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Jamaican Grater Cake Recipe
Delicious โ€œPink On Topโ€

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Jamaican Grater CakeJamaican Grater Cake Recipe

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Food is a tremendous part of who we are as Jamaicans and is one of our biggest identifiers globally. I am sure even as a tourist, our cuisine is one of the reasons you want to visit our lovely island.

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However, on a global scale, when we talk about Jamaican cuisine, it is usually centred around our main dishes, like jerk chicken, oxtail, escovitch fish and so on.

But an entire world of Jamaican sweet treats is yet to be explored. I canโ€™t go through them all, and I could never really choose a favourite, but I am about to share one with you - The Jamaican Grater cake.

Jamaican street food is a big deal. I canโ€™t imagine what it would be like to go on the road and not be able to grab a bag of peppered shrimp or a gizzada.

Youโ€™ll often see someone with a wire rack atop their head or in hand overflowing with goodies (naturally, their name is โ€˜Nutsyโ€™). Along with gizzada, peanut and coconut drops, which are all similar colours, you will see the brightly coloured grater cake.

Growing up, my grandmother always made these desserts at home. But for some people, this isnโ€™t the case. The recipe is pretty simple to follow so, just in case โ€œNutsyโ€ isnโ€™t nearby when your next grater cake craving hits, here is how to whip up your own batch of coconut goodness.

The star of the show is freshly grated coconut, which adds a rich and luscious texture to the Grater Cake. It can be quite sweet as well since the recipe calls for a considerable amount of granulated sugar, but feel free to limit this based on your preference.

What makes grater cake stand out is its colour, which does require the use of red food colouring. Some people choose to leave it as that, however, you can kick up the spices a notch with some almond essence, rose water, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Jamaican Grater Cake Recipe


    Coconut (4 cups, shredded)
    Sugar (2 cups, granulated)
    Water (1/4 cup)
    Sea Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
    Food Coloring (1 teaspoon, red)
    Almond Essence (1/2 teaspoon)
    Rose Water (optional, 1/2 teaspoon)


  1. The step is to prepare your fresh coconut. De-shelling and shredding it might take a bit of patience, and is definitely not my favourite thing to do, but trust me, it's a labour of love that sets the foundation for the deliciousness to come. Once done, set aside.
  2. Once the coconut is ready, it's time to hit the stove. Grab your Dutchie (if you have one) or any stewing pot. Add your shredded coconut, sugar and water and allow it to simmer on low heat.
  3. Now, it's time to add some flavour. Add the sea salt, almond essence, and a touch of rose water if you're feeling fancy. Donโ€™t forget a pinch of cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg. Let it continue to simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens.
  4. It's time to add some colour to this, so the first thing you will need to do is remove 1 cup of the mixture, adding small amounts of food colouring until it becomes a bright pink.
  5. Like a casserole, spread the coconut mixture evenly in the casserole dish and then delicately place that vividly coloured layer on top. Now, exercise a bit of patience as your Grater Cake sets and cools for around 35 minutes.
  6. Once it's all set, cut it into squares, each no bigger than three fingers. Then it's time to enjoy.

If you are not a local, you may not be able to grab these on the streets, but I swear by this recipe, and if you follow it carefully, so will you. Do not overindulge though, remember that this is a tasty treat but not a highly nutritious one. Save some for later, or share it with your friends and family.

If you want more delicious Jamaican treats and desserts, Wellesley, our founder created an ebook just for you. It is aptly named, Jamaican Sweet Treats and is a compilation of recipes for some of our most popular Jamaican street snacks and desserts.

Grab your copy, try the recipes, send us pictures and tell us what you think. We love to hear from you.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Grater Cake Recipe

  1. Grater cake recipe (no date) Jamaican Dinners. Available at: (Accessed: 06 December 2023).
  2. Mouth-watering Jamaican desserts - sweet treats, Jamaican style! (no date) My Island Jamaica. Available at: (Accessed: 06 December 2023).
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