Jamaican toto recipe – Toto (Pronounced toe toe) is a grain free version of this Caribbean coconut cake infused with nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
I’m so pleased with myself in relation to the results of this coconut cake. This extra moist coconut cake had to be my favourite coconut dessert to eat as a youngster. Our family were hooked on it, being the coconut lovers they were and still are to this day.
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.
Trial and error – making gluten free Jamaican toto
-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 – Jamaican toto, BAM……JACKPOT!
What is Jamaican toto?
Jamaican toto (pronounced Toe Toe) is a delicate Caribbean coconut 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 to achieve that deep island taste..
Toto is just one of many Jamaican dishes containing coconut. There are a few more Jamaican desserts with coconut including gizzarda and grater cake.
Is this Jamaican toto gluten free?
Yes, it is as, ground almond were used as a gluten free alternative. It is also a great flourless substitute too.
Also, ground almonds are partial to eggs as opposed to milk. The structure of this flourless cakes seem to uphold with the use of more eggs with little to no milk. Therefore, you will notice that my rendition omits the use of milk yet yield a foolproof result.
Tips on how to make Jamaican toto – gluten free
- Separate the yolks from the egg whites, whisk and fold them into the cake batter to make the cake fluffy.
- Use a square baking tray i.e 4.5cm H x 22.5cm W x 22.5cm
- Make sure the tray is fitted if you’re a novice to baking in case the batter leaks from improper use.
C’mon let’s get baking!
Jamaican Toto (Coconut Cake)
- 1 1/2 cup of ground almonds
- 3/4 cup of shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of allspice ground pimento
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod scraped
- 1/4 tsp of pink salt
- 4 large eggs separate yolks and egg whites
- 1/4 cup of dairy free butter melted (see recipe above)
- 2 tbsp of almond milk
- 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 with the almond milk until everything is mixed together evenly then 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.