In the spirit of a fresh new year, I (Jess) am working on a few healthier twists to my traditionally indulgent desserts. Today’s tea cakes use only a handful of ingredients and are simple to prepare; without sugar, traditional flour or dairy, they satisfy a craving without cratering a New Year’s resolution. The coconut flakes lend a slightly-sweet and nutty flavor with a flaky bite, making these my new afternoon tradition with a steaming chai tea. Keep reading for the recipe…

Coconut Tea Cakes

*gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free

Adapted from Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours


  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut (avoid the large unsweetened coconut ribbons)
  •  2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon superfine rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick or 1/4 cup)Earth Balance butter, melted
  • powdered/confectioner’s sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 12-cup mini-muffin tins or line them with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites until they’re smooth and a little bit foamy. Switch from the mixer or whisk to a spoon and gently mix in the remaining ingredients, one at a time. The batter should have a nice sheen to it.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins, filling them almost to the top of the cups. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the edges of the mini cakes are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately unmold the cakes; I used a small cocktail fork to help remove them. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar, if desired, right before serving.

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Comments (9)
  1. 1
    Alisa January 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Stunning and scrumptious! I heart anything coconut not to mention purdy and I love working with brown rice flour. Well done.

  2. 2
    rachel January 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    looks AMAZING, can’t wait to try this recipe!

  3. 3
    Donna Smith January 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Looks yummy! how are they refined sugar free though if the recipe calls for 2/3 cup sugar.

  4. 4
    kristenhaney January 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    you mention they’re refined sugar–free, but the recipe calls for 2/3 c sugar. what kind of sweetener should we use? They look fantastic, but I’m trying to cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy for this month.

    • Jess Simpson January 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Sorry, I didn’t specify! I used coconut palm sugar, Kristen! 🙂

  5. 5
    Bree Gaudette January 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I made these as per the recipe, and they tasted wonderful! The only thing that I found is that they’re a bit tough. The edges are a bit chewy, like tough-chewy (not crispy chewy!) which concerns me. (how tough will they be tomorrow or the next day?) Perhaps I left them in the oven too long? Either way, they taste great – thanks for the recipe!!

  6. 6
    Maria Duque January 25, 2013 at 1:47 am

    I just found out this blog, and I totally love it!!!!

  7. 7
    Diana L. February 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Hi, I baked the coconut tea cakes this morning. They are really good. Mine are dark, like the same color as the coconut sugar. Which is the same color of brown sugar. I used Organic Coconut Sugar, is Coconut Palm Sugar different? I was told they were the same. I am assuming that the Palm is lighter? Thank you for your time. Diana

  8. 8
    Susie September 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Is there a substitute for potato starch? What purpose does the potato starch serve in the recipe? Could corn starch be used?



Jess Simpson