In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

How To Make Coconut Sugar Cake.

I’ve been told that I don’t do enough dessert recipes, so with some time on my hands I decided to raid the cupboards and come up with a dessert recipe to share with you all. This recipe is somewhat refined from the one my dad would do, but it’s just as delicious and if I may be bold enough.. better that his! He’s old school when it comes to making sugar cake, as he prefers to get fresh dry coconut and do his thing with the grater. Besides not liking to grate coconut like a mad-man (my fingers still show battle scars from the last time I grated coconut), I noticed that I had some per-packaged shredded coconut so it was going to be a recipe for sugar cake I’d be sharing.


You’ll Need…

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
2 bay leaves
thick slice of fresh ginger
4-6 drops red food coloring (optional)

Important: If doing this dessert according to a gluten free diet, do go through the ingredients mentioned above to make sure they meet with you specific gluten free dietary needs.


The first thing we need to do is start the syrup we’ll need as the base for this. In a deep saucepan heat the sugar, water, bay leaves and  a thick slice of ginger. Bring up to a rolling boil and allow to cook until it reduces and gets thick. (about 5-7 mins). You’ll have to constantly stir with a spoon or a whisk as I did.

Now it’s time to remove the bay leaves and ginger from the pot and discard (if you like the strong aroma and taste of ginger and bay leaves.. you can always grate the ginger into the syrup and crush the bay leaves). Add the essence and stir in the desiccated coconut (shredded or flaked coconut).. now add the drops of coloring and stir constantly. It will require about 5-7 minutes (on medium heat) to get to the consistency we’re looking for.(you can always follow along with the video below)

The idea is to burn off as much liquid as you can from the pan, so you have a thick and sticky consistency. A good sign that you’re close to where you want it to be, is when the coconut mixture starts coming away from the sides of the pan and somewhat clump.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet I then took spoon full amounts and made small heaps to form little sugar cakes. This will need to set (cool and take shape) before you can fully enjoy them. Remember we just made a syrup with the sugar so this will be extremely hot… do have some patience. Your kitchen will have the lovely aroma and coconut, essence,ginger and bay leaf… and I’m sure you’ll and your kids will love this tasty treat.

* If you have a 1 inch deep pan you can pour the cooked mixture into it and allow to cool, then cut into even squares. You can also be creative and do different colors and stack them to form a rainbow effect if you wish.

Store in an airtight container for maximum freshness and do refrigerate if you plan on keeping them more than a few days.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
recipe image
Recipe Name
How To Make Coconut Sugar Cake.
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Average Rating
2.51star1star1stargraygray Based on 57 Review(s)


  1. Lynda
    April 27, 2018 / 10:34 am

    Just made these and they are fantastic. Bake sale tomorrow and they will gobble them up. Thanks from Bermuda.

  2. Zori
    April 2, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Made these couple days ago. Thanks for the recipe they came out perfect. I had mine spread out on a flat baking dish to set.Later I cut them into nice little squares. The wax paper kept it a bit moist but once removed and left to sun a bit they firmed up. Family loved them.

  3. Dani
    August 22, 2017 / 8:34 am

    I tried this and it just became sticky, it never hardened. what did i do wrong ?

    • Shelly
      April 9, 2023 / 7:48 pm

      I’m thinking it’s because you didn’t cook out the liquid when it was on the stove enough, because once you do that the sugar makes it harden up after.

  4. Shekina
    June 24, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    Awesome cookies and tasty thank you for sharing

  5. Kerran
    April 22, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Giselle
    February 1, 2016 / 7:13 am

    Thanks for the great recipe! Any hints on how we can adapt to make pineapple sugar cake? Used to get this in Trinidad many years ago, but the chef has long passed, and the family still yearns for it, and would love to replicate one day!

