Wingko, wiwingka or wingko babat, is an Indonesian cake or kue made with mostly coconut and a few other ingredients. When sold by street vendors in Indonesia, wingko usually takes the shape of a round, flattish, small cake, but it can be larger to serve more people as well. My grandmother used to make wingko too, but she would call it ‘plakkoek’ – meaning ‘sticky cake’ in Dutch – which is what my family still calls it. As my grandmother’s nickname for the cake suggests, you shouldn’t expect a crumbly, cake-like texture on this cake, but a slightly smooth and very sticky and chewy cake instead due to the use of glutinous rice flour. It’s a gluten-free cake too, for those who (need to take) care.
Some time ago, my mother found a notepad with a handwritten recipe for wingko, written by my grandmother. Mom and I both immediately realised that the recipe must have changed over the years, or that it simply couldn’t be quite right, the latter of which actually seems to be the case with most of my grandmother’s written-down recipes. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts about my grandmother’s recipes, grandma would hardly ever stick to precise recipes and measurements and she would just eyeball the amounts and change ingredients according to what she could find in the pantry. The ‘problems’ with this hand-written recipe for wingko in particular: there’s no way my grandmother would separate an egg yolk simply to put egg wash on top of a cake, neither does the cake need THREE sachets of vanilla sugar. Furthermore, it is unclear at what temperature the cake should be baked as grandma simply wrote “put oven on dial 4 or 5”.
And there was another ‘issue’: I had a slightly different memory of my grandmother’s plakkoek than my mother had (though, she was most probably right). According to my mother, oma’s plakkoek was smooth all around except for the top, yet I seemed to remember slightly over-baked, crispy edges which I thought gave a nice textural contrast with the sticky, soft insides. We agreed that I must’ve simply remembered a particular (or several) time(s) when grandma had accidentally over-baked the cake – the problem with “dial 4 or 5”-temperatures and the fact that she would often ‘forget’ to grease the thin aluminium foil pans she would use – and given me some of the cut-off crispy edges to snack on whilst staying over at her house.
Despite our different memories and our doubts about the handwritten recipe, Mom and I first did try to follow the recipe as written down… but it wasn’t a great success. Eventually, after some trial and error we did succeed in making wingko that tasted and looked exactly like the one my grandmother used to make – so sticky and soft in the middle that the pieces droop down when you pick them up, a nice browned top made without egg yolk egg wash, and slightly crispy bits on the corners for me. You can find this updated recipe for wingko below!
My Grandmother’s Plakkoek / Wingko (Indonesian Sticky Coconut Cake)
- 200g glutinous rice flour
- 150g desiccated coconut
- 150g fine white granulated sugar
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8g)
- 300ml water, alternatively use coconut milk for a richer cake
- 1 medium egg
- small pinch of salt
- butter, margarine, or cooking spray, for greasing the pan
MethodNote: My grandmother used to always make this cake in aluminium foil one-use pans (pictured in post above), which results in the slightly crispy corners and make it easier to remove the very sticky cake from the tin. You can use any type or shape pan you like, but make sure the cake/batter is about 2.5 - 3cm in height once poured in (see photo in post above for thickness of wingko).
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Grease a baking pan (or two) generously with butter, margarine or cooking spray.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients listed until well combined (except for the butter, margarine, or cooking spray). The batter will be quite gloopy and thick.
- Pour batter into the greased tin(s) until about 2.5 - 3cm thick in height.
- Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes until the top is golden and slightly crispy.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into long rectangles or squares.