Last Updated on May 19, 2020 by Chef Mireille
Bojo – Suriname Style Gluten Free Cassava Cake is a common root vegetable cake made throughout the Caribbean and parts of South America, where it is more commonly known as pone. This grain free cake is perfect for dessert or even for a sweet breakfast.
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Have you ever heard of the country of Suriname? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t. You join a large majority.
All About Suriname
Suriname, the smallest and least populated independent country in South America is where my grandfather and much of my extended family is from.
This small South American nation of 550K people is located in South America, but culturally and economically linked to the Caribbean. For that reason, many of our recipes are similar to ones found in the Caribbean.
In fact, I have had conversations with many South Americans who don’t realize there are non Spanish/Portuguese speaking countries in South America. They think South America just consists of Portuguese speaking Brazil and the other Spanish speaking countries of South America.
Before independence, Suriname was known as Dutch Guyana. Along with Guyana and French Guyana, these three countries located on the northeastern coast of South America are part of Caricom, an organization that helps develop economic integration and trade amongst its member countries. French Guyana is still a property of France and does more business with its French counterparts in the Caribbean – Martinique and Guadeloupe and the French side of St. Martin.
I’m not a historian, however, I think the language may be the reason these three countries have ties to the Caribbean. Without a common language with the rest of South America, trade and economic negotiations would be difficult. So I am presenting today’s Suriname recipe as part of my Caribbean Cuisine theme.
I have strong ties to the only Dutch speaking country in South America
My family has a mango plantation with over 30 varieties of mango that was stipulated by my great grandmother that it could never be sold outside of the family and anyone who wants to build a house on the land, can. When I can’t take anymore of the right wing politics and biased nationalism that has overtaken America right now, maybe I’ll go 🙂
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Gluten Free Cassava Cake
Many parts of the world has a version of this cake. Cassava is a naturally glutinous vegetable, which makes it a great option for cake and other desserts. Most of the world where cassava is common has a version of Gluten Free Cassava Cake. You can also check out the other version I’ve made like this Honduran Cassava Cake.
Traditionally flourless gluten free cake is made throughout the Caribbean with different root vegetables. Although cassava/yuca is the most common, it can also be made with pumpkin, yam or the purple skinned sweet potato popular in the Caribbean, also called batata. Most of the English speaking Caribbean calls it pone. In Suriname it’s called Bojo.
In the English speaking Caribbean versions, pone usually is heavily spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and a pinch of black pepper.
This Suriname version’s more closely related to the Indonesian version of Bojo, since we have a large Indonesian population in Suriname. This recipe I got from my cousin Sharline who is closer linked to the Suriname side of the family, only 1 generation removed and it worked perfectly.
If you’d like to see me live in action preparing this recipe, you can check me out on Food Stories, a Google+ HOA I used to appear on.
Check it out!
This recipe is also available as a web story – Bojo – Gluten Free Cassava Cake
What is Bojo Cassava Cake?
Because of its combination of South American and Caribbean influences, Suriname-style Cassava Cake, known as Bojo, is made with lots of bright flavors and rich spices. It’s a pleasantly sweet gluten free cake thanks to shaved coconut and tutti frutti candies, but the sweetness is balanced by including a bit of rum and nutmeg.
Different Methods for Making Bojo – Suriname Cassava Cake
Despite the fact that it’s flourless, it’s quite a dense cake and makes a filling snack with a cup of tea. It has the consistency similar to a steamed pudding.
I have made it by just combining the cassava and coconut with the rest of the ingredients. As you can see from the photo below, this version while still delicious is less moist.
However, I wanted to increase the moistness so this time I decided to use a slightly different methodology than I have used in the past.
So let’s see how I put together this extra moist version of Gluten Free Cassava Cake.
But before I show you, let’s first go over the ingredients you will need.
- tutti frutti
- rum or orange juice
- frozen cassava
- frozen grated coconut
- coconut milk
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
- non stick spray
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Recipe FAQ & Notes
Soak the fruit in orange juice or mango juice instead.
Yes. If using fresh cassava/yuca/manioc, grate the cassava using the finest side of a box grater. Make sure to carefully remove the center core or the cake will have a bitter taste.
No. You can also make it plain and omit the dried fruit. It is just as delicious1
Bojo must be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap any leftovers in aluminum foil or put in a tupperware container and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you do not anticipate eating it within 7 days, keep leftovers in the freezer.
Bojo is best when warm or at room temperature. It can be reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds if it is taken straight from the refrigerator.
It is often served with good Dutch cheese like Edam or Aged Gouda for breakfast.
How to Make Bojo – Suriname Cassava Cake from Scratch
- First you have to soak the dried fruit in rum (or orange juice). Soak it for at least 2 hours until the fruit is juicy and drunk. You can also do this overnight if you prefer.
- Also, defrost the cassava and the coconut.
Make the Cake
- In a food processor, grind the cassava, coconut and coconut milk until you have a thick finely ground cassava paste.
- Now we beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and almond essence.
- Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Now we add the cassava and the fruit.
- Fold in with a rubber spatula and mix until thoroughly combined.
Bake the Bojo Cassava Cake
- Grate a little nutmeg on top if you like, but this is optional.
- Top with a few pats of butter.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.
Leave to cool and serve at room temperature.
Serve and Enjoy
This delicious cake is not too sweet and just perfect for tea time.
I think you will prefer this moister version of Bojo.
Enjoy right away for a breakfast, dessert, or a sweet snack. Store leftovers in a container with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Bojo – Suriname Style Gluten Free Cassava Cake
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup tutti frutti optional
- 1 cup rum optional
- 2 ½ cups frozen cassava defrosted
- 1 cup frozen grated coconut defrosted
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 ½ cups sugar I use Demarara raw brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg optional
- 1 tablespoon butter for placing on top
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Soak raisins and turri frutti in rum for at least 2 hours. Drain.
- Using a food processor, grind the cassava and coconut with the coconut milk until you have a thick cassava paste. This will take a good 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add melted butter, vanilla and almond extract. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add cassava and dried fruit. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Spray a cake pan with non stick spray.
- Transfer to the cake pan.
- Add the nutmeg on top, if using.
- Add the remaining butter, in small pats on top.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out clean.
- If you prefer not to use rum, you can soak the fruit in orange juice or mango juice.
- You can also make with fresh cassava/yuca. Grate the yuca at the finest side of a box grater and be careful to remove the core well. Otherwise, the cake will end up having a bitter taste.
- Store leftovers in a container with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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