Intensely rich coconut & chocolate layer cake


Every now and again you just have to say to yourself, 'I'm worth it' and then bake one of these cakes. 

Intensely rich coconut & chocolate layer cake by Lucy Parissi

 A very rich, moist and highly fragrant cake: great special occasions or a celebration.

Serves 16-20



For the cake:

215g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
300g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
50g sweetened desiccated coconut
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp vanilla paste
3 medium free-range eggs, separated
225ml buttermilk
225ml strong coffee, cooled
100ml Groovy Food Virgin Coconut Oil, melted

Simple syrup:

50g sugar
5 tbsp coconut liqueur

For the frosting:

500g ricotta cheese, strained (or full fat cream cheese)
250g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1kg icing sugar, more if needed
100g coconut milk powder, more if needed
2 tbsp vanilla paste
100g 70% dark chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare 4 x 20cm cake tins by greasing and lining each cake tin.
  2. Whisk the egg whites into a stiff meringue and set aside.
  3. Put all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix using the paddle attachment until very well combined.
  4. In a measuring jug combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, vanilla paste, coconut oil and coffee. Mix lightly with a fork.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl slowly and mix on medium speed. Increase the speed to high and mix for 2-3m until well combined.
  6. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the meringue and mix to loosen the batter. Carefully fold the rest of the meringue with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Try not to knock all the air out of the meringue, but make sure no white streaks are visible.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the four tins and bake for 20-25 minutes (in two rounds if necessary), until cakes are coming away from sides of the tin and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely.
  8. To make the syrup combine the liquor and sugar in a small pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for a few minutes until reduced. Brush the syrup over the cakes.
  9. To make the frosting, put the ricotta, vanilla paste, salt and softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed until well combined and fluffy.
  10. Cover the bowl (otherwise be prepared for an icing sugar blizzard) and slowly add the icing sugar and coconut milk powder while mixing on low speed. Increase the speed to high and mix for 4-5 minutes.
  11. The frosting needs to be thick otherwise it will not support 4 layers. If it seems too liquid adjust by adding more icing sugar or coconut milk powder. The coconut milk powder absorbs quite a lot of moisture and works well as a thickening agent (and adds incredible depth of flavour).
  12. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a bowl of simmering water, then cool. Divide the frosting into three equal large bowls and add the melted chocolate in one of the bowls. Mix thoroughly with a spoon.
  13. Take your first layer of sponge and spread with generous amount of the chocolate frosting.
  14. Top with 2nd cake layer and add some plain frosting then repeat with 3rd cake layer and more chocolate frosting.
  15. Finally, put last cake layer on top and cover entire cake with a thin (crumb coat) layer of plain frosting. Put the cake in the fridge for an hour.
  16. After frosting has cooled and hardened, spread plain frosting over entire cake with a palette knife.
  17. Top with chocolate curls, flaked coconut or some pretty bunting.