Chocolate Coconut Cake // Happy Birthday, David!

Birthdays are always a special occasion at our house.  Of course, the best part is the food–we get to pick our favorite dishes, or select a culture/country for the cook to use as inspiration for trying new and interesting foods.  We’ve tried making Indian, Israeli, Mexican, Korean, Italian, German, and French.  All successes–well, except the seaweed soup…that didn’t go over so well.  But it’s tons of fun!

Celebration Steak Dinner

Today is our old(er) brother’s birthday and he wanted steak. Meat.  So like a guy!  After a bit of research, we found some cool ways to dress it up and make it into a dish that more delicate palates can savor.  Here’s what we served, how we dressed it up, and how you can recreate it, too!


-Grilled Citrus Steak:  Marinate overnight in a lemon juice, garlic, ginger, soy sauce marinade, grilled until medium-rare.

-Rosemary and Thyme Small Red Potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters, salt, drizzle with olive oil, add a chopped onion, and bake for 40 minutes in a 400°F oven until tender.

-Steamed Asparagus: Garnish with 1 tbsp coconut oil, salt, and dill

-Fresh Citrus Salad: Cube peeled grapefruit, orange, and avocado, add chopped kalamata olives, chopped fresh mint leaves, salt, coarse pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil; toss over arugula leaves.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Chocolate is a staple in our house.  When posed the question “chocolate or vanilla” we tend to yell “CHOCOLATE!” as a horrified knee-jerk reaction.  So when David was asked what kind of cake he wanted, he didn’t say coconut, pumpkin, apple, or vanilla.  Chocolate, duh!  After all, chocolate is a vegetable 🙂 Mary made this dairy-free, gluten-free cake to celebrate.  If you like your desserts à la mode, serve with coconut sorbet.  Chocolate-flavored, of course!


For this cake, Mary used a conventional store-bought flour mix in our Coconut Cake recipe from The Twins’ Guide to Gluten-Free Baking, and added 3 oz of melted baking chocolate to the batter to make it a Chocolate Coconut Cake.  Instead of making it in a bundt pan, she baked it in 2 9-in round pans (for 30 minutes).  When the cakes cooled, she stacked them with a layer of cherry pie filling in between. Genius.

Dairy-Free Coconut Frosting

Coconut cream from 2 cans Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup coco powder

4 cups powdered sugar

Beat all ingredients together in a mixer until thoroughly combined.  If the mixture is too runny, add more powdered sugar until loose, but not runny.  Let frosting rest and harden in a refrigerator until thick and gooey.  Spread on cake and return cake to the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Garnish with dairy-free chocolate chips.  Enjoy!


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