  7. kendell williams
    February 17, 2015 / 1:34 pm

    since my mum told me about this site ive been eating proper now ,Ive just tried the sugar cake and yes that’s what im talking bout ,perfect

    • admin
      February 17, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      do say hello to moms for sharing the site with you.. and happy cooking

  8. Janine
    February 16, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    Thank you, Chris! I’ve been waiting for this…I even thought about this yesterday! As I have been recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I will substitute the sugar with xylitol, a natural sweetener without the aftertaste and without the spike in the glucose level. Thanks again! BTW…I’m from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Ate this a lot as a kid, especially during Carnival time!

  9. Brenda
    January 12, 2015 / 5:59 pm


  10. GEMartin
    November 29, 2014 / 8:19 pm

    Wow… Made these a few weeks ago with a fresh coconut and added some Baker’s coconut as it was not enough. Used fresh and powdered ginger. We make these in Bermuda as well. Thanks for your recipe. If I had it before when I was making mine, I would have used bay leaf, too. Rather than put in on the cookie sheet, I sprayed a mini muffin pan and filled the cups with the mixture. Neat, even and cute … Delicious! Yummmm

  11. Kalila
    November 15, 2014 / 7:31 am

    Thanks for sharing! Maybe I missed it, but how much essence do you use?

  12. susan
    November 10, 2014 / 10:40 am

    Great snack. In Barbados we also flavor them with molasses and mint (separate flavors). Fresh grated coconut gives the best flavor. Yeah, I still do that

    PS What about nut cakes?

  13. Carmen Lomonoco
    August 28, 2014 / 8:32 am

    Greetings Chris,

    Well i will be trying this in the future—thanks for telling me about not giving these to kids before bedtime LOL….


  14. Gail
    August 21, 2014 / 9:10 pm

    Wondering how long it takes to completely cool and set…does anyone know? Is it overnight or like an hour?

  15. Astrud
    August 17, 2014 / 9:40 am

    Love, love coconut. I’ve been looking for this recipe. Thanks.

  16. Natalie
    August 3, 2014 / 3:41 pm

    Great and easy, I kept the ginger in and chopped it up very small.

  17. Sharon
    May 18, 2014 / 7:45 pm

    Thanks. You made it look simple and delicious! I now have the courage to try it for myself. Thanks again. I too would love to see puddin & souse.

  18. ram
    February 1, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    any trinidadians try this? is it any good? can a real INDIAN trini post a recipe if this one is not good? that’s all. thanks.

    • allaweisonefamily
      March 29, 2014 / 10:45 am

      Hi Ram, this recipe is the same for Indian, Africans, Chinese, Native Indians, all others and in between. I an Indian Trini and all ah we is one family who loves good Caribbean foods.

      • Keima
        June 27, 2021 / 9:33 am

        Thank you 😊 AllAWEISONEFAMILY! You’re sooo right ONE CARIBBEAN! We speak the same language but different (twang) /tongue! One Love ❤️ Always!

  19. Andrianna Kissavos
    November 11, 2013 / 12:12 pm

    These look awesome Chris. I miss being in barbados where I was buying these from the supermarket. This looks easy to make so I think I may try it for my daughter’s bake sale. Thanks for the video.

  20. Felicia
    July 5, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    Love your recipe but I also add cinnamon stick and clove..

  21. verle
    July 1, 2013 / 2:37 pm

    This coconut sugar cake looks good better with the grated coconut 🙂

  22. Anna K
    June 30, 2013 / 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried this when I was in Trinidad and really liked it. Can't wait to make it.

  23. Carol C
    May 4, 2013 / 4:45 pm

    Thank you for posting this.. I enjoyed sugar cakes as a child and no w I can make my own.

  24. Anita Watson
    April 27, 2013 / 12:38 am

    I really enjoyed watching you cook up a storm.. Its brilliant that we actually see the dish being cooked from stage 1 to the end.. a lot of videos always show the chef/cook and you hardly see the dish.. Good Job.. Your cooking looks so clean and tasty.. I am going to a Heroes Day later and might try make some sugar cakes to go on my stall… Colours are so vibrant really emjoyable to watch and your narrative is cool too. Keep cooking…. How about some Pudding and Souse I am from Barbadian parents… 🙂

  25. michelle
    March 4, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    Looks delish, I am going to try it .Iam from guyana but live in barbados. So can u show in your video how to do hot cross buns? thanks you.

