Recipes // Desserts // Chocolate, Brazil Nut, and Coconut Cake

Chocolate, Brazil Nut, and Coconut Cake


By Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

I fell into a chat with the vendor, who told me that a bag of castanha do pará (Brazil nuts) had just arrived. By the end of my shopping spree, I’d gotten a handful of nuts, coconut, and a few other Brazilian ingredients. I knew exactly what I wanted to prepare with these treasures: a Brazil nut cake, one that features chocolate prominently. All those nuts were screaming for chocolate, and so was I! This chewy chocolate torte, nicknamed Choco Nut Cake, packs more Brazilian flavor than most chocolate desserts, making it very gratifying to make. One word of caution: it is very important to keep the cake moist; so, just as you would do for a brownie, take care not to overbake it.

Serves 6-8


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups Brazil nuts
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2⁄3 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract or rum
  • Cocoa powder for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter again and dust with flour.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over of a pan filled with simmering water (not touching the water). Heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
  3. In a food processor, process the Brazil nuts and coconut until finely ground, about 30 seconds. (All nuts release oil when ground, and Brazil nuts contain lots of oil, so be careful not to let the mixture turn into a paste.) Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Using the same food processor bowl, process the butter and sugar until smooth.
  5. With the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time, and the coconut extract or rum and process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate and pulse to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake until the center is slightly puffed, 25 to 28 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate, peel the parchment paper off, and invert again. Cool completely. Sprinkle cocoa powder all over the cake just before serving.
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