Gluten Free Coconut Cake with Sugar Free Coconut Frosting

Healthy Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting

Coconut Cakes are NOTORIOUS for being INSANELY bad for you.  I mean, I love Ina Garten and her show, Barefoot Contessa, but just look the main components of her Coconut Cake recipe:

  • ¾lb Butter (that’s three sticks…  oh, plus more for greasing the cake pans)
  • 2 cups White Sugar (that’s 32 tablespoons aka 1,536 empty calories)
  • 4oz Sweetened Shredded Coconut (yes, more sugar…)
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour (bleached, white and refined)

And that’s just for the cake.  Please, don’t get me started on the frosting!  Ina’s recipe is not nutritious in any sense of the word…  sure it might be tasty, but it is detrimental to the human body.  So I made my own!

This Healthy Coconut Cake recipe is actually good for you.  It is made without the refined sugar and butter!


Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits

Yeah, no butter whatsoever in this Healthy Coconut Cake!  Sorry, not sorry, Ina!  But don’t worry, this guilt-free cake has an amazing texture — it is soft and moist and tastes very similar to a decadent and sweet vanilla cake, but with a natural coconut flavor.  This is definitely one of the best gluten-free cakes I have made in my life (as claimed by my taste-testers).

Because I explained how typical coconut cakes are known for being crazy unhealthy in the beginning of the post, I thought I would share a little bit about Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe.  Check out her cake’s nutrition label here.  I don’t know if you noticed, but the nutrition label for Ina’s cake’s is for 1/16th of the recipe.  That’s tiny.  Seriously though, I don’t even know what to think of Ina’s nutrition label.  At first I was shocked, I couldn’t believe a tiny slice of cake could conceal 5 tablespoons of sugar and nearly 3 tablespoons of butter inside of it.  It looks so pretty on the outside, but when you take the time to analyze the ingredients, it’s just plain old sad  🙁

After my initial state of shock, I started laughing.  The number of calories Ina stuffed into that cake is simply comical.  After a few seconds of laughter, I got offended.  I know for sure that I am taking this wayyy too personally, but in my opinion, I think it is rude to hand someone a slice of cake full of ingredients that are processed beyond belief.

In my college career I have learned a great deal about the destructive effects of refined ingredients (particularly sugar) within the human body.

If I were to hand someone a slice of Ina’s cake, I would feel like I am, essentially, slapping them in the face saying, “Here, enjoy this cake along with some health repercussions!”  Ugh.  I know I am taking it a little far, but it is only because of my personal experience with sugar.  Throughout my entire childhood I ate sugary, nutrient-deprived food like chocolate bars, cakes, cookies and brownies.  And I have suffered the consequences of my poor food choices.  Just as an example, in high school, my LDL cholesterol level was in the “very high risk” range and because of the lifestyle changes I have implemented my total cholesterol levels today are lower than my LDL level alone just a few years ago.  So please, pardon my nagging and emotional feelings!  Gahh.  Rant over.

I hope you enjoy this Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting — it is sweet, moist, flavorful and best of all, healthy.

Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits
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Healthy Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting

Servings: 2 8" cake layers



Recipe Notes

I originally wasn't going to share the recipe here because I worked so incredibly hard on publishing Naughty or Nice.  But, I understand not having a recipe here can be frustrating.  So, I'll meet you halfway...  how does that sound?  I'll show you all the ingredients I use in the recipe.  That way, you can determine on your own whether or not the cookbook is for you!
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting
Amount Per Serving (1 serving = 1/10th of cake)
Calories 200 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 125mg42%
Sodium 270mg12%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 200IU4%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 150mg15%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake & Cupcakes



Be happy.

Live fully.

Feel naughty, eat nice.


– Jess


16 comments on “Healthy Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting”

  1. I agree that those nutritional facts on the original recipe are purely insane! 770 empty calories for a tiny slice of cake? Pure madness! Not to mention the horrible amounts of so unhealthy ingredients, of course.