  26. dianaamoon
    February 17, 2013 / 9:56 am

    Yum! Looks amazing…anyone ever make these with coconut sugar? Just wondering…

  27. Gillian
    February 7, 2013 / 1:23 pm

    I made these for my daughter's class to distribute after a presentation on Crop Over carnival and they were delish! Reminded me of when I was a kid in Barbados–so easy to make!!! Thx

  28. Asia
    February 6, 2013 / 5:50 pm

    wow , that looks amazing

  29. linda
    January 5, 2013 / 9:58 pm

    I've been asked to make a treat for cultural day at my work. My husband actually found this website for me. We lived in Trinidad for 5 years and ate this all the time. So I gave it a quick try tonight (didn't have Bay leaf or Essence and really didn't know about dessicated coconut. What does that really mean? So I used sweetened. I know I substituted a lot, but it turned out really good and edible. I promise to make it right next time. THANKS!

  30. Adilah Ricketts
    December 10, 2012 / 8:26 pm

    Thanks for this recipe Chris 🙂

  31. lillh
    November 17, 2012 / 4:56 pm

    i feel like eating all of it by myself ill make a bunch and i mean a who cahari full

  32. Katherine
    September 15, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    Hi Chris
    I was just wondering how much Essence goes into this recipe??

  33. lizernie millet
    April 23, 2012 / 8:31 am

    i always wanted to make this. thanks soooooo much!

  34. April 22, 2012 / 2:38 am

    Oh my goodness, I almost forgot about this! Watching it, I could almost taste it….This is about the 4th recipe tonight I've looked at. Makes me miss my dad and grandma….Just to comment on some of the concerns raised above, ginger is subject to the taster. If you picture the size of a quarter/dollar coin up to the old silver half-dollar coin size about 1/4 inch thick I think is what he means. And Essence is vanilla extract-you can get artificial one that's cheaper by a few$ compared to real vanilla extract.

  35. Anna
    April 18, 2012 / 8:47 pm

    Jeff,"Essence is usually Vanilla flavoring

    • Nick
      April 27, 2012 / 10:56 am

      Or Almond

  36. Jeff Clements
    April 16, 2012 / 9:22 pm

    What is "Essence". It is not mentioned in the ingrediants, but referred to in the instructions.

  37. dacha68
    March 15, 2012 / 12:17 am

    Hello Chris, you said that you could grate the ginger and leave in the syrup? When you gate the ginger, should you have 1 or 2 tablespoons of ginger? Trying to get an idea of how much grated ginger I should use? In terms of a "thick piece of ginger" should it be about 1 or 2 inches long?

  38. Sage
    February 29, 2012 / 12:49 am

    This has brought back fond memories with my sister and I making sugar cakes with our friends. i love how simplistic your recipe is, and love the visuals.

  39. CTM
    February 13, 2012 / 8:29 am

    Wow, this sure brings me back to being a kid in Jamaica and watching my mom make these.

  40. ellen
    January 30, 2012 / 12:53 pm

    If you don't have bayleaf try the recipe without it. Still great tasting.

  41. radha
    January 28, 2012 / 8:56 pm

    Very simple method.

  42. Tennille
    January 28, 2012 / 11:10 am

    is it ok to grate your our dry coconut and make the sugar cake or u have to use the one that's in the video?

  43. Trini
    January 22, 2012 / 11:55 am

    Those look yummy, and quite easy to make. I’m wondering where I’d find bayleaf here in Queens Ny. Any idea?

    • Jay
      January 23, 2012 / 1:47 pm

      You can find bay leaf by one of the oriental food stores by the subways or if you have one closer to you

    • Nadia
      January 24, 2012 / 3:24 pm

      in just about any food store lol…i live in Queens NY also..
      my mom was just sayin she feeling to make some sugar cake…this looks really good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *