Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Dark Chocolate Layer CakeI’ve always wanted to make a dark chocolate layer cake. One that’s super rich, moist and tender. So the other day when I had some coconut milk that needed to be used up I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. This is my “almond joy” version. Two layers of dark chocolate cake (flavored by both coconut oil and coconut milk), two layers of whipped coconut oil frosting and a sprinkling of coconut and toasted almond slices. There’s a whole lot of deliciousness going on here people… and it’s all dairy-free. I seriously could go on about how amazing this cake is, but I think you get the idea. It’s a must-try. So enough talk, let’s get started!

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake You’re going to want start off by mixing the coconut oil and sugar together. I used coconut oil for flavor but also because I’ve been doing a dairy/soy/whey free diet for the past month (I mentioned it in this post). It’s a great substitute for both butter and oil. Next add the eggs and mix until they’re barely incorporated. Over mixing will result in a dense cake, and nobody wants that! Moving on to the dry ingredients, whisk together everything including the cocoa powder in a medium size mixing bowl. Make sure to use a dark cocoa powder for best results, I used Hershey’s Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. It isn’t expensive or high quality, but it’s exactly what this cake calls for: dark. If you have a higher quality cocoa or dutch cocoa that you want to use, go for it! Now it’s time to combine everything. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the coconut milk to the sugar/oil/egg mixture. I used So Delicious® Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk because it’s what I had on hand, but really any kind of coconut milk will do. Once the batter has come together divide it evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the centers are set and spring back.

Dark Chocolate Layer CakeOnce the layers have cooled it’s time to remove them and whip up the frosting. This dairy-free coconut oil frosting is incredibly easy to make and tastes just as good as buttercream! It requires vigorous whipping (I like to use the whisk attachment on my stand mixer or on my hand mixer) for at least 5 minutes. Once it gets white and creamy you know it’s ready for a little splash of coconut milk. Start with 2-3 tablespoons and increase the amount from there. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat for a few more minutes or until the mixture is nice and creamy. Spread over both layers of the cake and top with fresh fruit, coconut or nuts. I opted for sweetened coconut and toasted almond slices to make this dark chocolate layer cake taste like you’re biting into a almond joy candy bar. It was definitely a good choice! The cake got rave reviews and was gone within a day! If you’re anything like me and you love cake and dark chocolate, you’ve got to give this recipe a try! Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Looking for a foolproof cake recipe? This dark chocolate cake is rich, moist and dairy free! The addition of coconut and almonds will transform this cake into an almond joy version.
Yield: 12
  • 1¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c. special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. coconut oil + ½ c. for frosting
  • 2 c. So Delicious® Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk* + 3-5 tbsp. for frosting
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt + ¼ tsp. for frosting
  • 2-2½ c. powdered sugar for frosting

  • Optional Garnishes:
  • Coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • Almond slices
  • Raspberries or strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour two 9" round cake pans, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and coconut oil. With mixing speed on low, add one egg at a time.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixing speed on low, gradually alternate adding whisked dry ingredients and coconut milk. Mix just until combined. Remove bowl and pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While cakes are cooling, prepare the coconut frosting by beating the coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 4-6 minutes. Once the oil is creamy, add salt and coconut milk. Mix until incorporated. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once combined, beat on medium-hight until fluffy, about 2 minutes. If the frosting isn't spreadable enough, add a splash more of coconut milk and beat another 30 seconds.
  6. To assemble, place one layer of cake onto a round or a cake stand. Frost the top evenly, then add the next layer. Frost the top of that layer and then (if desired) the sides of the entire cake. Garnish as desired.
*You can use any coconut milk product you desire such as unsweetened, sweetened, sugar free or culinary. Adding vanilla flavored coconut products eliminates the need for vanilla extract, however if you love vanilla (or don't have vanilla flavored coconut products, you can add a 1 tsp. to the batter in step 1.
-Try substituting 1c. of all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour for a healthier version.
-For a vegan version, try using your favorite egg replacer.
-For a non-dairy free version, substitute the coconut oil for vegetable oil, the coconut milk for 1 c. whole milk and 1 c. buttermilk, and the coconut oil (in the frosting) for butter.
-I chose to garnish mine with sweetened coconut and sliced almonds to create an "almond joy" cake, but this is purely optional. The cake is great by itself or with fruit too.
-Makes one double-layer 9" cake.

Recipe source: Life Made Simple

 This recipe was entered into the So Delicious and godairyfree.org March Recipe Madness Competition.

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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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