Recipes from Guyana: Salara (Red Coconut Cake)

Recipes from Guyana

Salara (Red Coconut Cake)

Country: Guyana
Course: Dessert
Makes: 1 loaf

For the cake:

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg, separated

For the filling:

  • 3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water with a tablespoon of sugar. Let it stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Now gently heat the milk until warm and add the rest of the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Whisk in the butter and egg.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour together with the salt. Add the yeast mixture along with the milk/butter and mix thoroughly, preferably with an electric mixer. Now pour in the flour and keep mixing until you get a soft dough. *
  3. Knead your dough ball on a floured surface or let your bread machine do it. Butter a bowl and transfer the ball to it, then cover with a damp towel. Let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
  5. Turn the risen ball out onto a large, floured surface. Punch down, then roll into a large rectangle shape . Brush the edges with the egg white and then spread that bright red coconut filling evenly over the dough, almost but not quite to the edges.
  6. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log shape and seal the edges.
  7. Brush with the egg yolk, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for maybe another hour.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes or until a beautiful golden color.
  9. During the last 10 minutes of baking, make the glaze. Dissolve the sugar in the water and heat in a small saucepan until boiling. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Brush over the finished Sahara and then let cool.

* I had to add an extra half cup of flour to mine.