Brazilian Coconut Tea Cake and 20 Facts about the City of Salvador

Brazilian Coconut Tea Cake and 20 Facts about the City of Salvador
Coconut Tea Cake (1)

When I decided to make this coconut cake recipe I immediately thought about Bahia, an exuberant state located in the North-East of Brazil.

Typical images of Bahia: rows of coconut trees and the beautiful sunset, all images of Bahia by my friend Thelicia (thanks Theli!)

Bahia Landscape

I’ve been to Bahia many years ago for an university conference and was enchanted by the people, strong cultural heritage and the history of its capital Salvador. I stayed in a nice and charming bed and breakfast near the city centre. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name but it was an old Portuguese-style house hidden at the end of a steep lane. There was a small garden at the front and a set of narrow stairs that led people to the main entry. The B&B was run by two ladies dressed as typical baianas. The cosy decoration reminded me of an old Brazilian country house, the rooms had high ceilings and dark timber floors. The big windows on the living areas were kept open during the day and fresh air would circulate giving almost an outdoor feel to the place. In the bedrooms, there was predominantly dark timber furniture, bedspreads and linens were white and there were lots of colourful paints of local artists on the light blue walls. Breakfast was served in little room in the middle of the house and every morning the table was covered with tropical fruits and a selection of home-made quitutes (or treats) like sweet corn pudding, cassava bread and a super moist coconut cake.

Brazilian Coconut Tea Cake 3 (1 of 1)

More images of Salvador, Beacon, Church and the Bonfim’s Church fence covered with bracelets of  “Nosso Senhor do Bonfim”. Considered an amulet the bracelet is a popular souvenir of Salvador and is sold all over the city by street vendors.

Beacon Church Bonfim

I had a wonderful time enjoying the stunning landscape, the history, the friendly people and of course the food of Salvador. The place is also a top destination for music and dance lovers who appreciate the vibrant Afro-Brazilian beats, samba and carnival.

Here are 20 facts about Salvador:

  1. The coastal city was founded in 1549 and was the first capital of Brazil.
  2. The original name of the city was “São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos”.
  3. People born in Salvador are called “soteropolitanos”.
  4. Salvador’s carnival has already been considered the biggest in the world and it has been celebrated since the 19th century.
  5. “Baianas of Acarajé” are the symbol of Salvador.  In Salvador is very easy to spot them, they are ladies dressed in white, wear a turban and lots of necklaces and bangles. They sell street food called quitutes like acarajé, vatapá and coconut slices.
  6. The white dove has been the symbol of the city since 1522.
  7. Salvador is the center-stage of African-Brazilian culture expressed through religion, folk music, costume clothes, festivities, carnival and food.
  8. The old historic centre of Pelourinho is an UNESCO world heritage site and features old Portuguese -style buildings.
  9. Salvador has 372 Catholic churches.
  10. It’s the biggest North-Eastern city and the third of Brazil.
  11. The church “Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco” is one of the prettiest in Brazil and has baroque sandstone facade and internal features made with 400kg of gold.
  12. The weather in Salvador is tropical and the average yearly temperature is 25°C.
  13. Salvador’s population is 3 million (as of 2010)
  14. Economy: oil extraction, export trade, tourism
  15. Salvador is the second top tourist destination in Brazil only after Rio de Janeiro.
  16. Famous Brazilians born in Salvador: Gilberto Gil (singer, song-writter), Daniela Mercury (singer), Carlinhos Brown (singer, song-writter), Wagner Moura (lead actor of the internationally acclaimed movie “Elite Squad”), Dorival Caymmi (singer/ song-writter, internationally known for the song “O que é que a baiana tem” interpreted by Carmen Miranda).
  17. Michael Jackson was one of the many artists who recorded a video-clip in Salvador. The video of  “They Don’t Care About Us” features the energetic drums of the local group Olodum.
  18. The exciting indoor market called “Mercado Modelo” is a major tourist attraction where it is possible to find crafts and art from all over Bahia like lace, paintings, berimbaus (Brazilian musical instrument), sculptures and souvenirs.
  19. This market was visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968. Other famous visitors  include: Jean-Paul Sartre, Orson Wells and Pablo Neruda.
  20. “Elevador Lacerda” is an old lift founded in 1873 and connects the lowest part of the city with the highest. The lift works 24hrs/ day, it’s 72m height and carries 128,000 people per day.

The colourful lanes of the historical city centre of Salvador, known as “Pelourinho”

Colours of Pelourinho 1
Pelourinho (1 of 1)

Mercado Modelo (indoor market of Salvador) and Elevador Lacerda

Mercado Modelo (1 of 1)

I’ve been addicted to Dorival Caymmi’s songs lately and I found one that matches perfect with how I feel now. After writing this post I really miss Bahia and this is what Caymmi’s song talks about:


6 eggs, separated

2 cups of sugar

130g unsalted butter, at room temperature

200ml coconut milk

200ml milk

3 cups plain flour, sifted

1 tbs baking powder

100g shredded coconut


350ml water

100g sugar

100g shredded coconut, extra


1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/ fan-forced. Grease a 23cm round cake pan with loose base.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Reserve.

3. In large bowl combine egg yolks, butter and sugar and beat on high speed until creamy and pale. Add the coconut milk, milk, plain flour, baking powder and 100g coconut and beat until the cake batter comes together. Gently fold the egg whites, pour the batter into the baking tin. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.

4. For the syrup, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring it to the boil. Take of the heat, stir in the coconut.

5. While the cake is still warm, remove from pan and transfer to a cake stand. Using a serrated knife carefully slice the top off to even the cake. Pierce the cake with a fork or a skewer. Pour the syrup all over the top and spread the coconut with the bottom of a spoon. Serve it warm or cold with your favourite cup of tea.

Serves: 10-12


Receita em Português

Toalha Felpuda


6 ovos , separados

2 xícaras de açúcar

130g de manteiga sem sal, amolecida

200ml leite de coco

200ml leite de vaca

3 xícaras de farinha de trigo, peneirada

1 colher de sopa de fermento em pó

100g de coco ralado


350ml de água

100g de açúcar

100g de coco ralado , extra

Modo de Preparo

1. Pré-aqueça o forno a 170°C. Unte uma fôrma redonda 23 centímetros com base solta.

2. Em uma tigela grande da batedeira bata as claras em neve. Reserve.

3. Em uma tigela grande junte as gemas, manteiga e açúcar e bata em velocidade alta até que a mistura fique cremosa e pálida. Adicione o leite de coco, leite, farinha de trigo, o fermento e o coco e bata até formar a massa. Misture delicadamente as claras em neve, despeje a massa na assadeira. Asse por cerca de 1 hora e 20 minutos ou até que um palito saia limpo quando inserido no meio do bolo.

4. Para a calda, em uma pequena panela sob fogo médio misture a água e o açúcar e mexa até que o açúcar dissolva. Aumente o fogo para alto e espere ferver. Tire do fogo, misture o coco ralado.

5. Enquanto o bolo estiver quente, retire da forma e transfira para um prato. Usando uma faca serrilhada corte cuidadosamente a parte de cima para nivelar o bolo. Fure todo o bolo com um garfo ou um palito. Derrame a calda sobre o bolo e espalhe o coco com uma colher. Sirva quente ou frio com uma xícara d0 seu chá favorito.

Rende: 10-12

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