Baked in a tray the thali sweet is a white cake made with fresh coconut, semolina, and egg whites. The ground almond and coconut add to the texture and sweetness of this cake. A must-make Christmas treat during the holidays but often made during traditional East-Indian weddings.
Thali refers to a tray and sweet refers to the cake. So this is thali sweet. It is fairly white in color because we use only white ingredients such as egg whites, white butter, blanched almond flour, almond extract, etc.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Butter – I use white unsalted butter as it’s the best for baking. If you use salted butter omit salt in the recipe. My mom would replace ⅓ of the butter with double cream or malai which she would scoop out herself from the milk every day. Malai is white so it helps keep the cake white
- Sugar – use fine-grain sugar that will dissolve into the butter during the creaming process. If you only get coarse sugar pulse it in the food processor a few times to make it finer.
- Eggs – we use weight measurement for the eggs because all eggs are different in size and weight. Ideally, each large egg should be about 60 grams with shell and about 50 grams without a shell.
- All-purpose flour – Not much but just enough to combine it with the leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda.
- Coconut – For this cake, we use fresh coconut. My mom always grated only the white part of the coconut and then ground it in the blender with just a little bit of coconut water.
Tips for Success
- Make sure the ingredients are all at room temperature, especially the butter and eggs.
- Grind the coconut fine otherwise, the cake with be very crumbly.
- Do not overbake this cake. Overbaking can make the cake dry.
- The lack of flour in this recipe makes the cake very delicate so it can break easily.
- Fresh coconut does not have a long shelf life so this cake will not stay at room temperature for more than two days. You can also keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
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- Wooden spoon
- 8-inch Thalis
- Flat spatula
- 170 grams (¾ cups) Unsalted white butter
- 200 grams (1 cups) Caster sugar
- 200 g (4 large) Egg Whites
- 25 g (2 large) Egg yolk
- 150 grams (1 cups) Semolina soji / rawa
- 1 cup (80 g) Ground coconut finely ground – about 1 fresh coconuts
- 30 grams (4 tbsp) Ground almonds blanched almond meal
- ½ tsp Rose extract
- Preheat the oven to 325°F / 165°C / Gas Mark 3
- Pan – Grease, and dust with flour 2 9-inch thali or trays. Pro tip – this delicate cake is usually not unmolded but cut in the thali or tray. If you want to unmold it – line the tray with parchment paper.
- Cream – In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time.
- Dry ingredients – Add the semolina, ground almonds, and ground coconut followed by the rose extract.
- Whip – In a clean grease free bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks
- Fold – Then, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter in three batches making sure not to overmix.
- Pan – Divide the batter between the prepared baking thalis/trays and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool – Cool on a white rack for a few minutes. This thali sweet will keep fresh for 2 days at room temperature or 4 days in the fridge.
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