Coconut chai traybake

Coconut chai traybake

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(25 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 25 mins - 30 mins


Cuts into 15 squares

This simple traybake is inspired by one of our favourite brews - chai. Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, this moist coconut sponge is the perfect accompaniment to a cuppa

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per square

  • kcal340
  • fat16g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs44g
  • sugars31g
  • fibre2g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 100ml vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing
  • 300ml coconut milk (not low-fat) - if the cream has separated in the can, give it a good mix before measuring
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280g light brown soft sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp ground ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated



    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury

  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed using a pestle and mortar
  • 4 tbsp ginger syrup

For the topping and icing

  • 3-4 tbsp coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

  • 140g icing sugar
  • 2 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
  • chopped pistachios and coconut flakes (optional)


  1. Grease a 20 x 30cm baking tin with a little oil, and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Measure the coconut milk and oil into a jug. Crack in the eggs, add the vanilla and whisk with a fork to combine.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, coconut, spices and a pinch of salt. Squeeze any lumps of sugar through your fingers, shaking the bowl a few times so they come to the surface. Pour in the wet ingredients and use a large whisk to mix to a smooth batter. Pour into the tin, scraping every drop of the mixture out of the bowl with a spatula.

  3. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If there is any wet mixture clinging to it, bake for a further 5 mins, then check again. Leave to cool for 15 mins in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and drizzle over the ginger syrup.

  4. To make the icing, mix the coconut milk with the icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cake in squiggles, then scatter with the chopped ginger, pistachios and coconut flakes, if using. Eat warm or cold. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Nov, 2019
Thanks for the recipe. A lovely moist cake with an amazing flavour. I made it with two eggs & omitted nuts & cardamom from recipe. Baking time was 40mins. It is rather sweet so will make it with less sugar.
Bethlav1's picture
16th Jul, 2019
Made this today and it’s beautiful! As others suggested I left it in the oven (fan assisted) for 50mins and it was perfect. Next time I might make icing with a little bit of lime juice in it as it would go well.
varshan218 .'s picture
varshan218 .
22nd Aug, 2018
I made this cake but instead of baking it in a tray, used my muffin tin and made cupcakes from the batter. They are very nice and moist. I just have too many that will not get eaten quick enough. Would this be ok to freeze? If so, what is the best way to de-freeze it when i need them. Thanks
12th May, 2018
Used less sugar, baked for 15 mins longer. It was divine!
30th Apr, 2018
This went down a treat with my work colleagues! I didn't find the cake itself too sweet, but with the icing on top it might be too much for some. I baked as directed and it came out perfectly, I didn't need to extend the cooking time.
8th Mar, 2018
Definitely agree with the other user that advised keeping it in the oven for 50 mins, was bang on for my fan assisted. Also agree that it’s a very sweet bake, will probably use only 1 tsp of vanilla extract and reduce the sugar to 200g next time. Lovely recipe for chilly days! If you’re in a pinch, mixed spice and coconut extract are good subs.
20th Jan, 2018
A very tasty cake with excellent flavour profile. Soft and moist. It kept (uniced) for 5 days in a tin without going hard. I removed a star for unreasonable cooking time. I found, like "N-T", that 30 minutes for such a wet mixture (oil, coconut milk, and lots of eggs) is crazy. It took 50 minutes in my preheated fan-assisted oven at 160'C.
25th Nov, 2017
make this cake a lot it is lovely and a winner in our house
12th Oct, 2017
Lovely cake! I adore the cardamom in it! I reduced the sugar in the recipe as I find the BBC Good Food cakes tend to be a little too sweet for my taste. Plus I made the coconut icing which was super sweet and it soaked in beautifully.
3rd Sep, 2017
Really impressed with this recipe. It is super rich and moist and perfect with a cup of tea! Personally for the icing I would use regular milk instead of coconut milk and some vanilla essence.


26th Sep, 2019
I'd like to try an egg free version. Any suggestions as to what I could replace the eggs with, please?
goodfoodteam's picture
26th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. We haven't tried this recipe without eggs but you could use Orgran No Egg which is available from health food shops. Alternatively try one of our egg-free cake recipes:
12th Apr, 2017
Tried making this cake tray twice but unfortunately the inside of the cake remains uncooked even though I've baked it for 30-35 mins. I have also tried splitting the mixture into two tins just in case it's to much in one tin and it's still doesn't want to cook:( as I doing something wrong?
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Apr, 2017
We're sorry to hear the cake hasn't worked out for you. It's important that the tin is the correct size (20 x 30cm) and that the oven is fully up to temperature before the cake goes in. Check the cake after 25 mins and if a skewer inserted into the centre does not come out clean, continue to cook in 5 minute increments. We hope that helps if you decide to give it another go.
14th Mar, 2016
This looks great, but as I live in FRance, it's very difficult to find stem ginger here. Can I find a substitute? I have fresh, dried ground & candied ginger. Any idea would be welcome. Thanks.
Frantic Flapjack
23rd Mar, 2016
Hello Idupuy. Having made this cake, I would say it is not essential to use stem ginger syrup as the cake would be moist enough without it. Also, you could leave ginger out of the topping as the coconut flakes and pistachio would be enough. Hope this helps!
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