Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In January a year ago, my New Year’s resolution had been to cook every single recipe in my Mom’s college cooking-class notebook – now named by some of my Instagram friends as “Mom’s Golden Book,” and that too in order! But the going has been slow, and when I hit “Invalid Cookery,” I decided it was time to skip ahead to baking section!

Anandita and myself at The Pepper Cook Studio

As a bread-and-pizza-only baker, I looked for the easiest recipe to start with (I’m the Goddess of easy!) I found a nicely written recipe in old measurement terminology (1½ – 2 gills of milk!) (a gill I discovered is the equivalent of a teacup or 142 ml.)

This recipe is for ANY fruit cake, but I decided to make it with cardamom and coconut – staples from Kerala.  Also, they gave a lightly Indian touch to my cake.  I was fortunate to have Anandita Parekh, a graduate of Barnard College, who lives in New York, to help me with this cake.  You can watch her make it in the video below.

What I love about the recipe – other than the fact you can substitute any cooked fruit and spice – is that it involves crumbling together the butter and flour, and not using a hand mixer.  I can’t imagine any of my children – three college students and one young professional – having baking equipment in their kitchens!  So this makes the recipe so much more novice-cook friendly! Which means, anyone can make it!  The aroma of the cardamom and coconut in your kitchen will be absolutely enticing! Try it!

Coconut Cardamom Cake


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder Buy Keya Cardamom Powder Now!
  • ½ cup butter (4 ozs, 1 stick or about 114g)
  • ½ cup sugar (4 ozs  or about 115g)
  • ½ cup milk (4 ozs or 125ml)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup fresh grated coconut or (½ cup desiccated coconut plus 2 tablespoons milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Butter to butter pan


  1. Heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  2. Sieve the flour with salt, baking powder, and cardamom powder.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your hands until you form fine crumbs.
  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix well thoroughly with a wooden spoon. If using desiccated coconut instead of fresh, combine with 2 tablespoons extra milk to soften.)
  5. Consistency – The mixture should drop from the spoon when shaken.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: 10

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes

Critical Ingredients: Actually, in the original recipe, the coconut is written as ½ a cup of cooked fruit, with your choice of spice.  So a nice alternative to coconut is cooked apples, with cinnamon instead of cardamom.  Of course, as the moisture levels will change, the cake may take longer to cook. You could also use pears, figs, and most non-watery fruit!  An alternative to cardamom powder is of course cinnamon or nutmeg.  I think saffron may also work with the coconut and would add a nice pink tinge! Soak the saffron in a bit of milk first!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *