baath cake/ goan coconut cake

Nik Sharma

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Baath cake with tea


It’s finally feeling a lot like winter, the winds are chilly and almost every leaf that was once green and had turned a fiery shade of autumn is now lying on the sidewalks. Even my precious fig tree in the garden has lost most of its leaves and looks like a naked elongated branched creature protruding out from the ground. Cold weather also makes it way harder for me to get up early in the morning when all I want to do is curl up and stay warm under the covers. Thankfully, the holidays make winter fun and it gets me excited for all the things I can do. For me, cooking and baking all sorts of special holiday recipes that I grew up eating or for that matter even venturing out into unfamiliar culinary territories makes it fun. An even more special moment for me is when I surprise my family and friends with some of my favorite holiday desserts. This year will be no different, I’ve already shipped some stuff out to a few people that I know will be surprised and hopefully happy when they receive their packages this week.

Whisk some Eggs

In the next few weeks, I am going to continue to share some of my favorite holiday recipes with you. One of these holiday recipes is this delicious and traditional Goan cake that was served at almost every holiday occasion such as Christmas and Easter, as far as I can remember. Goa has a lot of coconut trees and consequently they became a major part of the regional diet and lifestyle over time. The Baath cake is rich in coconut flavored with rose water that gives it a wonderfully nutty and floral fragrance at the same time. Besides its heavenly taste and aroma, the cake is also very moist and tender. This is the second semolina based cake recipe that I have shared with you.
Shredded Coconut and Cake

This is a simple and easy cake recipe to prepare. However, you must let the cake batter soak anywhere from a few hours to overnight, this will allow the semolina to absorb all the liquid and swell up. The resultant cake has a nice moist and plump crumb that is soaked up with all the deliciousness of the coconut and rose water flavors. You can serve this cake warm or cold. The original recipe that I had was very rich and had way too much sugar and eggs that I have tried to cut back without really compromising on the taste or the quality of the cake. I used reduced-fat coconut milk in my recipe to cut back on the fat and also because coconuts are seasonal. If you can find fresh coconuts, I recommend using two cups of finely grated coconuts instead of the coconut milk and the 1/4 cup of shredded coconut. The finer the shreds the better the texture of the cake. Personally, I like to serve the cake in small bite-sized pieces with hot tea or coffee.
Freshly cut and baked right out of the oven

baath cake/goan coconut cake

ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups semolina flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shredded/grated unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup rose water

2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk

1. Line a 9X10 inch baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to size. Spray the sheet and pan with a neutral cooking oil spray.
2. Cream the butter, eggs, and sugar till fluffy using an electric mixer.
3. Fold in the semolina, salt, baking powder, coconut, rose water, and coconut milk. Then mix for another 2 minutes with the mixer until all the ingredients are combined. 
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Seal the pan with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 
5. The cake batter will have set by this point. Bake the cake for 40 minutes in the center of the middle rack of an oven that is preheated to 350F.
6. The cake is done when it gets golden brown on the surface or when a knife comes out clean from the center.  Allow to cool in the baking pan, serve warm or chilled with tea or coffee.

24 Responses

  1. Beautiful fluffy cake! I have many cans of coconut milk in my pantry (mostly for savory dishes, such as Thai soups and curries). Maybe, I'll use one of them for a dessert dish finally.

  2. That was interesting about leaving the semolina flour to soak. I make a polenta cake which can be a little gritty. I wonder if letting it sit for a while would do the same thing.

  3. I love the idea of coconut and rose water together in a cake. Is this one sickening sweet, as most Indian semolina desserts tend to be?

  4. Honestly, it depends on where and what you have tried but when traditionally made at home Indian semolina based desserts are generally not that sweet, at least that is how I grew up eating them. This cake is not excessively sweet and I prefer it like that. You could cut back a little more on the sugar if you prefer but keep it near 2 cups.

  5. Hi Nik,
    I am so delighted to find a well-structured blog with a great recipe for baath! I've always wanted to make it, but the number of eggs (and the implied calories) terrified me. This Christmas I went ahead and made traditional Goan/Mangalorean sweets like snow balls and marzipan. I'm making baath today. Thanks again for your lovely blog. I plan to be regular visitor 🙂

  6. Hello All,
    I was jus wondering if there is anyone or any shop which sells baath cake in mumbai. I require 1 KG. pls let me know.. Thanks .. Good Day

  7. I am sorry, I am not quite sure where you would find a bakery that sold one in Mumbai. We always had ours made at home but I am sure there must be a place/person that would. Good luck!

  8. Hi Sally,
    How are you ? Thank you for the email, unfortunately I have never baked a cake on a slow gas flame but I have seen one or two people do this in Goa, where they use a special oven that is like a metal box that can sit on a gas flame. So yes it is possible if you have the right equipment but I honestly have no experience using one. You will need to create a hot air cushion between the cake pan and the flame to ensure that only the hot air comes into contact with the pan and not the flame.
    Here are some links that I found that might be helpful,
    https://www.lehmans.com/p-2633-stove-top-portable-oven.aspx
    http://theboatgalley.com/omnia-stove-top-baking-oven/

    Again, I have no experience using either but I have seen an oven like the one from Lehman's being used to bake cakes.
    Have a wonderful weekend and I hoped this helped,
    Cheers,
    Nik

  9. Hi Nik,

    All you needed as ingredients for this simple yet scrumptiously, light and I can just imagine how indulging it is…oops! got side tracked there for a second. But, the only ingredients that you needed to have this Polynesian woman at full attention is COCONUT milk and shredded COCONUT! Being of Samoan ethnicity, the islands of Samoa & American Samoa flourishes with coconut trees galore so coconuts is an ingredient used daily in our dishes. But, we rarely use the white delight much for dessert dishes. There might be altogether 2 dessert dishes that calls for coconut, but, you have brought the most enormous smile because of my love for coconut with this obviously simple dessert that I can totally assume to be full of flavor with the addition of rose water to the recipe. Any dessert with coconut in it is in my opinion, the "BOMB-DIGGITY"!! Again, this simple photo plus the word COCONUT in my opinion tastes HEAVENLY!!

    1. Hi Jacinta, I normally let it thaw to room temperature but if I’m short on time, I have stuck a slice in the oven and/or microwave until it light warm. Don’t overheat or it might rubbery.

  10. if the batter kept overnight does it have to be in the fridge or can be kept at room temperature overnight?

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