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Nov 25, 2012 04:01 PM

Need your best coconut cake and chocolate-mint cookie recipes

I want to make the coconuttiest cake ever for Christmas. I'm looking for something where maybe the layers and the frosting have coconut milk or cream in them, plus coconut sprinkled on. Moistness would be a real plus. I've used one in the past where you mix sour cream, sugar, and coconut to fill and frost a three-layer white cake, but it's difficult to keep it together, so I'm looking for something new.

I'm also seeking some sort of chocolate-and-mint cookie or brownie or bar. I've tried lots of recipes through the years, but I still haven't found one that really sends me. Ideas?

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  1. These Chocolate Chip and Peppermint Crunch Crackles are quite good (very chocolaty):

    1 Reply
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Those sound wonderful. I'll definitely be trying them. Thanks.

    2. My favorite coconut layer cake:

      a/k/a coconut crack cake amongst my coconut loving friends

      My favorite chocolate mint brownie recipe. I add a bit more chocolate to the brownie batter and bake them for 5 - 10 minutes less because I like my brownies on the fudgy side:

      5 Replies
      1. re: cookie monster

        That coconut cake sounds similar to what I'm imagining. I read some of the comments and was wondering - have you had trouble with this cake being dry, as some people have? Did you substitute cake flour for the AP flour? And have you added any coconut extract?
        As for the brownies, can you taste the cream cheese in the cream cheese layer once you've added the mint extract? And how much more chocolate do you add to the brownie batter?

        1. re: redthong

          I make the cake as is, with AP flour, and it hasn't come out dry at all. Purely speculation on my part, and I don't mean to impugn strangers' baking skills, but I wonder if people who weren't happy with the cake's texture either overbaked it or didn't get the folding in the beaten eggwhites part quite right - I know I've messed that up the latter in other recipes. I could see adding coconut extract to the cake batter to up the coconutty-ness.

          I would say that yes, you can taste the cream cheese in the cream cheese layer of the brownies. I don't usually recommend recipes I've never tried, but I saw this one recently on Serious Eats and it looks really good - similar, but with a mint icing layer instead of the mint cream cheese swirl:

          Oh, and the last time I made these I think I added about 1.5 oz more of chocolate to the brownie batter, so 5.5 oz instead of 4.

        2. re: cookie monster

          I agree about that coconut cake! I made it for my brother's birthday one year and after taking a bite he said, 'We're taking the rest of this home'. There was a bit of a scrabble at the end of the night to divvy up the cake! Oh, and it wasn't dry at all, redthong.

          1. re: cookie monster

            I promised to make a friend's birthday cake and he told me he wanted coconut. I chose the coconut layer cake as I had Coco Lopez and cream cheese on hand. Boy, it turned out beautifully. Not dry in the slightest and the frosting was perfect - not too sweet. My only tip would be to use parchment paper on the pan bottoms. My layers clung to the pans despite copious buttering/flouring.

            I had three people ask me for the recipe and the birthday boy was thrilled so a definite success.

          2. What about making a coconut tres leches cake?


            For something chocolate mint, have you seen andes baking chips?


            Both types are really good--the second one on the page gives it a great crunch. Add them to your favorite chocolate cookie (or regular even) or brownie recipe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Good Lord that cake sounds good! Will definitely try it. Unfortunately, I've never seen those Andes chips around here, but I'll definitely double check.

              1. re: redthong

                Please let us know if you try the coconut cake soon! I added that recipe to my Pepperplate account a few months ago, intending to make it for my husband, who adores a moist coconut cake. It calls to me almost weekly - need to go ahead and try it myself!

            2. I've posted about this coconut cake numerous times. I have been baking coconut cakes for nearly 30 years for my husband's birthday, and when I made this cake about 5 years ago, he told me that this was it. This was the one he wanted me to make every time I made a coconut cake.
              Coconut Cake Layers
              From Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri

              1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry measure cup and level)
              1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
              ¼ teaspoon salt
              12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
              1 1/3 cup sugar
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
              2 eggs at room temperature
              2 egg yolks
              ½ cup Thai coconut milk
              1 cup (about ½ a 7 ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped

              2 8” cake pans, buttered, floured, and with parchment on the bottom (the Wilton release works well here – that was all I used)

              1. Set rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.
              2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
              3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until soft and light. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs an yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
              4. Reduce the speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture, and then half of the coconut milk. Scrape down the bowl and repeat with another third of the flour, the rest of the coconut milk, and the final third of the flour. Scrape down the bowl and beater again.
              5. Use a rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing, and then mix in the chopped coconut. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
              6. Bake the layers for 30-35 minutes until they are well-risen and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold onto racks to finish cooling.

              And I use the coconut version of this recipe:

              Flour Frosting

              1/4 cup flour
              1 cup sugar
              1 cup milk (or coconut milk for coconut cake)
              1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
              1 tsp vanilla
              pinch of salt

              1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)

              2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

              3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

              19 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                Thanks, Roxlet. Do you sprinkle coconut on the cake after frosting?

                1. re: redthong

                  Yes, I do. This is a double recipe of the cake baked in 3 9" pans, and a double recipe of the flour frosting.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Hey Roxlet,
                    When you double the recipe and bake three 9" layers, how long do you bake them?
                    Thank you.

                    1. re: soccermom13

                      I set my timer for the amount of time that the recipe calls for (for 8" pans), and then I check them and add more time until they're done.

                2. re: roxlet

                  Yes!!This is the most perfect coconut cake. Moist and deeply flavorful. And easy.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Have you tried using unsweetened coconut rather than sweetened in the cake batter?

                    1. re: TerriL

                      No, I never have done that. The large coconut curls on the cake are unsweetened, however.

                      1. re: TerriL

                        I did that once, actually by mistake. I liked it a lot, but I almost always find cakes too sweet Also used coconut oil for butter in the forsting.

                        1. re: magiesmom

                          Thanks, I'll try it unsweetened as well. 1 1/3 cups sugar seems fine.

                      2. re: roxlet

                        Roxlet, I have decided to make your coconut cake (as well as a fig cake from Dorie) for Christmas dinner dessert.

                        1. re: CocoaChanel

                          It's always a hit. When you serve it, I would suggest using a serrated knife to slice the cake since the coconut in the cake batter can catch on a regular knife and cause the cake to shred.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            Tip we use, we chill the ball of kitchen string. Cuts like butter thru coconut and nut covered iced cakes.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Really? Never heard of that one! Cold string. Who'da thunk it?

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Even better, if you keep cheese wire handy!

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I usually have cheese wire handy, but I doubt I'd remember to chill the twine!

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        ROFL...well okay then! Open the frig :) We keep the twine, wire and pie slicer in the wine cooler....what can I say!

                          2. It's not a brownie but this is a faux girl scout thin mint cookie. I call it a hack, but it's amazing and delicious.

                            Ritz Crackers
                            Peppermint Extract
                            Dipping chocolate (I use Candiquik)

                            I used 19 crackers, 3 cubes of dipping chocolate and 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. I melted the chocolate and then added the extract. Dip the crackers into the chocolate and lay onto a sheet of parchment/foil to cool.

                            They really do taste like the real thing even though they aren't chocolate cookies!

                            Like I said, it's a hack but an oh so delicious one ...