Coconut Rock Buns (recipe)

Coconut rock buns are a nostalgic treat for me. I vividly remember saving up my allowance, as a child ,to buy them from the lady who sold baked goods out of the back of her station wagon every Wednesday afternoon at my prep school. Now and then I would stray from my old standby and purchase a sugar bun or currant roll, but invariably I always returned to my faithful friend, the coconut rock bun. I don’t know why coconut rock buns appeal to me so much. I think in part it’s because of the contrast of the homely rough-hewn exterior which belies the soft airy texture of the insides. Or maybe it’s the sweet sugary crust which perfectly complements the coconut infused, raisin-studded flavours? Who knows? It may take a lifetime of consumption for me to find the answer 😉

By the way when I was in the process of making these my mother kept inquiring as to what I was doing. When I kept repeating I was making rock buns she kept mumbling ‘she ain’t never hear bout no rock bun’… 😆 Once completed however she bit into one and immediately said ‘Is toto!’. Well, needless to say I just blinked blankly. She had to explain that as a kid she ate this baked good in Jamaica a lot and knew it as ‘toto’ (pronounced TOE-TOE). When I looked it up though every Jamaican site I found referred to toto as a cake, and the pictures indeed looked like a cake. When I showed them to her she shook her head emphatically and kept repeating ‘toto is not no cake, I don’t know what they doing nowadays now though’.

So now I’m curious. Is toto the name for Jamaican rock buns? Is toto really a coconut cake? Did the definition shift at some point? I may never get my answers but I’m like Curious George and will keep digging 🙂

Note:This entry has been submitted to Sugar High Friday: Going Local

Coconut Rock Buns
Recipe from:
Makes 6 rock buns


2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
½ cup soft margarine
½ cup brown sugar
4 Tbsps. raisins
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tsps. milk
½ cup shredded coconut


1. Preheat oven at 360°F / 190°C. Grease baking sheet.
2. Using the finger tips, rub fat into sifted flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add sugar, raisins, baking powder and coconut, mix in evenly.
4. Beat eggs and vanilla. Pour into flour mixture and combine then add milk slowly.
5. Combine mixture with the hands until a moist dough is formed.
6. With a spoon and a fork, divide dough into equal pieces and shape each piece into a “rocky cone” on the greased baking tray.
(Although the recipe doesn’t call for it at this point I sprinkle the buns generously with brown sugar 😉 )
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.