Bebinca: Goan Layered Coconut Cake

May 20, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

Let me begin by first asking for your help in getting through the gigantic stash of bebinca I have in my fridge right now. It really is absolutely insane. Over the past few days I have tested and tweaked this bebinca recipe no less than five times, trying to inject as much coconut flavor into this dessert as I possibly can. Now I have a fridge overflowing with bebinca, displayed in a baking dish, in a brownie pan, in four ramekins and a spring-form pan. Someone send help, please?! (On the positive side though, my house smells 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 the texture and flavor that I loved! Trying to make the batter too pancake-y (as talked about on the show) ended up in a dense cake, so I veered towards a lighter, more crepe-like batter. This batter worked far better and yielded layers that were delicate yet full of flavor. I added the lime zest and juice to cut through some of the sweetness and also added some cardamom powder, which pairs so well with coconut.

Don’t let the seven individual layers stop you from making this dessert. You are going to love it! :) —Madhuja

Test Kitchen Notes

This took a couple of flopped layers to get the hang of making it, so by the 7th one, I had the technique perfected. The flavor was quite spectacular and the coconut and cardamom went together quite spectacularly. The cream never thickened up, but I'm not sure how it could with all the coconut cream in it. It was more like a thickened sauce than a cream -- fine with me! I'd make it again, however I'd consider trying to make them more like crepes next time. The recipe went together well, and there didn't seem to be any glitches in the recipe. —Victoria

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. In a large, heatproof bowl, mix the coconut milk and sugar. Microwave for about 3 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the egg yolks on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the motor running on low speed, slowly add the warm coconut milk and sugar mixture. Add the coconut flour, all-purpose flour, cardamom powder, salt, and lime zest and mix on low speed for a further couple of minutes, until no lumps remain. Check to make sure that the mixture has cooled enough and then add the lime juice and give it a good mix one last time. Pour it into a large bowl and chill in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. While the batter is chilling, prep your 9" springform pan. Thoroughly grease the pan with coconut oil, put a circular piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and grease that too. Tear off a long piece of aluminum foil, fold it over so that it is about 4" wide and wrap it around the base of the springform fan to prevent any leakage (just like you would when baking a cheesecake in a water bath). Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet.
  4. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Turn the oven on to broil. Let it get good and hot for a couple of minutes. Take the batter out of the fridge. Put the baking sheet with the empty prepared springform pan in the oven for 30 seconds, to get it pretty hot. We want the bottom layer to start cooking right away; otherwise, it has a tendency to stick and fall apart.
  5. Take the baking sheet out of the oven, drizzle a bit of coconut oil on the parchment paper, and add one cup of the batter. Put it back in the middle of the oven and broil for 5 to 8 minutes. We want the top of the layer to get evenly browned, not just a freckle here and there! (see picture) If the top doesn't get evenly browned, you will not get the brown striations when you slice the cake (see picture).
  6. Once the top looks evenly browned, take it out of the oven, drizzle another 2 tablespoon of coconut oil evenly over the surface, stir the batter to get rid of any settling at the bottom, and add another cup of it. Then it goes back into the oven until it is browned all over. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Do not worry if the layers start to dome slightly; it'll flatten out when you add the oil and batter on top of it. This recipe will yield a seven layer cake. Do take note that when the broiler is on the "off" cycle, it'll take a while longer to brown on the top, but be patient and you'll be rewarded!
  7. Once all the seven layers have been baked off, let the cake cool in the pan on the counter for at least an hour. While the cake is cooling, make the coconut whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, add the coconut cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Whisk on high speed for a couple of minutes until (very) soft peaks form. Put it back in the fridge so that it can firm up a bit. Chill the whipped coconut cream in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  8. Once the cake is cooled (it'll pull slightly away from the sides), run a plastic knife around the edges, release it from the spring form pan, and serve immediately with the chilled coconut whipping cream. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vikas Nage
    Vikas Nage
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • del
  • Ticketytwo
  • ChefJune

