Dominican Arepa Recipe (Cornmeal and Coconut Cake)

Dominican Arepa Recipe (Cornmeal and Coconut Cake): Plain 'arepa' is a name reserved in the DR for the cake we all know and love.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Dominican, Latino
Keyword arepa cake, cornmeal cake, torta cibaeña
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8 large portions
Calories 793kcal
Author Clara Gonzalez


  • 1 tablespoon of butter (for buttering baking pan)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (I used dark and blondies)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 cup of brown sugar


  • Butter a 2 1/2 quart [2 1/2 lt] baking pan (see notes).
  • Heat oven to 350 ºF [175 ºC].
  • Mix butter, cornmeal, milk, coconut milk, salt, raisins, cinnamon and sugar.
  • Stir the batter with a spatula and pour into a 3 qrt [3 lt] cooking pot and heat on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
  • When it breaks the boil, lower the heat and continue stirring until it thickens enough that if you scoop up a spoonful and you flip the spoon upside down it does not fall. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes. It should be golden brown on top. Let it cool down to room temperature before removing from the pan.
  • Serve with hot cocoa or coffee.


To obtain the traditional pot-shaped cake, I baked it in an enameled cast iron pot. The disadvantage of this is that you might have a hard time getting the cake out in one piece. If you don't want to take that risk, bake in a nonstick baking pan, the tallest you have.
Cornmeal is slightly finer than polenta. If you find it impossible to find cornmeal, use polenta, but be aware that the texture will be a bit "grainier" than with regular cornmeal.
Vegan Arepa? This egg-free cake is very easily adapted. Use milk substitute (soy, almond, rice, etc.) of your choice and neutral oil (corn, soy) instead of butter.
This is a very dense cake, as no leavening agent is added, it is best served with a warm drink of your choice. 


Calories: 793kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 749mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 255mg | Iron: 5.6mg