing for the blog of course :)
Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cake with Coconut Drizzle
adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2010 (via Epicurious)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (light is fine)
6.5 oz chocolate chunks, divided
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons canned unsweetened coconut milk (light is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (a regular 9-inch cake pan should be fine if you don't have a springform - just make sure the sides are at least 2" high).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1 cup of the coconut and toss to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla and coconut extracts. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions, and the coconut milk in two, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in 3.5 oz of the chocolate chunks.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and spread in an even layer. Distribute the remaining chocolate chunks evenly over the surface of the batter, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You might need to tent the pan with aluminum foil to keep the coconut on top of the cake from burning - I tented my cake at about 35-40 minutes.
Remove the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. If you used a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan (or if you used a traditional cake pan, turn the cake out of the pan then flip it back over so the coconut is on top).
To make the drizzle: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Drizzle over the surface of the cooled cake. (I didn't use all of the glaze, but it's up to you how much you want to use.) Allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before slicing and serving the cake.