This gluten free Indonesian Sticky Coconut Cake (Wingko Babat) is a coconut filled dessert snack that’s easy to make and so delicious! It’s simply a must make for coconut lovers.
This coconut cake is fudgy and chewy, and is popular throughout the island of Java. It’s considered a souvenir food to bring home when you visit one of the cities on the island.
The most popular wingko comes from the city of Babat in East Java, hence the name, Wingko Babat. But with this delicious and easy to make recipe for the little cakes, you can make it at home and share it with your family.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Is this recipe authentic?
No, this recipe isn’t traditional, and that’s ok. I wanted the recipe to be accessible to people who live in the states, who may not have access to traditional or authentic ingredients. So, this recipe is based on authentic recipes, so that people can learn more about the foods and culture of Indonesia.
And, hopefully you like it so much that you want to try more, and maybe even seek out some traditional ingredients. Or, keep the recipe with simple store-bought ingredients.
Most importantly, this dessert is delicious! I mean, it’s amazing! So yummy that I would say that if you’re a coconut lover, you MUST try this recipe!
Traditionally, wingko babat is baked, and then cooked on a stove top using a special pancake-shaped pan, and giving it a charred look and a dry tough texture. My version, which is adapted from this recipe, is baked in an oven, and cut into smaller squares for serving, producing a nice soft moist chewy snack cake.
These cakes are traditionally made with fresh coconut and often with pandan leaf. Both of these ingredients are going to be difficult to find for many Americans, so I use shredded bagged coconut, and leave the pandan leaf out. Also, white granulated sugar isn’t as authentic, but it is readily available in the US.
One traditional ingredient I leave in, and I think is very important in the texture, is the glutinous rice flour. That’s what gives the cake its wonderful texture. All-purpose flour just won’t work here. You can buy glutinous rice flour on Amazon with my affiliate link.
I’ve also made and shared these delicious Sweet Potato Rice Balls that are made with glutinous rice flour.
But what is wingko babat?
Wingko babat goes by many names: wingko, wiwingka, or bibika, wiwingka or bibika. It’s a traditional Indonesian bite sized pancake-like snack or dessert made from coconuts. This kind of Javanese cuisine snack is often called a kue in Indonesian.
It’s popular especially along the north coast of Java Island, and is often sold by vendors on trains or at bus or train stations.
This cake is really easy to make, simply mix everything together and bake. But, here are a few tips to get the most out of the cake.
Also, please keep in mind that this cake is not the same texture as an American or French cake. It’s dense and chewy, sticky and delicious. Not light and fluffy or dry at all like a Costco cake or a box mix cake. They are just entirely different.
My husband has taken to calling it macaroon cake, because it tastes just like a coconut macaroon.
Make sure your coconut milk is well shaken in the can
Coconut milk has a tendency to separate while it’s in the can. Take that can and shake it a bunch so the coconut cream and the coconut water are all mixed together in there. If you shake and shake, and it’s still separated when open the can, you can simply pour it into a glass measuring cup and stir it with a fork or a small whisk to get it to come back together.
Watch the cake when you put it under the broiler
After you bake the cake, you brush the egg yolk on top. Make sure you brush gently, as the top of the cake can tear if you use too much pressure. Then, pop the cake under the broiler to brown up the top and give it a nice crust (mimicking the crust that the Wingko would traditionally have).
Serving the cake
After the cake has been baked and refrigerated until it’s set it can be cut into 9 squares, simply by slicing the cake into thirds each direction. If you want smaller slices, cut each of those squares into triangles with a diagonal slice through the square.
I’ve even cut the triangles into smaller triangles for bite sized pieces. These small pieces are great for a potluck.
This cake is perfect for a party or a holiday too because it can be made ahead and taken out of the fridge at the last minute.
Kitchen items you may need for this recipe
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Sticky Coconut Cake (Wingko Babat) Recipe
Sticky Coconut Cake
- 2 eggs separated
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2¼ cup full fat canned coconut milk
- 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1½ cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Whisk the egg whites and the sugar together in a medium bowl. Slowly mix in the remaining ingredients. Make sure that all the ingredients are well combined and that there are no lumps of coconut. The batter will be thin and liquidy.
- Pour the batter into an 8×8-inch baking pan and bake it in the preheated 350° F oven for 45 minutes.
- Carefully take out the pan and brush the egg yolks on top of the cake. Set the oven to broil and broil the cake for 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, as it will brown quickly, and take it out when the turns golden brown.
- Set the cake in the pan on a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. Then, place the cake in the pan, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge overnight or for 8 hours before cutting and serving, to ensure that the cake has set. Cut cake into squares or triangles, and serve cold from the fridge or at room temperature.