Sri Lankan Bibikkan

Sri Lankan Bibikkan


Traditional Sri Lankan coconut cake, or bibikkan, is a classic sweet typically made for New Year’s celebrations. These vegan sweet goodies are loaded with cashews, dates, and raisins and make the best addition to your next tea party.

Cook Time
1 hr 40 min
Total Time
2 hr 28 min
16 servings

How to Make It

1. Step
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Step
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a medium bowl.
3. Step
In a medium skillet over medium heat, dry toast the fennel seeds, cardamom pods, and cloves until the fennel seeds start to brown. Transfer the spices to a mortar and pestle and grind into a powder. Discard the outer shell of the cardamom pods.
4. Step
Heat a large, high-walled pan over medium heat. Add the kithul jaggery and 1½ cups of coconut treacle. Stir until the jaggery dissolves and combines with the treacle, 8-10 minutes. Add the shredded coconut, mix well, and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the treacle starts to simmer.
5. Step
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lime zest, salt, vanilla, dates, raisins, ginger, cashews, and ground spices. Mix well to combine. Add the semolina, a little at a time, and mix well to incorporate. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
6. Step
Add the flour and baking powder mixture, a little at a time, and mix well to combine.
7. Step
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
8. Step
Bake the cake for 50 minutes, until golden brown on the top.
9. Step
Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). Pour the remaining ¼ cup of coconut treacle over the cake and spread with a pastry brush. Arrange the cashew halves, if using, on the top.
10. Step
Return the cake to the oven and bake for 20–30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few fudgy crumbs attached.
11. Step
Let the bibikkan cool to room temperature, then cut into 16 squares and transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for 1–2 days before serving for the best flavor.
12. Step


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