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The Delicate, 7-Layer Goan Coconut Milk Confection You Need to Make Stat

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As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some gold recipes from our community. Today, meet a layered cake bursting with coconut flavor (and personality!).

Seven whole layers of coconut-cardamom goodness.
Seven whole layers of coconut-cardamom goodness. Photo by Ty Mecham

When I first made this cake, I tested and tweaked the bebinca recipe no less than five times, trying to inject as much coconut flavor as I possibly could. The result—a fridge overflowing with bebinca, displayed in a baking dish, a brownie pan, four ramekins, and a springform pan. (On the positive side, my house smelled amazing!)

It all started when I saw Atul Kochhar make bebinca on TV. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide a complete recipe. However, the dish looked so good, and each bite seemed so scrumptious, I knew I had to try replicating it.

And thus began four days of tussling with a recipe where I played with the ratio of flour, coconut milk, sugar, and eggs until I got a texture and flavor that I loved.

Making batter with a pancake-consistency created a too-dense cake, so I veered towards a lighter, more crepe-like batter. It worked far better and yielded delicate layers that were also full of flavor.

A lot of Indian desserts combine coconut with cardamom, but I decided to add citrus to make the flavors more balanced and bright. The lime zest and juice cut through some of the sweetness, but complement the traditional coconut.

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Make sure you have enough time on your hands when starting this recipe—it’s seven layers of pouring, baking, and pouring and baking again. Definitely more of a project than a quick bake. Also, make sure that each of the layers browns evenly on the top, otherwise you won’t see the striations when cutting into it.

Since sharing this recipe back in 2013, I've had two kids. And between running after my toddler and tending to a newborn, I just haven’t had the time to make it. But someday, when the stars align and the kiddos are both napping, I’ll sneak back into the kitchen to bake this amazing cake again.

Bebinca: Goan Layered Coconut Cake

Bebinca: Goan Layered Coconut Cake

Madhuja Madhuja
Serves 10 to 12
  • 2 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk (I like Chaokoh brand)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom powder, preferably freshly ground
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lime, finely zested and juiced
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
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Any coconut fans out there? What's your favorite recipe?

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Coconut, Community, Travel