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In my constant search for less processed foods, I recently discovered jaggery. Over here in Dubai, it is fortunately very easy to find, and is cheap – ranging from less than the equivalent of $1 per 500g packet up to about $10, depending on quality.

Like sugar, jaggery usually comes from sugar cane (it also comes from sago, coconut and date palms), but it is a softer, crumbly substance made from the unprocessed and unrefined cane juice (simply boiled until it becomes a paste), then poured into moulds to set. It does not undergo any bleaching or refining of any kind, and so retains its natural colour, fiber, mineral salts and flavour. It is known to release energy slower than processed sugar, making it better for people with blood sugar issues. It’s sweet, and is a form of sugar though, so don’t go thinking it’s calorie-free.

But the price, process and the health benefits are not the only reason I love it. It tastes amazing. The mineral salts can be detected, and the molasses tint gives it a flavour almost like salted caramel. It is just so much more complex than sugar. It melts easily, can be cut off in shards for nibbling, and can be crushed in a blender.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g chopped jaggery
  • 200ml virgin coconut oil
  • 100ml tinned coconut cream (the clear substance drained from the bottom *see frosting)
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour (I used Doves Farm Gluten Free)
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • pinch salt

Instructions:

  1. Set oven to 180༠C (375༠F). Melt jaggery with coconut oil slowly in a pot over the stove, crushing as you go – try not to get it too hot, because the hotter it is, the longer you have to wait for it to cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, adding drained coconut cream and vanilla as you go. Then add the flour, salt and jaggery mix alternating and whisk gently until there are no lumps

  3. Pour into a greased bunt tin and cook for 35 minutes or until a knife tests clean
 

For the Frosting:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100g vegetarian shortening or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons thick coconut cream *(skim this off the top of the tin’s contents before you make the cake and place in the fridge until you are ready to make the frosting)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • (optional) lime zest

Instructions:

  1. start with the shortening and whip up until fluffy, then add salt and vanilla. 
  2. continue beating, alternating with additions of coconut cream and icing sugar until you get a cappucino-like consistency
  3. Ice cake cool – it melts easily. Scatter with sifted icing sugar, or if you don’t have picky kids, sprinkle lime zest.

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3 thoughts on “Coconut and Jaggery cake”

  1. Sarah, what is this? I have been staring and staring and staring! It's like a cake out of the dreams or something that must have dropped from a starry sky!We use lot of jaggery (the date jaggery) in making Bengali sweets. Infact my parents are here and my mum has made some Rice Pudding with jaggery.

Some other suggestions or opinion to add? Please comment