37 Reviews

King2000 July 6, 2018
Incase you did not know salt is salt - can be fine grain or course - there is nothing special about kosher salt- salt existed before Jews were born.
Try Himalayan bindu salt or halal kosher salt and they all taste the same.
George P. July 13, 2019
There is variation between different types of salt. If the recipe states kosher salt then it would be best to use that. If you use 2 tsp of table salt, for example, it would be far too salty.
Vikas N. December 9, 2017
I want bibingka from GOA so can you please tell me who is the best manufacturer bibingka cake in GOA near panjim.
Sharon L. December 24, 2016
I commend you for the broiler idea....sheer genius, cuts the baking time down significantly. However, the lime cardamon combo veers off the traditional Goan recipe. My Goan dad wasn't happy with it, but I enjoyed it. You could use this as an excuse to visit Goa!
Madhuja January 9, 2017
You bet I am going to stuff my face with bebinca when I visit Goa! I cannot wait to get my hands on the real thing! Thanks so much for trying my recipe!
LeBec F. February 19, 2016
oh boy oh boy! does this look succulent or what?!thx so much!
Madhuja February 20, 2016
Thank you, Le Bec Fin ! :)
del November 19, 2015
Is there really 2 tsp of salt? and 1 tablespoon of cardamom? It looks like a great recipe. I wondered.
Madhuja November 20, 2015
Sorry for the late reply, but yes, the amounts are correct! :)
Ticketytwo January 28, 2015
Omg. This looks so delicious.
Madhuja January 28, 2015
It tastes pretty darn good, too! :)
Kai December 22, 2013
Hi. How long can you keep these in the fridge? Thanks.
Madhuja December 27, 2013
Sorry it took me a while to answer this! I think the cake should keep in the fridge for about 4-5 days!
Kai December 27, 2013
Thanks. My wife's aunt in India makes the best bibingka I have ever tasted. I hope to try this one out.
Madhuja January 2, 2014
I've never had Goan bibingka, so I would love to get your feedback!
ChefJune May 24, 2013
This looks delicious, but the Bibingka I know is Filipino and is more of a pudding. Is there a relationship between the two?
Madhuja May 24, 2013
Other than the fact that both these are coconutty desserts, I don't think they share very much more in common. I would guess the Goan Bibingka has more of a Portuguese root (since Goa was colonized by Portugal for a long time).
beejay45 April 28, 2018
There are also a lot of Portuguese in the Filipines. My best friend's father was half-Portuguese. Their bibingka comes in many styles, but I believe they all use grated coconut. If this tastes anywhere near as good, I will love it. Of course, the cardamom is a bit alien in this context, but I'm half Norwegian so that's not a problem. LOL! Ain't the melting pot we live in wonderful?

Thanks for a new slant on bibingka!
Madhuja April 28, 2018
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it! :)
Droplet May 23, 2013
Outstanding job, Madhuja.
Madhuja May 23, 2013
Thank you so much, Droplet!
hardlikearmour May 22, 2013
What a gorgeous recipe! Coconut + cardamom + lime is a magical flavor combination.
Madhuja May 22, 2013
Thank you so much, HLA! This combination is one of my all time favorites! :)
Bevi May 21, 2013
What a labor of love!
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you so much, Bevi! Getting the layers just right took soooo long, but I was happy with the results! :)
lapadia May 21, 2013
Thanks for posting your recipe!
Madhuja May 21, 2013
You are very welcome, lapadia! I hope you try this soon!:)
EmilyC May 21, 2013
Wow, this looks divine!
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you, EmilyC! It might just be one of my favorite desserts, ever!:)
Midge May 21, 2013
Beautiful! Sounds so delicious.
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you, Midge!:)
dymnyno May 21, 2013
It certainly looks and sounds delicious! I can hardly wait to try this.
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you, dymnyno! Do let me know how it turned out!:)
aargersi May 21, 2013
Amazing cake - and what a grand effort on your part to get it right for the rest of us!!!
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you so much, Abbie! This recipe required a LOT of testing, but I think it was totally worth it! :)
vvvanessa May 21, 2013
Wow. That seems impossible not to love! Thanks for doing all that footwork, and I do really wish I were there to help you through your fridge.
Madhuja May 21, 2013
Thank you, vvvanessa! I hope you make it soon!:)