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Foodie Tuesday: Grater Cake

Jamaica produces about 95 million coconuts each year – a large number of which is consumed locally. The mature fruit forms the basis for confectioneries such as grater cake, gizzada, and drops that are popular among Jamaicans. These coconut treats turn up in grocery shops, in the baskets of itinerant food sellers and on fancy tables.

Pink & White Grater Cake
Pink topping

A few weeks ago, I attended an event and was pleasantly surprised to see grater cakes among the sweets on the dessert table. Grater cakes are made primarily of sugar and grated or shredded coconut with a little almond essence. It’s relatively easy to make and perhaps because it’s mostly sugar, satisfies the sweet tooth.

Granny is
fried dumplin’ an’ run-dung,
coconut drops an’ grater cake,
fresh ground coffee smell in the mornin’
when we wake.
– From the poem, Granny is, by Valerie Bloom

In the old days, we made grater cake with wet sugar, which is raw or unrefined sugar, also called Muscovado sugar. Wet sugar isn’t as popular as it used to be so now we use granulated (white) sugar.


How to Make Grater Cake


3 cups dried or shredded coconut
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon almond essence
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red food colouring (optional)


Peel off the outer layer (brown portion) of the dried coconut, wash, grate and set aside.
Combine grated coconut, granulated sugar and water in a pot and put to boil. Reduce to medium flame, mix in the almond essence and the salt. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.
Remove a 1/3 of the mixture and add a small amount of red food colouring to give a delicate pink colour.
Scrape remaining coconut mixture into a greased casserole dish and spread evenly.
Spread the pink coloured coconut evenly over the white mixture.
Set aside for 25-30 minutes or until sufficiently cooled.
Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe from

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