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Thali Sweet – White Coconut Cake

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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.

Coconut Thali Cake.
East Indian Thali Coconut Cake

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.
Coconut Thali Sweet.
East Indian Thali Coconut Cake

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.
Sliced thali coconut cake.
East Indian Thali Coconut Cake

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Sliced thali coconut cake.

Thali Sweet – Coconut Cake

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Calories: 391kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 15 servings
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.

Equipment /Tools

  • Wooden spoon
  • 8-inch Thalis
  • Bowl
  • Spatula
  • 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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Nutrition Information
Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it was.Mention @veenaazmanov or tag me on Instagram #veenaazmanov

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi!
    Came across your website whilst looking for coconut pancakes! Amazing!
    I’m born in Bombay. My Mom was East Indian and my Dad Goan.
    I now live in Bahrain and am very much into Baking and run a Bakery which is in my
    Daughter’s Restaurant.

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you Chrystelle. I am from Bombay too – both my parents were born East-Indian. I live in Israel. Nice to meet you

  2. Hi Veena, Namaskar from another EI, tumhi bombai cha konthia bhaagha che aahait ? Dont know if you still speak the lingo ? I am from Thane, 3rd gen EI, now living in Canada. Been making EI recipes and sweets since childhood, it starts with helping mum and then slowly graduates to doing it on your own. I also have the EI Cookery book which first came out in May 1981. Thank you for sharing your style of cooking, its always good to learn something, could be just a lil tweak that you have been missing out.

    1. Hi Clifford. Great to meet you too. I don’t speak as fluently but I do understand some. I know what you mean. Sometimes it is the small things that make a huge difference in the recipes. Happy you are enjoying my recipes. Thanks for the lovely feedback.

      1. Hi Veena, thanx so much for your reply, which part of Bombay did you live in? This year i just finished making date rolls and nankaties, will be making the gram dal sweet tomorrow, and a few other regular ones. The thalie sweet was a fav in my family as my mum used to make it on the 24th dec which was her birthday, since we couldn’t serve any of the christmas sweets, but she would make it with gram dal as the main ingredient, so the same as your receipe, but just add 300 gms of boiled, gram dal paste. whenever you get the chance you try it. Thank you, Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family. God Bless.

        1. Hey Clifford. I live in Israel now but I am originally from Santacruz and I lived for many years in Goa which is why I have quite a few Goan recipes too.
          I’ve always had Thali sweet with pure white grated coconut so I’m quite intrigued with the idea of adding gram dal to it.
          My kids love this coconut version of my mom so I always make this one but someday I’ll try to sneak in some gram dal.

          1. I will send you a pic of the gram dal thalie sweet after i bake it today. All your recipes are so simple and so well detailed. you have truly made this a go to site for me, inspite of having the EI cookery book and been doing all this for like close to 30 years now. But like i said earlier, sometimes you always learn a tweak to two from someone else and that really help to improve yourself. Maybe you should also start putting on some simple Jewish recipes. Thanks so much, Merry Christmas, Happy New year and may the Blessings and Grace of our Lord Jesus be with you and your family.

          2. Thank you, Clifford. Happy to know you are enjoying my recipes. I do have Jewish recipes on my main blog Veena Azmanov . If you get a chance take a look at it.