Most people call salara, red cake, because the coconut filling is dyed a bright red color. But this is far from a cake. If anything it is a coconut bread or coconut roll. None the less, it is really moist and the delicious red coconut filling is simply that, delicious. If you love coconut this is a recipe you must try. If you’re Guyanese and haven’t had red cake in a while, here’s your opportunity to make your own.
Before we get started I must say that it took me some time to perfect this recipe. This is not my original recipe, but a recipe taken from Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.” I’ve tried this recipe several times, the dough is always perfect but I couldn’t get the filling just right. First, it was not red enough, then it was too sweet, then, it was runny and too red. Finally, I nailed it and the hubby was pleased! Mainly because he wasn’t stuck with a roll of not so perfect salara that he was forced to eat. Ha ha.
So here you go, try it and let me know how it comes out!
Salara (Red Coconut Cake) Makes 1 large roll.
1 tbsp dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp plus ¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, separated
3 cup shredded coconut (store bought, sweetened)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp red food coloring
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Combine yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments. Warm the milk, then dissolve the sugar into the milk. Add the butter and 1 whole egg. Whisk together. Set aside. Sieve flour, add salt and mix together. Add fermented yeast and milk mixture a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add flour and salt mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough. Turn dough unto a floured work surface and knead into a moderately stiff ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, let rise to double in size for about 1 hour.
Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.
Once dough ball has risen to twice its original size, turn unto a floured surface and punch down. Roll dough into a large rectangle and brush edges with egg white. Cover dough with coconut filling, spreading filling evenly and as close to the edges as possible. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Seal edges. Place roll in a greased baking pan or sheet. Brush roll with whisked egg yolk, cover and let sit until it doubles in size. Bake at 350°F (190°C) for 20 – 30 minutes.
To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from the heat.
Once the salara is golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the top with the sugar glaze. Let cool, cut into slices and enjoy.
Tips and Ramblings:
1. The original recipe by Dr Betty “K” can be found on Guyana Outpost. I’ve modified it quite a bit but didn’t want to claim it as my own.
2. I’m using store bought, shredded coconut because I like the flavor of that one over fresh shredded coconut. If you are using fresh shredded coconut you will need to add about 1/4 cup of sugar to your filling.
3. The glaze is a simple syrup.
4. This makes a pretty huge roll, because the best salara’s I’ve had back home, are usually a large slice that can serve as a meal.