Coconut cheesecake with cocada and passion fruit glaze

In my last post I mentioned the Cocadas, which are a very popular dish in Panama, especially during Lent and the Holly Week. This year I’ve been trying to come up with something special from Panama for these days, something traditional but also innovative that captures some of our rich Panamanian tradition.

Today’s recipe is a cheesecake, nothing novelty there (I know), but the crust isn’t graham crackers, is cocada. The filling has some coconut milk and the glaze is not strawberry is passion fruit; very tropical and a reminder of my childhood, because my grandparents had a vine in their “backyard”. So here it is. I hope you liked it.



  • 250 g grated coconut
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • 4 8-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1  15-ounce can cream of coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs


  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin or one gelatin sheet
  • ½ cup passion fruit pulp. About 8.
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided


Preheat oven to 350°F (180 ºC).


In a large saucepan over low heat place sugar until it is diluted, then add the shredded coconut. Cook for 20 minutes or until when you stir the mixture it separates from the sides and bottom of the saucepan. Allow to cool and press onto bottom and 2 ½ inches up sides of springform pan. Set aside.


Blend cream cheese in processor until smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Add sugar. Using on/off turns, process to blend, scraping sides and bottom. Add cream of coconut, vanilla, and salt; blend 20 seconds, stopping to scrape sides. Add eggs 1 at a time; process to blend after each addition. Pour filling into crust.

Bake cheesecake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F (120 ºC). Bake until center is softly set, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Turn off oven. Keeping door closed cool cake in oven 1 hour. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, at least 12 hours or overnight.


Place 2 teaspoons water in small cup; sprinkle gelatin over (or soak gelatin sheet in water for 5 to 10 minutes). Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Pour ½ cup passion fruit pulp into small saucepan. Mix in 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves and bubbles form at edge of pan. Add gelatin and stir 1 minute to dissolve. Cool 10 minutes; pour into center of cheesecake. Rotate and tilt cake until glaze is spread evenly over top. Chill cake to set glaze, at least 1 hour.


Adapted from:

24 Replies to “Coconut cheesecake with cocada and passion fruit glaze”

  1. Wow!! Giovanna, this one is over the top fantastic! I love your photos.. they show how rich and creamy this is.. I didn’t know what cocada is.. but I’m guessing it’s coconut mixed with cinnamon?? Yum!!

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