    Yours looks divine, though! I would definitely love a slice right now and here. It really amazes me that you couldn’t just conquer the world with your healthy treats and teach everybody how to bake the healthy way 🙂

  2. I have two questions.

    I don’t buy the bad-for-you (PROCESSED) egg white cartons…sooo I am wondering if this would work with whole eggs? If so…how many?

    Also – can arrowroot or tapioca starch be substituted for the corn starch?

    Thank you!

    • Zosia-
      The egg whites used in this recipe are from whole eggs, not the cartoned stuff. That’s why I put the term “fresh” next to the egg whites… the cartoned stuff doesn’t work the same as fresh egg whites.
      And other starches should work in place of the corn starch just fine 🙂
      Hope you like the cake!!

  3. I am very allergic to soy. What would you recommend I can use as a substitute for the soy protein powder in this recipe? Thank you.

    • Soy protein powder tends to absorb a lot of liquid, similar to coconut flour, so there aren’t many good replacements… however, I find that brown rice protein powder is pretty similar to soy protein. You can try swapping vanilla brown rice protein powder, or trying this frosting recipe with coconut extract added 🙂

  4. I’m enjoying your website soo much! I love how creative your are and sneak all sorts of good stuff into decadent desserts. I tried many of your recipes and they were delicious!
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Hi Jessica! The cake seems amazingly delicious! But unfortunately i can’t find here sorghum flour. Could you please advise me another delicious cake recipe for a new year table without it?

    • Hmmm, sorghum flour is a pretty unique ingredient so I’m not sure of many good replacements. I think using all brown rice flour in this recipe might work though. The flours I wouldn’t recommend are oat flour and coconut flour.
      I would recommend giving the cake a test run before New Years just to make sure it works. Brown rice flour might impose a taste on the cake so you might feel the need to adjust the vanilla sugar, stevia, coconut extract, etc. Good luck, hope you like the recipe!!

  6. What can be used instead of soy protein powder? I avoid all soy products.

    • Soy protein powder tends to absorb a lot of liquid, similar to coconut flour, so there aren’t many good replacements… however, I find brown rice protein powder is pretty similar to soy protein. You can try swapping in vanilla brown rice protein powder, or trying this frosting recipe with coconut extract added 🙂

  7. Pingback: Coconut Bundt cake | Freud and Fries

  8. I need to make this right now holy cow looks ahhmazin!

  9. Hi Jessica! I love your website! Please keep up the fantastic work as it is such a service to those of us who are interested in enjoying healthy treats but have no idea how to modify recipes (me)! Just wondering something though…I do not do well with either xylitol or erythritol…can I substitute stevia instead? And if so, in what quantitities? Is there a particular type of stevia that you would recommend? I see that there are many types of stevia ranging from pure stevia to stevia blends. How much quantity of each type would you suggest to use when swapping them in recipes? Thank you so much for your advice! It is dearly appreciated!

    • Awww thank you so, so much! I’m glad you like my blog 🙂
      No worries, I don’t tolerate xylitol (AT ALL lol), so I get it. I haven’t tried using JUST stevia in this cake, but feel free to try it out! Simply omit the erythritol and increase the stevia to 4 teaspoons.
      Usually stevia blends (like Truvia or Wholesome) or monk fruit blends (Lakanto) contain erythritol, so I don’t know if those would be good options for you. I personally use SweetLeaf stevia because it’s organic and doesn’t taste bitter to me. NuNaturals is also very good. Just be sure not to get stevia with alcohol in it. I made that mistake and it ruined every single recipe I made 🙁
      1 tsp of SweetLeaf/NuNaturals stevia extract has the sweetness of ~1 cup of sugar. Stevia blends are usually 2x as sweet as sugar, so ½ cup will have the sweetness of 1 cup of sugar.
      Hope this helps Beth!! 🙂

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