One could say its an Indian version of the German Baumkuchen (tree cake), where the batter is baked in layers on a long skewer or spit that is constantly turned in front of a large horizontal oven or the Russian Medovik, a layered cake made with honey and condensed milk.
If you guessed it right, I’m talking about the Goan, Bebinca aka Bebik. The Queen of Goan desserts.
The ingredients are simple. A cake batter consisting of egg yolks, thick coconut milk, flour, sugar or dark palm jaggery, salt and nutmeg.
Traditionally baked in special earthenware oven called Tizals over coconut husk fires. The batter is baked in layers to get that characteristic caramelized, light and dark stripes, ranging from 7 to 16 layers.
Check out the recipe and how this queen of Goan desserts came into existence in my next post.
The dessert has a typical Portuguese influence which is quite notable by the use of lots of egg yolks.
It was first made by a nun called Bebiana in the convent of Santa Monica in old Goa, who baked layers of cake to symbolise the seven hills of Lisbon and the old city of Goa. Her creation was liked by the priests and suggested she add more layers to the cake.
Egg yolks – 12 nos.
Thick coconut milk- 750ml.
Dark palm jaggery- 250gm.
Refined flour- 200gm.
Salt- 1/4 tsp.
Nutmeg- 1/2 tsp.
Ghee or Butter to brush each layer after baking.
(Instead of nutmeg, one can use cardamom powder 1tsp or vanilla essence 1tsp).
Preheat oven at 180°C to 200°C. Note the top heating coil is in use as we need each layer to caramelise before adding the next one.
1.Whisk in the egg yolks till creamy.
2. Add in the coconut milk, grated nutmeg and salt to the yolks and mix well.
3. Add in the flour and mix well till all the lumps are dissolved. Now divide the batter equally into two batches.
4. Add powdered sugar in one half and grated dark palm jaggery to the other half.
5. Brush ghee to a baking pan and ladle out one batter and bake till the top caramelizes. Remove the pan, brush ghee on top and ladle our the other batch of batter in pan and bake till the layer caramelizes. Bake the cake in layers with sugar batter and dark palm jaggery batter alternatively till all batter is used. Remove the cake and brush the top with ghee. Let it cool at room temperature. De-mould and cut into desired shapes. The process is long but the result is amazing.
They say the recipe is difficult and most don’t get it right in the first try. But if you follow every step of the recipe, you will get it right in first go. Even I tried it for the first time.
If you try this recipe, I will be glad to hear from you about it