Gluten-Free (dairy-free) Coconut Chiffon Cake

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Coconut Chiffon Cake












The cake fairy made me do it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. After way too many hot and steamy, over–ninety degree days, I was in the mood for something a little tropical. I took a delectable recipe for orange chiffon cake (the one in my new cookbook) and turned it into a coconut chiffon cake. A bit of tweaking here, a bit of swapping there and voila! A heavenly scented new cake was born. The coconut lovers in my life couldn’t wait to dig in. This cake is light and full of rich coconut flavor. I dressed it up with a creamy glaze that I drizzled over the top (recipe below). But you could also dust it with a little powdered sugar, or go wild with your favorite coconut frosting. The recipe uses coconut milk, so it’s naturally dairy-free, and the glaze can be made dairy-free by using Earth Balance in place of butter.

angel food cake pan








Like most chiffon cakes, it’s easy to make. I used an inexpensive angel food cake pan to bake it in. Just be sure you don’t use a non-stick pan or spray it with baking spray. Why? Because you’re going to have to turn the cake upside down while it’s still in the pan to cool (I stuck it through an empty wine bottle- of which there are always plenty in my house). You’ll find that this chiffon cake keeps well in the refrigerator when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap — which is really nice when you want to make it a day ahead of when you plan to serve it.

slice Coconut Chiffon Cake

















Gluten-Free Coconut Chiffon Cake

Makes one 10-inch cake

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour Mix
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum if guar gum is unavailable
1/2 teaspoon salt 6 large eggs, separated*, plus 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup pure unsweetened coconut milk** (not low-fat or lite)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons coconut extract
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Coconut Glaze (recipe follows) or Confectioners’ Sugar
Sweetened flaked coconut, optional to sprinkle over top of glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Have ready a clean angel food cake pan or 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. (It is best not to use a non-stick angel food pan for this cake). Do NOT grease the pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, guar gum, and salt together in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites in large bowl of electric mixer. Start mixer at medium speed and beat until whites are foamy. Gradually increase speed to high. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar dissolves and whites form stiff and glossy peaks. Do not scrape bowl while beating. Set aside.
  4. Beat egg yolks in large bowl of electric mixer until lemon colored. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to beat until pale yellow and thick. Add oil and mix until well incorporated. Add coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract and beat until just combined at medium speed about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth on medium speed about 1 minute. Mix in shredded coconut.
  5. Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it; gently fold in remaining egg whites. Pour batter into cake pan and place in center of preheated oven. Bake 45 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched (do not over-bake or the cake will be dry).
  6. Invert cake in pan on a metal funnel or narrow-necked bottle (an empty wine bottle is perfect); cool completely while it is upside down. Loosen cake with sharp knife and remove from pan onto a serving plate. Drizzle Coconut Glaze (recipe below) over the top of the cake or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Sprinkle sweetened flaked coconut over the top of the glaze, if desired.

Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Cut cake using a serrated knife with a sawing motion. Can be made a day ahead. Store cake in refrigerator. Cake can also be covered with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Best when eaten within three days of baking.

*Separate eggs when they are cold, and then let them warm to room temperature.

** Try not to use a refrigerated coconut milk developed for drinking that has a lot of additives and thickeners. Canned coconut milks sometimes contain far fewer ingredients.

Coconut Glaze

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or Earth Balance for dairy free version)
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

1. Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan and then remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk and coconut extract. Add confectioners’ sugar in two additions and whisk until very smooth. Cool to lukewarm before drizzling over cake (cool glaze until it has thickened but is still pourable).

Cooks Note: extra glaze that drips down under the rack can be scraped up, rewarmed and drizzled back over the cake to make a thicker topping.

©2015 by Annalise Roberts

cake cooling

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4 thoughts on “Gluten-Free (dairy-free) Coconut Chiffon Cake”

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Yes, it really is a great dessert for summer! And you can dress it up with fresh fruit or sorbet on the side. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

      Very best,

  1. Annalise, I’ve been a huge fan of your Gluten Free Baking Classics for several years. Question, I’m not a fan of xanthan gum or Guar gum, can arrowroot be used in your recipes instead? If so, how much compared to xanthan gum? For example, your coconut layer cake which is a favorite calls for 1 tsp, would arrowroot be equivalent?

    Another question, if I don’t want to go to the trouble of making up the flour mix, could I use Cup4Cup in the recipes as the flour in your cakes? I have successfully used for the lemon bars but not the cakes. I also noticed that Authentic Foods has created a cake flour, have you used?

    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Todd,
      Arrowroot cannot be used as a replacement for xanthan gum or guar gum. It is a starch. Read the post I wrote about psyllium husk versus xanthan gum here on the site to understand the essential nature of xanthan gum, how it works it’s magic in gluten-free baking, and why I use it in my recipes (find the link on the home page).

      I also wrote a very detailed post about Cup-4-Cup flour here on this site. It pretty much says everything I have to say about the product (even now, years later). The link is also on the home page. It will explain why I do not think you can use it as a replacement for the flour mix I use in my recipes. You can use it in recipes that Cup4-Cup provides.

      Hope those to articles give you a really good understanding of how to proceed.

      Very best,

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