Desserts & Treats/ Jamaican

Jamaican Toto Cake (Coconut Cake)

December 1, 2023 (Last Updated: December 3, 2023)

Toto cake, also known as coconut cake, is a fluffy, moist Jamaican cake made with grated coconut, coconut milk, spices and a touch of rum. This simple sweet treat bakes in just 20 minutes and will transport your taste buds to the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean immediately!

jamaican coconut cake sliced in cake pan.

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Toto cake, also known as coconut cake, is a fluffy, moist Jamaican cake made with grated coconut, coconut milk, spices and a touch of rum. This simple sweet treat bakes in just 20 minutes and will transport your taste buds to the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean immediately!

For more Jamaican cake recipes try Jamaican Black Cake, Vegan Jamaican Black Cake Recipe (Eggless), Grater Cake and Bulla Cake next.

coconut cake sliced in cake pan.

Jamaican Toto Cake

This coconut dessert is very popular in Jamaica, in my household and will be in yours too! If you love coconut, toto cake was made for you! Fresh coconut is grated and combined with warm spices, sugar and coconut milk for a sweet, spiced, nutty dessert that will have you scraping your plate for each mouthwatering morsel.

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Toto Cake Recipe

  • Better than Storebought: Skip the boxed cake mix at the grocery store. This is fresher with more flavour, for a better-tasting treat.
  • Easy to Make: With just 20 minutes of hands-on prep, this recipe comes together in under 1 hour with pantry staples.
  • Great Anytime Snack: This Jamaican coconut cake doesn’t have frosting so it’s not too sweet to enjoy in the morning with tea. But I’ve also enjoyed it as a midday pick-me-up and a dessert after dinner.

What is Toto Cake?

Toto cake is a Jamaican coconut cake infused with spices and rum.

Jamaican Toto Cake History

Like many dishes in Jamaican cuisine, this delicacy has African roots. Enslaved Africans made coconut cakes out of coconut, molasses and flour to fight malnourishment. The recipe eventually evolved to include ingredients like spices, rum and even raisins.

Coconut is pretty much synonymous with Jamaica and the Caribbean. This versatile fruit is the heart of so many recipes.

toto cake.

What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)

  • Mixing Bowls: Use them to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  • Electric Mixer or Hand Mixer: This is optional but convenient. Alternatively, use a wooden spoon or a spatula to cream the butter and sugar.
  • Baking Pan: Use an 8-inch square or round baking pan to bake toto cake.
  • Whisk: Use this to combine the dry ingredients.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: Use this to accurately measure the ingredients.
  • Spatula: For scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl and for smoothing the batter in the baking pan.

Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

  • Butter: Use salted butter softened to room temperature.
  • Light Brown Sugar and Granulated White Sugar: Brown sugar contains molasses, which gives it a distinct caramel flavour and a slightly higher moisture content compared to white sugar. Combining light brown sugar with white sugar adds a depth of flavour to the toto cake.
  • All Purpose Flour: This ingredient is essential for cake.
  • Baking Powder: This helps the cake properly rise so it becomes light and fluffy during baking.
  • Grated Coconut: Fresh coconut is best for this Jamaican coconut cake.
  • Vanilla Extract: This adds a warm vanilla flavour.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg add a cozy, warm depth to the overall taste.
  • Salt: This prevents the cake from tasting flat.
  • Coconut Milk: This enriches the cake and adds more coconut flavour. You can use whole milk as a substitute.
  • Eggs: This adds structure and moisture.
  • Overproof White Rum: It’s not enough to get you drunk. Rum intensifies the flavour and adds moisture for a more tender crumb.

How to Grate Coconut

To grate fresh coconut quickly, crack open the coconut, remove the flesh from the shell using a knife, and cut it into smaller pieces. Secure a fine grater on a stable surface or use the fine grating side of a box grater.

Hold a coconut piece and rub it against the grater with firm, downward strokes. Be cautious of your fingers. Continue grating until all the coconut flesh is grated. Collect the grated coconut in a bowl or on a clean surface. Use it immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for later use.

How to Make Toto Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square or round baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, grated coconut, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract, rum and milk then whisk in well.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the toto cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares or slices and enjoy!

Recipe Substitutions and Tips

  • Add-Ins: Elevate the cake with a tasty addition like chocolate chips, chopped nuts, currants or raisins.
  • Spices: Swap any of the spices in this recipe for ginger or allspice.
  • Dried Coconut: If fresh coconut isn’t an option, you can use pre-shredded coconut.

Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Grate the coconut finely for a smooth texture in the cake. Freshly grated coconut provides better moisture and flavour.
  • Do not just dump all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. The creaming method used in this recipe involves beating softened butter and sugar together until creamy, creating a light and fluffy base. Then gradually add the eggs, followed by alternating additions of dry and wet ingredients, resulting in a well-aerated batter that yields a tender and moist toto cake.
  • Mix the batter thoroughly but avoid overmixing once you add the dry ingredients. Overmixing can result in a dense cake.
  • Allow the cake to cool down before removing it from the pan. It’s very delicate and can fall apart if removed too soon.
coconut cake.

Can I Make Jamaican Coconut Cake Ahead of Time?

Coconut cakes, especially those with high moisture content, can be prone to spoilage especially if not stored properly. My recommendation is to prepare this cake the day or or prior to the day you intend on consuming. Or, use desiccated or dried coconut as opposed to fresh to extend it’s shelf life.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover Jamaican coconut cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day. Please note, if fresh coconut is used, it will reduce the cake’s shelf life compared to using desiccated or dried coconut. That being said, fresh provides the best most authentic flavour.

Reheating Instructions

There’s no need to reheat toto cake but if you want to get rid of the fridge chill, let it sit on the kitchen counter for 15 minutes so it can come to room temperature.

overhead view of jamaican toto cake.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Jamaican Toto cake made of?

Toto cake is made with butter, sugar, all purpose flour, baking powder, grated coconut, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, coconut milk, eggs and white rum.

Why is my coconut cake dense?

A dense coconut cake could be the result of overmixing the batter, using too much flour, or not incorporating enough baking powder. Overmixing can lead to gluten development, making the cake dense. Ensure you measure ingredients accurately, avoid overmixing, and follow the recipe’s leavening agent proportions to achieve a lighter texture.

What can I serve with toto cake?

Toto Cake is delicious on its own, but you can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of rum sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an even more indulgent treat.

Interested in more Jamaican Dessert Recipes? Check These Out!

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jamaican coconut cake sliced in cake pan.

Jamaican Toto Cake (Coconut Cake)

Taneisha Morris
Toto cake, also known as coconut cake, is a fluffy, moist Jamaican cake made with grated coconut, coconut milk, spices and a touch of rum. This simple sweet treat bakes in just 20 minutes.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Desserts & Treats
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 16 servings
Calories 227 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 Mixing Bowls to combine the wet and dry ingredients
  • Electric Mixer or Hand Mixer optional, or wooden spoon or a spatula to cream the butter and sugar
  • Baking Pan 8-inch square or round baking pan
  • Whisk or whisking together the dry ingredients
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups to accurately measure the ingredients.
  • Spatula For scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl and for smoothing the batter in the baking pan.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Salted Butter softened to room temp
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Grated Coconut
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1-2 tbsp Overproof White Rum

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square or round baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract, rum and milk then whisk in well.
  • Gradually add the grated coconut then dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the Toto cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares or slices and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 178mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 178IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
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