I love to bake, and I love to eat desserts. What I do not love are overly-sweet and/or rich desserts that make my teeth ache and my conscience wish that I had said “no” after I begin digestion. That is where this recipe comes in: a moist cake, rich with cocoa flavor, made indulgent by the addition of coconut milk and flakes, and sweetened with nothing but fruit, but won’t cause a heart attack.

I will admit that the batter is a bit on the thick side which can make it a bit difficult to work with. Knowing this ahead of time allows you to set aside extra patience for this very deserving indulgence. Topped with toasty bits of crunchy coconut I think that it would make for a great breakfast with a cup of coffee or snack with a glass of milk.


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 very ripe medium bananas
  • 8 dried mission figs
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, both of the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk or sift thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Set aside.
  3. Put the bananas, figs, coconut milk, water and vanilla into a blender. Blend until figs are chopped very small and the mixture is thick and smooth, about a minute.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, taking care not to overwork the batter. This batter will be very thick.  Pour/scoop the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  5. Let the cake cool in the baking pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.  Slice into 16 even pieces.