Coconut Lime Tea Cake (Gluten-Free)

Most everyone has those foodie items that when you pass them at the grocery store or bakery, you just have to pick one up. For me, this would be things like the kombucha at Whole foods (although, I’m working on that one!) or the coconut water at Trader Joe’s. Apparently I have a beverage weakness? Well, at least it’s of the non-alcoholic variety.

For Aaron, his soft spot is for pastries. Gooey cinnamon rolls, buttery croissants, and especially tea cakes from the very awesome Clear Flour Bakery near us. They’re far from vegan or healthy, but these little cakes have outstanding flavor combinations, like lemon poppyseed and cranberry orange almond. They somehow manage to be light and almost pillowy, despite the ridiculous amount of butter that I’m sure goes into making them.

Coconut Lime Tea Cake Follow Me on Pinterest

I’m also a fan of tea cakes, but for very different reasons. Mostly, I just love anything miniature and therefore adorable. It’s kind of like puppies and kittens, and sometimes babies, but less so than cakes. I’m kidding!

Vegan Coconut Lime Tea Cake Follow Me on Pinterest

Anyway, on yet another little online shopping session at Williams Sonoma, I came across some cute little loaf pans, among about a million other items out of my price range (um, apparently they’re now on sale too?!). And as soon as I saw those mini pans, I was determined to come up with a tea cake recipe of my own, minus the eggs, butter, sugar, and gluten – yet with a still-satisfying texture and flavor that would rival even Clear Flour’s cakes. A tall order, especially for a gluten-free baking novice.

Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Tea Cake Follow Me on Pinterest

I’ve been on a coconut kick these last two weeks, after discovering the Bob’s Red Mill large, flaked variety. For years, I stayed away from coconut because of the high fat content (including the saturated fat), but I’ve slowly been incorporating more into my diet. In addition to the flakes of coconut, I also experimented with coconut flour in this recipe. Admittedly, I was somewhat nervous because of the dense texture, but I paired it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour, and could not be happier with the results. The coconut lends a rich, buttery flavor,  and I also added a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and zest to give it some brightness. We all know how much I love my citrus, especially in baked goods.

Sugar-Free Coconut Lime Tea Cake Follow Me on Pinterest

This tea cake uses only a very small amount of agave to enhance the natural sweetness of the coconut, so it’s definitely not your typical, sugared-up cake, though you could certainly add a powdered sugar glaze if you wanted. That said, I haven’t found any bakery receipts scattered around my apartment this week, so I’d say Aaron is a fan.

Coconut Lime Tea Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 3 mini cakes
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1 C. Coconut Flour
  • 1½ Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Xanthan Gum
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • 1¼ C. Coconut Milk (I used TJ's brand from the ½ gallon carton)
  • 1 Ener-G Egg (1½ Tsp. Ener-G egg replacer, 2 Tbs. warm water)
  • Juice & Zest of 3 Organic Limes (about ¼ C. juice, 3 heaping Tbs. zest)
  • ¼ C. Agave
  • ¼ C. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¼ C. Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste (or Pure Vanilla Extract)
  • ¾ C. Coconut Flakes, plus 1 Tbs. more for garnish
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease three 5½ x 3 inch loaf pans and set aside.
  3. Prepare your vegan egg by combining 1½ Tsp. Ener-G egg replacer with 2 Tbs. water. Stir until no lumps remain.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
  5. Add the Ener-G egg, coconut milk, lime juice and zest, agave, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in the coconut flakes.
  7. Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pans, garnish with the remaining coconut flakes, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Feel free to replace the Ener-G egg with a flax egg (1 Tbs. ground flax, 3 Tbs. water). I used coconut milk from a carton, but canned light coconut milk should also work well.


What’s the foodie item you have trouble passing up when you’re out shopping?

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  1. says

    I have to buy a bottle (or two) of Kombucha when I’m out, too. Always! And I’m also a total beverage junkie- especially if there’s some sort of non-dairy milk I haven’t seen before.
    I need to look for the Bob’s Red Mill large flakes!! I LOVE coconut. In any form.

  2. says

    This looks seriously delicious. Bookmarked.

    Also, question: did you ever try making those crackers? If you did, did you find them completely gross? I am sorry if you did!

  3. says

    For me, it’s hummus – a new brand, a new flavour, whatever. Although I often make my own at home, I love trying out new ones from the store for a special treat.

    Your tea cakes look really delicious. I’ve been on a big coconut kick lately too, and I’ve been eating my fair share of coconut butter. It’s so addicting. Actually, I can imagine it would taste pretty awesome slathered on a slice of your cake!

    Happy weekend!

    • says

      I was thinking yesterday that I should make some coconut butter. That would really take the tea cake over the top!

      Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Ashleigh says

    To make this cake without the gluten free ingredients – would I just replace it the gluten free flour and xanthan gum with 1 cup of plain flour? Would you still recommend using coconut flour?


    • says

      Yes, you would replace the gluten-free flour with regular all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour) and omit the xanthan gum. If you replace the coconut flour, you will likely need to decrease the coconut milk by about half, since coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid. Also, the coconut flour adds to the flavor, so expect a less strong coconut taste if you replace it.

  5. says

    I love miniature things too :) I think the one thing I can’t pass up is good cheese, which is really bad, but I guess there are much worse things :)

    • says

      There are definitely worse things. I had trouble giving up cheese when I went from vegetarian to vegan – I loved gruyere (although my stomach did not!).

  6. says

    Large flaked coconut is definitely the best! Glad to see you used coconut flour too! I have some & I’ve been trying to experiment with it, but it’s been difficult for me! Hopefully I will have some luck soon :)


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