Breads and Cakes

Coconut Toto – Jamaican Recipes

Toto (pronounced toeto) is a Jamaican traditional desert that is served at most family gatherings. It is a favorite of Jamaican at home and abroad. Toto is one of the easiest Jamaican dishes to cook.  Coconut flavor is the key element of this traditional Jamaican dish.

Toto has its origins in slavery.  At night time slaves were hungry from being underfed. They would use coconut, molasses and flour to make totos.  It was baked the traditional way with fire coals place on top of a metal sheet covering the cake pan and fire beneath the cake pan. This style of backing is where the Jamaican term “fiyah a tap an fiyah a battam” and “hell a tap an hell a battam” comes from.


  • ¼ butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tsps. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 1 cup Evaporated milk

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  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add flour mixture, and coconut to butter and sugar mixture alternately with Evaporated milk.
  5. Spread evenly in greased shallow baking tin 8” x 12”.
  6. Bake at 400F about 30 minutes

About the author

Grace "Grandma" Reynolds