I’m so pleased with myself in relation to the results of this coconut cake. This cake had to be one of my favourite cakes to eat as a youngster. Our family were hooked on it, being the coconut lovers they were and still are to this day. Toto (Pronounced Toe Toe) is a Caribbean cake made with an admixture of spices, flour, milk, butter and of course shredded coconut.
When I first begun blogging I knew many cultural recipes would be a challenge and Toto was one of the many difficulties I’d face. I still run into many issues during my trial and error with Caribbean cooking. On the one hand, there’s the ever-growing challenge of learning what substitutes work best as per recipe and then there’s ensuring the substitute meets the grade.
At times like this I’m so thankful to be surrounded by a bunch of people who are more than willing to participant in sampling my cooking – some are hits and others require further revision. It took me several months of frustration to finally craft this recipe.
Pseudo grain free flours such as buckwheat were far too heavy for such a light, fluffy cake. Replicating the fluffiness was virtually impossible. At one point I was on the verge of giving up (reluctantly) but my fighting spirit wouldn’t succumb.
As I was browsing through the internet, totally unrelated, seeking some ideas for a pizza crust, I somehow wound up looking at a recipe using ground almonds. A light bulb soon went off in my head, my immediate thoughts turned to making a Caribbean cake – Toto, BAM……JACKPOT!
Toto is a very light, delicate cake, infused with spices – allspice (pimento), ginger and nutmeg. The spices reflect some of the key notes in Caribbean cooking, each spice playing it’s own role.
Ground almonds are partial to eggs as opposed to milk, the structure of flourless cakes seem to uphold with the use of more eggs with no milk. Therefore, you will notice that my rendition omits the use of milk yet yield a foolproof result.
In order to get that fluffy result I highly recommend creaming the dry ingredients with eggs yolks then folding in the egg whites (fold not mix, to avoid the air escaping).
C’mon let’s get baking!
- 1½ cup of ground almonds
- ¾ cup of shredded coconut
- ¾ cup of coconut palm sugar
- ½ tsp of baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp of allspice (ground pimento)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 vanilla pod scraped)
- ¼ tsp of pink salt
- 4 large eggs (separate yolks and egg whites)
- ¼ cup of dairy free butter, melted (see recipe above)
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius or gas mark 4
- Line a square baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and combine.
- Stir in the melted butter and the egg yolks until everything is mixed together evenly and set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites using a hand handle whisk or an electronic version if possible until the egg whites form soft white fluffy peaks.
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter, rotating the bowl with each fold. If folding in the egg whites appears too difficult, run the batter with the egg whites in a food processor or mixer for a few seconds only to combine and ensure the egg whites retain air in order for the cake to be fluffy.
- Pour the cake batter into a square baking tray.
- Bake the cake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, it should be golden brown and firm to the touch. Test the readiness by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean, its cooked in it's entirety or continue to cook if the skewer is left with residue.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack
- Serve accordingly.
- Store in an air tight container and eat within a few days or freeze for longevity.