I was a Girl Scout back in the day. You know, the signature green and brown vests with badges, camping trips, service projects, plenty of silly songs, crafts, and games... (the last three being essential life-saving skills, mind you). Wait, I'm forgetting something, you say? Oh yes. That's right. Girl Scout cookies. Silly me, to forget. I don't know how many boxes of cookies I sold during my scouting days, but it was a lot. I remember the Thin Mint cookies were always the most popular. My personal favorites were the Samoa cookies, though. Chewy, chocolaty, and nutty from the toasted coconut. A glass of milk was a must with these little treats - dunking was certainly necessary. Selling boxes upon boxes of the various signature cookies was always an exciting part of being a Girl Scout.
I was immediately reminded of Girl Scout Samoas when taking my first bite of this cake. Although there is no caramel in it, as there is in the cookies, this cake is very moist and has a perfectly subtle coconut flavor. The chocolate chunks are rich and the coconut on top is crunchy and barely sweet. The cake is best served with a tall glass of milk. (Though dunking is not necessarily suggested...)
Notes: I have made this cake several times, playing around with different ratios of flour types, and have found the following combination of whole-wheat pastry and all-purpose flours to provide the most appealing crumb. You may certainly use exclusively all-purpose, if you wish. Also, I love this cake best when made with coconut oil because it lends an extra kick of creamy coconut flavor. If you don't have coconut oil on hand, butter also makes a rich and delicious cake. Coconut milk is sold in cans, typically near the Asian foods at the grocery. Be sure to not use "light" coconut milk - it is too watery for the cake. You can play around a little with the flavorings for fun, if you'd like. I think next time I make this I'm going to try it by leaving out the orange zest, and instead of vanilla, use almond extract. Have fun and enjoy!
Adapted from Bon Appetit, also found here