sri lankan arrack drenched coconut cake

My gin cake has become a bit of a legend in its own lifetea-time over here. Visitors beg me to make one and I have even had a friend say “don’t worry about birthday present, just promise you will bring a gin cake”.    The abundance of coconuts has meant that my other baking staple is coconut loaf (when I am not using the coconut to make Pol Sambol of course) so it was only a matter of time, and frankly I am a little surprised at how long a time, before I had the idea of zhushing up the loaf with the addition of copious amounts of Sri Lankan Arrack.

Arrack is de facto the Sri Lankan national drink, so much so that it was exempted from last Autumn’s hike in alcohol tax lest there be riots.  The easiest way to describe Arrack is as a whisky made from coconut rather than grain.  Drinkswise it can be used as a substitute for both whisky and rum in cocktails.  Arrack Sours are one of my favourite drinks here and I am lucky that our House Manager is somewhat of an expert in making them.  But I digress.

Yesterday I had my first attempt at an Arrack Loaf and I am delighted to report that it was a roaring success although the moistness introduced by the drizzle has taken away the loaf-like properties so henceforth I have decided to call it Arrack Cake.

It is so simple to make, you don’t even need scales.


  • 2 eggs
  • 400ml coconut milk – mine was made from coconut milk powder mixed with half and half water and coconut water but a tin of coconut milk from the supermarket will do just fine.
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2.5 cups  self-raising flour

For the drizzle

  • 200 ml Arrack  – dark rum would do as a substitute
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper
  3. Put the eggs, coconut milk and oil in to a large bowl and whisk until smooth
  4. Mix together the sugar, shredded coconut and four in a separate page bowl
  5. Pour the wet ingredients in to the the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will be very wet and sloppy. Do not panic!
  6. Pour in to the prepared tin and bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Put aside to cool whilst you make the drizzle
  8. Slowly heat up the arrack and sugar over a low heat stirring continuously until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  9. Meanwhile prick the cake all over with a fork or cocktail stick
  10. Spoon the drizzle over the cake so that the cake is saturated
  11. Slice and serve 🙂



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