Chocolate Cake With Broiled Coconut Frosting

Chocolate Cake With Coconut Pecan Topping
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 9 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
545 Calories
29g Fat
66g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 545
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 498mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 182mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This decadent cake consists of a moist and fluffy chocolate sponge covered in a deliciously chewy coconut topping. An easy-to-make chocolate batter made out of pantry staples such as cocoa, butter, and eggs gets its tangy touch thanks to some buttermilk, which makes the batter airy and rich while helping it to have a better, more even rise. The cake is ready in just 40 minutes, after which you need to cool it slightly before adding the topping and broiling it for about 5 minutes. The result is a rich chocolate cake with a moist topping that you can have ready to slice in one hour. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for an extra-special dessert, or slice it in rectangular bars or smaller squares to present on your dessert table.

This homemade treat is made with unsweetened cocoa powder, which is different than cacao powder. Although both are products derived from the cacao bean, cocoa powder is the result of unfermented cacao beans being processed at a low temperature and then ground into a powder that is rich in taste though very bitter. Cacao powder, on the other hand, is the product of beans being roasted at high temperatures, resulting in a powder that is less bitter, but also much less nutritional than dark cocoa powder. Most cocoa powders have added ingredients and are usually sold in a ready-to-eat form. Just add milk or water and you can have a cup of hot chocolate in just minutes. Cacao, on the other hand, is less processed, and it's usually unsweetened. Most bakes, like ours, use cocoa powder, as it blends easily into batters and adds a tasty chocolate flavor. If you are using sweetened cocoa, reduce the amount of granulated sugar you add to the batter.

Finally, use evaporated milk, which is a form of unsweetened condensed milk. Although they're similar in color and texture, evaporated milk has no sugar, while condensed milk does. Because you're using sweetened coconut flakes, you don't need the extra sugar of the condensed milk. If you, however, are using unsweetened coconut flakes, using condensed milk instead is not a bad idea. For the topping, which should be sweet and chewy, we recommend pecans, but other nuts work well, too—cashews and almonds especially.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup canola oil, or safflower oil

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, or sour milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, or half-and-half

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake Batter

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-inch-square baking pan or spray with a flour and oil baking spray.

  3. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.

  4. Add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla, along with the beaten egg into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk or slowly beat until well blended.

  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow it to cool down slightly before topping it with the coconut mixture.

Make the Topping and Broil the Cake

  1. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well blended.

  2. Spread the topping over the cooked warm cake and broil it for about 4 inches from heat for 3 minutes, or until topping is browned and bubbly.

  3. Serve and enjoy!

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat-resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.