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!
For this recipe we will need to set 1 tbsp dry yeast with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.
Mix together and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments.
While the yeast sets, prepare your wet ingredients by combining 1 cup of warm milk, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 egg. Whisk together until the sugar melts.
Now for the dry ingredients: Mix together 3 cups of sieved flour with 1 tsp salt. I use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.
Once the yeast ferments, combine the milk/butter/eggs mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached. Then, mix in flour and salt mixture until a soft dough is formed. Turn onto a floured surface and knead dough into a semi stiff ball.
Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).
While you wait for the dough to prove (rise to double its size), prepare the coconut filling. Add 3 cups of shredded coconut to a small mixing bowl. Then, add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.. Mix together.
Next add1 tbsp red food coloring to the coconut mixture. Mix together until all the coconut pieces are covered with the coloring.
Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface. Punch down and roll into a large rectangular shape.
Brush the edges of the dough with egg white. This helps to seal the roll and prevents it from unfolding while baking. Then add the coconut filling to the dough, spreading as evenly as possible.
This is what your dough should look like once covered with coconut filling. You should try to get the filling as close to the edge as possible.
Let’s roll this bad boy into a log! Roll the edge closest to you, up and away from you about 2 inches in, then brush with some egg white.
Continue to roll until all the dough is rolled up into a log.
Place in a greased baking pan or on a greased baking sheet and coat the top of the roll with whisked egg yolk. Let sit until it doubles in size (for about 30 to 40 minutes).
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Make a very simple syrup/glaze by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Brush roll with the syrup. This gives salara the stickiness it is known to have. When somewhat cooled, slice it up and enjoy. Preferably with a glass of cream soda with milk!
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
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ 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 and 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.
2. I'm using store bought, shredded coconut because that's what I have available where I live. If you are using fresh shredded coconut you will need to add about ¼ 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.
5. It takes a lot of food coloring to get this to the right shade of red. The salara pictured here in my opinion still needs some more food coloring to get to that bright red that salara traditionally gets. I've found that using gel coloring is a lot better than the one I have pictured above.
Tips and Ramblings: