(Filipino sweet coconut and rice flour cake)
Bibingka is a lightly sweet, moist cake made with rice or cassava flour and traditionally cooked over charcoal in a banana-leaf-lined clay pot. This simpler version can be made in a cake pan in the oven.
Bibingka especial, with tasty toppings, is popular in the Philippines during the Christmas holiday season and is eaten after Midnight Mass on Christmas Day.
Try to use the banana leaf for authentic flavor. Packages of banana leaves can be found in the frozen section of many Asian and Latino markets. If you can't find banana leaves, just substitute wax or parchment paper.
4 to 6 servings
- Banana leaf (optional) -- 1
- Rice flour -- 2 cups
- Baking powder -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt -- pinch
- Eggs, beaten -- 3
- Sugar -- 3/4 cup
- Coconut milk -- 1 1/2 cups
- White cheddar cheese, grated -- 1/2 cup
- Grated coconut -- 1/2 cup
- Unsalted butter, room temperature -- 2 tablespoons
- Sugar -- 2 tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the banana leaf, pat it dry and cut it into a round about 1 inch larger on all sides than a 9-inch cake pan. Grease the banana leaf and fit it into the pan with the edges coming up the side of the pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the eggs are frothy, about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, then 1/2 of the coconut milk. Follow this by another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining coconut milk and then the remaining flour.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and place it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cake pan from the oven and sprinkle the top with the cheddar cheese and grated coconut.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, spread the remaining butter over top of the cake and sprinkle it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cool for about 10 minutes. Gently remove the cake to a serving platter and serve warm.
- Substitute whole milk for some or all of the coconut milk.
- Other Toppings: Try salted duck eggs, sliced into rounds or pineapple rings.
- Cassava Bibingka: This version of bibingka is made with grated cassava (tapioca) root and is more like a pudding. It is usually topped with a layer of sweet custard.