Coconut Crunch-Topped Chocolate Cake

coconut crunch cake squareMy husband just turned 40. It’s kind of a big deal, and, being 33 and not 40, it’s is weird for me (but weirder for him). He did not go willingly, but alas, time did not stop.

He loves German chocolate cake, so I was going to make a big, decadent layer-y chocolate cake. But, as I’ve mentioned before, June is when we celebrate most of our family birthdays, plus Father’s day, so we already had a cheesecake and an ice cream cake lying around, and since most of those recipes have, like, 4,000 calories a slice, I decided to tone it down. Just a little.

You know our Candied Coconut Sweet Potatoes? This cake is kind of like that, only with chocolate cake instead of sweet potatoes which, in case you were wondering, is always an acceptable option.

You’re going to need water, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar (can we talk about how this was almost the time I almost forgot to put sugar in my husband’s birthday cake? Yeah…), flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, sour cream or buttermilk, and vanilla.


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13″ pan (and flour it if you like to; I usually don’t) and set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, and cocoa powder.

crunch-topped chocolate cake

Over medium heat, stir the mixture frequently until it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), add the flour,




baking soda, and salt


and whisk together to combine.


Add the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk (or sour cream)

crunch topped chocolate cake

and beat until blended. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the coconut topping. You’ll need coconut, brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, almond extract, and butter.


Combine the coconut topping ingredients (except the milk or half and half) in a medium bowl.

crunchy coconut topping


Add a few tablespoons of milk or half and half, enough to help bring everything together.

When the cake is done baking, remove from the oven and turn on the oven broiler. Carefully drop the coconut topping over the cake and place the cake back in the oven for about 2 minutes. As the topping starts to melt, open the oven and gently spread it out over the cake. Return to oven just long enough for the coconut to start to brown (about 1 minute-90 seconds), but keep a close eye on it because it will burn very quickly. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool enough that the topping is crunchy and the cake doesn’to burn you, but it’s still warm and gooey. Serve warm with ice cream.

Coconut Crunch Topped Cake from Our Best Bites


woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Hope your husband knows how lucky he is to be married with you : ) This decadent chocolate cake with its coconut topping is terrific. I’m newly obsessed with this decadent cake!

  2. I just have to add that these photos are super good. The one that shows two raw eggs dropped into flour is my favorite. L

  3. This looks like the best chocolate cake ever! Sam is one lucky guy to have you. Of course it goes both ways. He is most assuredly a keeper! Thanks for sharing. L

  4. I made this cake this weekend and it is fantastic! One thing though, I think you might have a small typo in the recipe. Under the topping ingredients for how much butter I think it’s supposed to say 1 stick? When I first read it I read it as 1 1/2 cup of butter but that seemed like way too much!
    But the topping is absolutely amazing! My husband loved this cake and he usually doesn’t like chocolate or coconut!

  5. I made the cake this weekend and can’t stay out of it. Delicious!! (Not good for my diet, but oh well!!)

  6. I think I’d like to eat a huge bowl of just the topping! okay no, I’ll take the cake too. 🙂

  7. Is the huckleberry ice cream from the private selection contest ever going to come out in stores? I’ve been waiting for it and haven’t seen it yet.

  8. This looks so delicious! And that is funny that your husband just turned 40–mine did, too! And I’ll be 33 next month, so we’re the same! It’s weird having a husband in his 40s now! He doesn’t really look it–I attribute that to me being 7 years younger!