Moist and creamy vegan coconut cake with a coconutty sweet potato frosting which reminds of Raffaello! The recipe is dairy-free, eggless, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free, and furthermore easy to make. This healthier dessert is the perfect cake for all coconut lovers out there and also a great birthday cake.
Coconut Cream Birthday Cake
Today is not only Mother’s Day but it’s also my mom’s birthday and therefore I baked a cake! Since my mom doesn’t like chocolate (yes, I know… I don’t understand it either, haha) I made a vegan coconut cake because she loves coconut as much as I do. Unfortunately, my mom doesn’t live close (actually over 7500 km away), so this cake is rather symbolic. I know she will still appreciate this little gesture, and I am sure she knows how much I love her!
Gluten Free Coconut Cake
This coconut cream cake is, of course, plant-based, and also gluten-free. I used a combination of rice flour and oat flour, however, I am pretty sure that you could also use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. And if you aren’t gluten-free, you can try using all-purpose flour or spelt flour. Please note, that I haven’t made this cake with any other flour combination, so I cannot guarantee that the result will be the same!
If you follow me on Instagram or already subscribed to my blog newsletter, you will know that I share vegan recipes which are, most of the time, pretty healthy! I try to avoid refined sugar, gluten, and oil (or vegan butter) because I just don’t feel good when I consume any of these ingredients.
This vegan cake doesn’t contain refined sugar, oil, eggs, or butter which makes it so much healthier than most other (coconut) cakes. It’s also soy-free, and nut-free, and I am sure you will be surprised if I tell you that this cake contains veggies!
Sweet Potato Frosting
Yes, that’s right, this vegan coconut cream cake contains sweet potatoes! I used Japanese sweet potatoes that have white flesh. Here they are called “batata” and they are totally different from orange sweet potatoes. What is the difference between white (Japanese) and orange sweet potatoes? Well, Japanese sweet potatoes are much drier (they contain more starch) and they are a little bit sweeter than orange ones. They are simply perfect to use in desserts!
I know that Japanese sweet potatoes aren’t available everywhere but if you happen to have them in your local supermarket, then definitely buy them! They are really amazing, and I am sure you will love them as much as I do.
Some people commented that they used orange sweet potatoes for the frosting, which worked fine. Of course, the color of the frosting will be different.
I cannot tell you how much I love the frosting which I made with the Japanese sweet potatoes. It totally reminds me of Raffaello, the almond/coconut candy which was my absolute favorite (besides Bounty) before I went vegan! The cream tastes almost the same, I am not kidding!
How To Make Vegan Coconut Cake?
- First, peel, chop and boil the Japanese sweet potatoes until fork tender. For this recipe, you will need 340 grams of cooked sweet potato (about 1 medium Japanese sweet potato or two small ones).
- Meanwhile, add all dry ingredients into a bowl. Process the wet ingredients in a blender and pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk until combined. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan (I recommend using two) and bake it in the oven.
- While the cake is in the oven, you can prepare the frosting. It’s super easy, as you need to simply process all frosting ingredients in your blender until smooth and creamy.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, frost it and decorate it with coconut flakes.
How To Store
Store the cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze the cake slices for up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature.
- Use two cake pans for shorter baking time and to avoid cutting the cake into two layers.
- Add coconut rum or coconut extract for a delicious coconutty taste.
- If you don’t want to use sweet potatoes for the frosting, you can also check out my No-Bake Carrot Cake recipe. It has a deliciously creamy frosting made out of pudding (custard) and soaked cashews!
- The recipe calls for coconut butter. It can be store-bought or homemade. If you want to make it yourself, you will need to process about 3 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut in a food processor until it turns into coconut butter and has a creamy texture (which takes about 20-30 minutes, therefore I would recommend using store-bought coconut butter.
Should you give this vegan coconut cake recipe a try, please leave a comment below, and don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with @elavegan and #elavegan because I would love to see how it turned out! And for more easy vegan cake recipes, definitely check out the following recipes:
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- No-Bake Carrot Cake
- Baked Cheesecake
- Red Velvet Cake
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Vegan Coconut Cake
- 2 cups (180 g) oats (gluten-free if needed) ground into flour
- 3/4 cup (120 g) white rice flour (see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups (130 g) shredded unsweetened coconut ground into flour (see notes)
- 1 cup (150 g) coconut sugar (or use 150 g of regular sugar)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup (160 g) apple sauce or 160 g peeled zucchini
- 1 1/3 cup ml) (320 ml) coconut milk canned
- 4 tbsp (80 g) maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1 tbsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 340 g (1 medium or 2 small) (340 g) Japanese sweet potato (see notes)
- 2/3 cup (160 g) coconut butter (see notes)
- 1/3 cup (105 g) maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk canned
- 4 tbsp (40 ml) coconut rum or use more coconut milk (see notes)
- I recommend measuring the ingredients in grams on a kitchen scale.
- Peel the Japanese sweet potato and chop into 1-inch cubes. Boil in water until fork tender. For this recipe, you will need 340 grams of cooked sweet potato (about 1 medium Japanese sweet potato or two small ones).
- Meanwhile, process the oats and shredded unsweetened coconut in an electric spice/coffee grinder or blender. Then add all dry ingredients into a bowl.
- Preheat oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Grease two 8-inch (20 cm) or 7-inch (18 cm) cake pans (or springforms) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Process the wet ingredients in a blender and pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk until combined.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. It can still be a little bit crumbly but shouldn't be wet! If you use just one cake pan the baking time will be much longer (about 50-55 minutes) but I definitely recommend 2 cake pans.
