Bebinca: Goan Layered Coconut Cake

By • May 20, 2013 30 Comments

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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! :)

Food52 Review: 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


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
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 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!

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