Guyanese vamazelli cake

Guyanese vamazelli cake

The first time I had Guyanese vamazelli cake, it engulfed me with a sense of nostalgia for eating the thick semiya payasam. This prompted me to read more and try it by myself.
It is really interesting to read about food cultures that transform due to migration. The different cultures bring various influences of food that slowly become a part of everyday life. Guyanese cuisine for instance draws richly from African and Indian migrations during British colonisation years. Brought in as workers, they slowly introduced elements of their cooking with whatever was available in the circumstances. This ingenuity brought about an entirely different cuisine lineage. I guess that’s why there feels like so many familiarities, yet the variations.

What is vamazelli?

Vamazelli is a cake-like preparation made with roasted vermicelli noodles, milk, dry fruits and some spices. It is a Guyanese-style dessert preparation. Unlike the kheer or payasam, this allows the vermicelli to absorb and set like a cake. It is then cut into pieces when cooled to serve.
In Trinidadian cuisine, there is something similar called Sawine. The main difference between Vamazelli and Savine is the way vermicelli sets and Savine is more like a pudding that is scooped up, very similar to semiya payasam.

When is vamazelli made?

Vamazelli is a popular dessert in Guyanese cuisine. It is customary to make them during festivals. Hence, Diwali, Eid or any good reason to gather and celebrate. I found vamazelli easy to carry to a get-together as a dessert as it doesn’t spill or make a mess.

Ingredients for vamazelli

Vermicelli: Vermicelli is extruded ground hard wheat. It is thinner than spaghetti and maybe a bit thinner than angel hair pasta. The packs come as long bits that you can break into bits or as cut one-inch pieces. You can directly buy roasted pieces instead of the raw bits. If you don’t find vermicelli, you can try this recipe with rice noodles. However, the cooking time will be much faster and the liquid added will have to be adjusted.

Milk and milk products: I have used full cream milk and condensed milk to make this recipe. Ideally you can rely on the sweetened condensed milk to sweeten this dessert. However, the original dish is just a bit more sweeter needing you to add more sugar to it. Instead of full cream milk, you can make this dessert with evaporated milk. This provides a deeper milk flavour to the dish. 

Sweetener: I have used sugar to give the extra bit of sweetness that the dish originally comes with. If you prefer a lesser sweetness, avoid the sugar. 

Dryfruits: The glazed cherries and the black currants give a flavour to the dish very different from the regular semiya payasam or the savine. These give an intense sweet bite to the slices of cake.

Spices and aromatics: the variation in flavour from the cardamom provides a wonderful yet nostalgic flavour to the dish. Cinnamon and cloves toasted in butter form the base aromatics. these are removed before setting the cake. 

Let’s make vermicelli cake

Roasting the vermicelli: roasting the vermicelli helps to seal the liquid from liquifying it making the whole thing to mushy mix. to achieve this add the ghee to the pan and gently roast the vermicelli bits till they turn golden brown. Along with this since the cloves and cinnamon are added to the ghee it flavours and coats the vermicelli before the milk is added to cook it. As a result every strand carries enough flavour when the dessert is completed.

Cooking the noodles: Milk is the cooking medium for this dish. You can use eveaporated milk to get that extra rich flavour. At first it appears like there is too much milk for the vermicelli to cook in. Trust the process the vermicelli absorbs and sets perfectly. Abour 5-6 minutes into cooking, add the sugar and stir it in. However, you cannot stop stirring or leave the dessert alone s it will catch the bottom of the pan pretty quickly. When the vermicelli apprears translucent add the condensed milk and mix well. Now the mix will start coating the back of teh spoon well. As it thickens a bit more add the glazed cherries and blackcurrants. Stir well and remove from heat. Check below for the quick hacks on how you can tell the mix is ready for pouring.

