Mini Coconut Cakes

February 16, 2011

Do you ever have mornings when everything seems really arduous? Things like getting out of bed, turning on the coffee maker, letting go of your blanket even when you are sitting at the kitchen table trying to eat breakfast? I wanted to bake today, to share another new and exciting recipe, but kind of wanted the baked goods just to appear, and the recipe just to be typed, and oh look! I only have an hour and a half before needing to leave for work!

This recipe for mini coconut cakes makes my day. It’s simple, quick to prepare, doesn’t yield a ridiculous amount of baked good, and is almost infinitely adaptable. Instead of coconut, you could substitute ground almonds, or ground hazelnuts. I ended up using 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut and ½ cup ground almonds, but you could mix and match these ingredients exactly to your liking. Instead of lemon zest, I zested a blood orange and the cakes turned out beautifully. I love recipes that allow for you to be creative, personalizing your own treat exactly the way you want, or exactly the way your recipient would want. I could see myself making these over and over, bringing them to parties and picnics and all the other fun things that will happen when it isn’t so ugly and cold outside.

The only bad thing about this batch of cakes was that they browned quickly, because the only mini-muffin pan I own is a very dark, non-stick metal, so I would keep an eye on yours around the 13 minute mark and make sure you get the golden color they are meant to be instead of looking like they have a dark brown mini-cupcake liner. They are kind of interesting, though, in that the browned outside acts like a crust and the middle is still soft and decadent. That being said, they were delicious, and a great pick me up to motivate me for work.

If this recipe is of interest to you, I highly recommend making financiers. I made these over the summer and NONE of them left my apartment. Dangerously good.

Mini Coconut Cakes

(Recipe adapted from Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking)

Yields 24 individual cakes, made in mini-muffin tins


¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups unsweetened dried coconut (or 1 ½ cups ground almonds, or combination thereof)

4 egg whites, as close to room temperature as possible

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I used blood orange zest)

½ cup, or 8 tablespoons, unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

About 2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut and/or slivered almonds to adorn the tops of the cakes before baking


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour two 12-cavity mini-muffin pans. (Note: I totally forgot to prepare the pans, but mine are non-stick and the cakes turned out fine with just a little more care in removing them from the cavities.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and coconut (and/or ground nuts). Set aside.

3. In a larger bowl, whisk egg whites and salt until combined, then whisk in the zest and slowly whisk in the melted and cooled butter.

4. Whisk in half of dry ingredient mixture, then fold in the rest with a spatula.

5. Split batter evenly between the 24 cavities of the mini-muffin pans and top with shredded coconut and/or slivered almonds.

6. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until cakes are firm when pressed and deep golden in color.

7. Invert cakes over a cooling rack, then turn them right side up to cool completely.

Store cakes lightly covered for one day at room temperature. For prolonged storage, store cakes refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 more days. Bring to room temperature before serving/eating.

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