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Coconut Cashew Cake (Sanwin Makin)

1 9-inch cake

1 hour

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Rich with the flavor of coconut, traditional Burmese semolina cake, called sanwin makin, is made by cooking the semolina into a thick porridge before baking. We lightened the cake’s texture by using a straightforward cake-mixing method and added ground cardamom for fragrance and flavor. Toasting the semolina and shredded coconut first brings out their nuttiness, and soaking them in coconut milk softens their texture so the cake bakes up with a soft crumb. Roasted cashews add texture and visual appeal to the golden brown cake. Though sanwin makin is usually served chilled, we like our cakey version at room temperature or even slightly warm, with lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side.


9-inch cake


Don’t use light coconut milk, which lacks the richness of full-fat coconut milk. And don’t forget to stir the coconut milk before using. Avoid cream of coconut and sweetened coconut flakes, both of which contain added sugar. They will make the cake too sweet.

1 hour


  • 170

    grams (1 cup) semolina flour

  • 30

    grams (⅓ cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, divided


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Diane B.
June 22, 2023
Light and sweet
Made this after watching milk Street. Turned out perfect
William F.
April 24, 2023
Coconut Cashew Cake
This cake was moist, subtly sweet and delicious!
Mary O.
April 17, 2023
This cake was easy to make, not too sweet, just the right texture and extremely tasty! I will definitely be making this again
Averyl P.
January 6, 2023
Favorite cake
My dad does not like the usual birthday cake with icing. I baked this for his birthday, he LOVED it! He asks me to bake one often. I love the flavors of coconut, cardamom and cashew. They are very reminiscent of my family’s Indian food heritage.
Geri P.
November 4, 2022
Coconut Cashew Cake
A dense, wonderful cake with no need of any frosting. Delish!
Michele R.

Made per recipe and it came together exactly as expected. Always appreciate that Milk Street's recipes are so reliable for outcome. Delicious. Best served day it is baked we think. Leftovers were good but glad we baked it morning of day we planned to serve it for guests.

Brad G.

Could the semolina be replaced by cornmeal for a GF version? Or perhaps something else? Looks amazing but I can't have semolina.

Janelle C.

This is a great question. Would you post it in our Q&A Forum for Milk Street Insiders and Digital subscribers? It's currently free for all to use and we're sure others would love to hear the answer to this one.

The Milk Street Team

John D.

Love this cake - moist and delicious - it’s nice to be able to make recipes like this which are lactose-free, not needing heavy cream and such (butter lactose is insignificant). I can eat anything coconut all the time!

Janet B.

I baked this cake today and was very pleased with it. It came together quickly, baked beautifully, turned out of the pan easily and was moist and delicious with the cardamom a perfect addition to the tastes of coconut and cashews.

Thomas F.

Made a mistake of keeping the oven at 350 when I started (must have not hit the start button), but I think it turned out well. There is a Burmese restaurant near me and I've tried their sanwin makin. This is quite similar in flavor, but I have to say I prefer the texture of theirs, which is reminiscent of a flourless cake texture.