Bebinca – Traditional Goan Layered Coconut Cake

Bebinca – Traditional Goan Layered Coconut Cake

Quick Overview:

This is, in my opinion, of the queens of Indian desserts, especially as it’s so different to it’s various companions. Bebinca hails from the coastal state of Goa, famous for it’s pork vindaloo, psychedelic trance parties and legendary beaches. Whilst this does take a while to make, the wait and effort is well rewarded. Historically, one would hear many things about Bebinca – how it would contain 100 egg yolks, take a whole day to make. Whilst the origin of the dessert is unkown,  it is often attributed to the Portuguese dessert, Bebinca das Sete Folhas, while others say it  originated in Malaysia, where it is known as binga or kuch lapis. A second theory states that it was devised by a nun (named Bebiana ) from the Convent of Santa Monica in Goa with the seven original layers symbolizing the seven hills in Lisbon.

Over time, tradition has come to dictate that the cake has 16 layers and whilst it no longer contains 100 yolks, it does take it’s time to cook and still remains incredibly rich and decadent. After all, aren’t some of the best things in life that way?



  • 400 g- Caster Sugar
  • 300 ml - coconut milk
  • 10 - Egg yolks (medium - large)
  • 50 g - plain flour, sieved
  • 50 g - ground almonds
  • pinch - ground nutmeg
  • pinch - ground cardamom
  • pinch - ground cinnamon
  • 120g - clarified butter
Equipment Needed
  • 1 - 8 inch spring form cake tin (round or square)
  • pastry brush


  1. Whisk half the sugar with the coconut milk and set aside
  2. Mix the yolks with the remaining sugar and whisk (preferably by machine) for 5 minutes until the yolks are thick and creamy
  3. Fold the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the butter into the yolk mixture
  4. Heat up your grill and brush the cake tin with some of the clarified butter.
    Pour enough batter to make a 1 cm layer and put the pan under the grill - Make sure it's a few shelves lower as you want the batter to cook, not burn.
    If the top is colouring too fast and the batter isn't cooked, just put the tin on a lower rack.

    If your oven has 2 separate grill & bake sections, I would advise using the oven bit (set to 200c temperature)
  5. Once the first layer has cooked and is firm to the touch (the top should be caramelised), brush it with clarified butter and pour another layer of batter on top.
    Repeat this process until all the batter is used up. Make sure each layer is cooked through before adding more batter!
  6. Allow the cake to cool and set before unmoulding.

    Best had on its own or with some vanilla ice cream