Recipe: Bolo de coco coconut and semolina cake


No Goan meal is complete without something sweet to finish and this cake is one of Jen’s most cherished recipes. “On any special occasion or during the festive season, every Goan kitchen is busy with people preparing savouries, sweets and desserts over a few days. Bolo de Coco is always one of them.”


400g caster sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
250g semolina
250g freshly grated or desiccated coconut
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon vanilla essence or
ground cardamom


Put the sugar in a large pot with the water and set over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and then add the butter. When this mixture comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat. Add the semolina and coconut and cook for a minute, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Separate eggs and beat the yolks well, then add to the mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into the mixture. Cover and leave to rest for eight hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the cake, heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 25cm round or 23cm square cake tin. Stir the baking powder and vanilla essence or cardamom into the mixture, then pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick plunged into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly and the cake is golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then turn out to a rack to cool. Serve with cream or yoghurt. Serves 10-12

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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