- While the cake is in the oven, you can prepare the frosting. Simply process all frosting ingredients in your blender until completely smooth and creamy.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, frost it and decorate with coconut flakes. Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours before serving. Enjoy!
- Please use shredded unsweetened coconut, also known as desiccated coconut. Do NOT use coconut flour, as it's completely different and dries out the batter! You could use 130 grams of ground almonds (or other ground nuts of choice) though.
- Rice flour: Some people reported that they used regular flour instead of rice flour with good results.
- Frosting: I used Japanese sweet potatoes for this recipe. Japanese sweet potatoes have white flesh and are much drier than orange sweet potatoes. They are furthermore sweeter and perfect for desserts. If you don't have access to Japanese sweet potatoes I would recommend making the frosting of my No-Bake Carrot Cake but make sure to increase the amount of ingredients by about 50%.
- Some people commented that they used orange sweet potatoes for the frosting, which worked fine (I haven't tried it). Of course, the color of the frosting will be different.
- The recipe calls for coconut butter, not coconut oil. The coconut butter can be store-bought or homemade. If you want to make it yourself, you will need to process about 3 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut in a food processor until it turns into coconut butter and has a creamy texture (which takes about 20-30 minutes, therefore I would recommend store-bought coconut butter.
- If you don't want to use coconut rum, then use more coconut milk. You could also add a little coconut extract for an enhanced coconutty flavor.
- You can also check out my Vegan Coconut Cups Recipe.
- Nutrition facts are for one slice (of 12).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo:
hi Ela, thank you for this amazing recipe. I’m having trouble finding coconut butter where I live, and the right kind of shredded coconut, it’s mostly flour and it’s dry. I want to make this for my sister’s birthday (tomorrow), and I’d try making the frosting from the carrot cake you suggest. My question is would the amount from the carrot recipe suffice for this cake? If you have any other advice, I’d appreciate it! Thank you
Hi Eni, the carrot cake recipe will yield about 540 grams of frosting and the frosting from the coconut cake about 765 grams, therefore, I would recommend either doing just one layer on top OR increasing the frosting of the carrot cake by 50%.
I needed to make a healthy but beautiful cake for a Christmas party tonight. My friend loves dessert but recently hadca heart attack. I wanted her to enjoy a little without worrying.
*For a whiter frosting, DO peel the potatoes first-and don’t roast. They get too dark both ways. Also, use light agace for whiter frosting. I did at the end mrltba cup of dark chocolate and stir it into the frosting. It tasted too potatoey to me. But I love your site!
Oh, I had typos–sorry! I meant I melted and stirred in the chocolate at the end into the frosting. It seemed too potatoey to me before, flavor and texture, but perfect after.
Thanks for your feedback, Judy. 🙂
I have made your chocolate zucchini cake many times and I love it! I was nervous about the sweet potato icing at 1st but it turned out amasing! I am wondering if I could make this recipe with almond flour instead of oats?🤔 Im trying to make something similar to another recipe that tastes like a macaroon cake but it has 6 eggs in it….and I need to make a vegan cake.
Hi Diana, I am glad you like it. Almond flour probably won’t work in this recipe. You could maybe replace 20% of oat flour with almond flour, but not all of it. 🙂
Im making this cake to sell for a Birthday party and I just thought of another important question! Do u use the whole can of coconut milk or just the solid without the liquid? For the icing I would just use the solid coconut but im wondering about the cake. I dont want to add too much liquid. Thanks!
Hi Diana, yes, the whole can (shaken). 🙂
Thanks! Unfortunately it didnt take long before the shredded coconut almost turned into coconut butter in the blender. I checked it and it was ground but not the consistancy of flour so I zipped it up again and it turned into a clump pretty quick. Not creamy enough to use in the icing though. So I guess its best to grind the oats and coconut together? I would have done that but I already had freshly ground oat flour. I have so much coconut flour it would be so much easier to use that but I know it wont work for this recipe.
Hi Ela 😊 if I want to make pineapple frost can I add pinnacle to the frost and maybe some turmeric to elevate de color ?
Hi Patricia, I am really not sure if it will work, but you could try using pineapple purée instead of coconut milk.
Oh that’s true. I will blend pineapple pure and add the turmeric and omit the maple. Thanks 😊
Omit the coconut milk not the maple 😳
I hope it will turn out delicious. 🙂
Hi again Ela,
I find coconut butter too heavy. Can I use other vegan butter/margarine instead like nuttlex? Thanks.
Hi again, since this is a coconut cake, coconut butter is the best option. Vegan butter is also higher in fat, and I personally don’t like the taste. It might work, but I never tried it. 🙂
What could I use instead of oat flour or almond flour? Thanks.
Hey Shamani, you can use buckwheat flour instead of oat flour.
Can I replace applesauce with yogurt?
Hi Roxanne, I think that should be fine. 🙂
I’m obsessed with this cake! Can I sub erithrytol/monk fruit sugar replacement for the coconut sugar?
Hi Becky, yes, that is totally possible. 🙂
thanks for this exciting recipie
May I reduce the coconut sugar let say by 20-50 grams? or would that change the recipie?
What is a good measure for baking with reduced sugar?
That should be fine! 🙂
Instead of rice flour, could I add more oat flour or maybe tapioca flour?
Hi Melissa! No, I wouldn’t recommend it, as it would turn out too dense. 🙂
Interested in making this! I have a ton of oat flour, any suggestions?
Could I use oat flour instead of grinding my own oatmeal?
Of course! That’s totally fine. 🙂
Thank you so much!
Hi ela ????. Should I measure the potato when is raw or cooked ?thanks
Hi Patricia, it’s explained in step 2 in the recipe instructions. You need 340 grams of cooked sweet potato. 🙂