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Celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, or just fall itself with my Coconut Vegetable Curry.

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Cocoa-Coconut Flip Cake

You'll flip over this super easy, healthy cake that frosts itself. The video below shows that it's a perfect, fast comfort-food dessert for after school or a weeknight supper. My beloved mother-in-law taught me the basics. She used nutritious cocoa powder and no eggs or weird chemicals to make this cake. I added a Cook for Good twist by using white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour and coconut spread instead of butter. It's one of my Taster's favorites.

vegan and whole-grain Cocoa-Coconut Flip Cake

See the magic of how it makes its own frosting on this My Carolina Today video. Don't you love how host Valonda Calloway flips for it? It's one of the 60 great recipes in my book Fifty Weeks of Green.

Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes. Yield: 8 servings. Dairy-free and vegan.

IngredientsOne of 60 recipes in 50 Weeks of Green

  • 1 cup white whole whole wheat or all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (10 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk beverage (homemade or So Delicous unsweetened organic coconut milk beverage)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut spread (28 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 3/4 cup hot water (177 grams)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (163 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa (5 grams)


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. To make batter, heat coconut milk and coconut spread in a microwave-safe container such as a Pyrex measuring cup until spread melts, about one minute on high in the microwave. (Heat liquid in a small pan on the stove if you prefer.) Stir vanilla into liquid and pour onto flour mixture. Stir until smooth, using a spatula to include any dry parts on the bottom of the bowl. More stirring is not better, though: you don't want to make the cake tough. Pour batter into the pan.
  3. To make sauce, heat water in a microwave on high until hot to the touch, about one minute. (Yes, use that same Pyrex measuring cup.) Put hot water, brown sugar, and remaining cocoa into the batter bowl. Swish to combine and pick up remaining batter. Gently pour hot liquid into the pan over cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is medium brown and chocolate sauce bubbles around the edges.
  4. Put the cake pan on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve by cutting into pieces, flipping onto each serving plate, and topping with any chocolate sauce left in the pan. Keep any extra covered at room temperature for about three days. To serve, cut, flip, top, and then microwave until topping goes molten again, about 30 seconds on high per serving.


  • Adding more cocoa makes this cake bitter, not better.
  • This recipe mixes Depression-era thrifty and simplicity with modern ingredients and diets.
  • Cocoa may be good for you, according to the National Institutes of Health, especially the minimally processed type. A meta-study from Harvard found that cocoa may lower many cardiovascular risk factors, including cholesterol and blood pressure. A piece of this warm, gooey cocoa cake certainly elevates my mood and makes my Taster happy!

Reader Comments (10)

Tried this tonight! I liked the fudginess and molten chocolate! Hubby likes more of a dry cake, so not one for him. Any ideas on what to do with the left over coconut milk?

Nov 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterlamarisf79

Yaaay, Lamarisf79! For now, freeze the coconut milk. Next week, the recipe will show you how to turn it into a healthy caramel sauce, excellent with cooked apples. Or if you can't wait, make another cake ;-)

Nov 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

This turned out pretty well, in spite two problems I had. For some reason the coconut milk didn't get very hard in the fridge. But the worst thing was when after following the directions to the letter, I realized when it was in the pan the steps hadn't said to add the salt & baking powder. I added last, but probably over mixed as a result. You might want to include salt & baking powder in step 2.

Dec 12, 2012 | Registered Commenteroctobergirl65

Octobergirl65, thanks so much for sharing and sorry I didn't list all the dry ingredients there as I should have! I've added the salt and baking powder to step 2 as you so rightly said.

I also dropped the recommendation for 365-brand coconut milk. Is that what you used? If not, do you remember what you did use? Turns out the 365 brand just doesn't harden like the Thai Kitchen brand does. The 365 brand has somewhat less coconut fat than the Thai Kitchen and may have other differences not detectable by scrutinizing the labels. On the other hand, 365 is organic.

Dec 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Thank you, Linda. I did use 365 coconut milk. I will try again.

Dec 14, 2012 | Registered Commenteroctobergirl65

The ingredient list says baking powder, while step 2 says baking soda. Which to use here? Thanks!

Dec 31, 2012 | Registered Commentershaunaf

Great spot, Shaunaf! It's baking powder. I've fixed the recipe. Thanks!

Jan 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

One more question - I used full-fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk, organic, and it never separated into fat and "water" (even now - 3 days in the fridge later). I just winged it then, using a mix of the stuff in the can and regular water, and the cake was fine. I notice that the label says it contains guar gum. Did I get a version that is pre-emulsified and will not separate? Thanks!

Jan 5, 2013 | Registered Commentershaunaf

Hi again,

I've been making this and love it. But we are considering going gluten and casein free. Do you know if this can be made with gluten free all purpose flour?


Mar 16, 2014 | Registered Commenterlamarisf79

Welcome back, Lamarisf79!I haven't tried it with gluten-free all all purpose flour, but think it would turn out fine. I've used King Arthur's gluten-free all-purpose flour with great success in many of my cake recipes. I'd also like to try their gluten-free multi-purpose flour, which looks a little more nutritious. This cake recipe is naturally casein free because it doesn't have any dairy products. The KAF website recommends using xanthum gum, too, but I never have. What do you think about xanthum gum?

Mar 17, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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