Setting the cake : pour the cooked mix into a greased pan. I used a dish to set this as it is easy to unmould from glass or china dishes. Tap the mix gently and cover the dish with a foil. This will prevent a skin forming on top and keep the top of the cake also equally moist when cooling. Allow the dish to cool slowly either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. 

How to test if the cooking is complete?

The best test if he vermicelli is ready to be set is by checking if the vermicelli appears transparent. Along with this, if the mixture coats the back of the spoon well and if your swipe across takes a bit of time to cove it back, the cooking mix is ready to be set and cooled.

vermicelli savine cake


Simmered and set in milk with warm spices, this vermicelli cake is a delightful Guyanese dessert that brings nostalgic memories reminding you of many cuisines at the same time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Setting time for the cake. 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Desserts
Cuisine South American, Vegetarian
Servings 8 people


  • saucepan
  • loaf pan


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups vermicelli
  • 2 cups full cream milk
  • 1/2 can condensed sweetened milk
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar Can add up to 1/2 cup for extra sweetness.
  • 1/4 cup black currants
  • 1/4 cup glazed cherries


  • Grease a casserole dish (I have used a 25x 20 cm dish) to set the dessert.
  • Into a deep saucepan add the butter, cloves and cinnamon and set on medium heat.
  • As the butter melts and spreads add the vermicelli and saute till the vermicelli appears light brown and looks toasted.
  • Add the milk and keep stirring to cook the vermicelli. Ensure to break up any lumps that are there.
  • As the mix starts bubbling, add sugar and stir in in well.
  • Cook till the mix the vermicelli appears translucent.
  • Now add the condensed milk and cook a bit further.
  • When the mix starts coating the spoon and stays to a dropping consistency, remove from heat.
  • Add the cherries and black currants and mix well.
  • Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick carefully.
  • Spoon the mix into the greased dish and let it sit.
  • Cover with a foil or wrap to prevent skin formation.
  • Let the mix cool completely.
  • Slice and serve the vamazelli cake.
Keyword diwali snacks, vermicelli recipes, Winter warmers
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Kalyani from Sizzling Tastebuds posted an interesting challenge this time on the Shh cooking secretly. If you have followed me for a while you would have figured out I regularly participate in this blogger challenge as it often sparks my creativity.  The challenge was to use vermicelli uniquely. This along with the spices that Radha chose for the secret ingredients gave me a good run for ideas. Thanks, Girls! Loved the challenge.

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At least once try this eggless vamazelli cake. You will be surprised at the similarity it evokes to a lot of desserts that were our childhood favourites. We loved carrying a share to cousins and they loved it too. Share with us your thoughts when you make vamazelli.
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Vamazelli cake recipe

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1 month ago
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What a stunning Dessert. My little one loves semiya payasam and will be floored with this Guynaese Vamazelli !

1 month ago
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Guyanese vamazelli cake Sounds interesting. I am so intrigued to try this now. This Thick vermicelli payasam looks so good.

Priya Iyer
1 month ago
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I love the sound of Vamazelli Cake – it’s a completely new type of dessert for me, and it looks so delightful! I’ll definitely try it out soon. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

1 month ago
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Wow! Vamazelli is new to me but the flavours here are so very yummy. Like you said you need not worry about spillage when you make vermicelli like this. Love the use of cloves too. I will make this delicious dessert for Holi.

1 month ago
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My husband loves sevai paysasam, and he would surely love this cake. I am bookmarking this to try for him and give him a good surprise. Love reading about Guyanese cuisine.

27 days ago
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The flavors here are so very yummy. I would love to make this Guynaese Vamazelli!

27 days ago

A delicious dessert! My mom makes cubes of vermicelli kesari and I am going down that memory lane. This vamazelli is slightly different inflavor with added cinnamon and clove. I would love to try this soon for our next festival.

27 days ago
Rating :

 A delicious dessert! My mom makes cubes of vermicelli kesari and I am going down that memory lane. This vamazelli is slightly different inflavor with added cinnamon and clove. I would love to try this soon for our next festival.

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