Arepa Dominicana (Dominican Cornmeal Cake), photo by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDNPhoto by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDN

Arepa Dominicana (Dominican Cornmeal Cake)

Cuisine: Dominican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8-12 slices

If someone offers you a Dominican arepa, don’t expect to get anything like the traditional Venezuelan or Colombian corn “pockets.” Instead, you will get a dense, sweet, cinnamoney cornmeal cake. Arepa is considered a dessert best enjoyed with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.


  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • cups cornmeal (Masarepa)
  • 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar OR sugar substitute (see label for amount equivalent)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter + more for greasing baking dish
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins or Craisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

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  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Mix raisins with a tablespoon flour and shake off excess. This will prevent raisins from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Reserve.
  3. In a large heavy bottom pot, mix all ingredients except raisins and vanilla.
  4. Wisk all together and cook over low heat until mixture has thickened, stirring constantly (about 5-7 minutes). Pay attention, as the mixture will cook very fast.
  5. Fold in vanilla extract and raisins and remove from heat.
  6. Remove cinnamon sticks and pour mixture on previously greased baking dish and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

Chef Notes

You can substitute low-fat evaporated milk for regular milk for an even richer consistency.

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