Coconut Berry Rum Cake

On a snowy day, I chanced upon Bibikan, a Sri Lankan Coconut Cake, in one of my chat groups (of engineers, but endearingly eclectic). Snowbound, I quickly adapted the bibikan to my pantry ingredients- no, I did not have fresh coconut nor kithul treacle nor …
I deviate significantly, but the makeover is stunningly delicious. Topped with berries and rum, it’s a keeper. Enjoy!




  • 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut + 4 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or, to taste)
  • Flour: 3/4 cup fine bulgur + 3/4 cup coconut flour (or almond flour)
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  • Aromatics: 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon powder, cardamom powder; 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • Leavening: 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • Seasoning: dash salt + 1 tbsp White balsamic (optional)
  • Fruits & nuts (chopped, measuring 1 cup): dried figs + dried mulberries + walnuts + macadamia nuts
  • Topping: maple syrup, berries and black cherry rum


Toast the desiccated coconut lightly, add about a quarter cup of coconut milk to moisten and then add the coconut palm sugar and mix thoroughly on low heat for 2-3 mins.

Toast the fine bulgur till fragrant, then gradually add a about a quarter cup coconut milk, cover and cook on low heat or a few minutes. Repeat this using up all the coconut milk till the bulgar is no longer gritty (taste it as you go). You may have to use additionally 1/4-1/2 cup water.

Mix in all the ingredients -except the toppings-, place in a baking pot, decorate with macadamia nuts, cover and bake for 40 mins at 350 F. Let cool on wire rack.

Serve cold with the toppings.


  1. Adjust the sweetening to your taste. Mine is on the low side, but I do kick it up with some maple syrup as topping.
  2. The coconut flour can be replaced by almond flour or any other interesting grain flour. The bulgur gives it softness and body.
  3. Bulgur is lightly pre-steamed cracked wheat. Sooji is a good substitute.
  4. Indeed, you can use any other dried fruits and nuts of your choice. I keep it to just one cup to avoid a very chewy texture.
  5. I used an oven-proof French Bean pot– so I did not have to line the pan. I bake this covered to keep it moist.
  6. With all the coconut, it is surprisingly not overwhelming. The berries and rum complement it well.
  7. Coconut Bulgur Breakfast Porridge: Yet another delicious incarnation.
    Toast the coconut and mix in the sweetner. Toast the bulgur till fragrant. Then directly in the baking pot, mix all the ingredients –except topping– with a wire whisk adding 12 oz water. The mixture will be thin– the bulgur thickens when cooked. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.

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One thought on “Coconut Berry Rum Cake

  1. Maybe this can last for a year when made … ?? so you can make cup sized versions and hand out as gifts during your next visit to homeland !!!

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