But then I think about all the weird things that Filipinos have been known to eat — like stew made out of pig entrails and blood and boiled bird embryos — and go looking for another cupcake recipe instead.
Don’t mind me, though. I’m pretty much the worst Filipino ever. I refuse to eat a major staple of Filipino cuisine: fish. Have you ever heard of such a thing? A Filipino girl who doesn’t like fish?
I’m actually not a huge fan of Asian cuisines in general. Shameful, I know. I blame it on the fact that I’m only half Filipino, and fully McDonald’s-ized.
Today, though, I’m introducing you to one of the few Filipino foods that I’ll voluntarily eat. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that this food is cake. It’s called bibingka.
Bibingka is dense and chewy and made with rice flour, coconut and cheese. Cheese? Yes, cheese. If that sounds a little weird to you, think back to those cooked chicken fetuses I told you about earlier. How relatively normal does rice-coconut-cheese cake sound now?
I got this recipe from my mom, who got it from my grandma, who is awesome. I just wanted to throw that out there. Anyway, her recipe said to use either two cans of coconut milk or two cans of evaporated milk. I decided to use one of each, for no good reason. But you can do whatever you want.
There’s only two sort-of exotic ingredients in this bibingka recipe: Mochiko rice flour and the coconut milk. You can get both in the Asian section of the ethnic food aisle at Vons.
Oh, and if you’re totally against the idea of cheese in your cake (even though cheddar makes everything better!) try this version of bibingka — it’s got brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Not as authentic, but I bet it’s still delicious.
From my grandma
- ½ stick of butter, soft
- 2½ cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 box (16 ounces) Mochiko rice flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cans coconut milk or evaporated milk
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Preheat your oven to 450˚F, and grease a 13-inch-by-8-inch baking sheet. (The pan is critical. Any other size, and your bibingka is doomed.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. On low speed, slowly add the sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the rice flour and baking powder. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and mix well.
- Stir in the milk, one can at a time, and mix well. Add the coconut flakes and cheese and stir just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. You’re probably going to get a little nervous here, thinking all the batter won’t fit. Don’t worry — just fill that pan right up.
- Bake at 450˚F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375˚F and bake for 20 more minutes. Cover the pan with foil when when it gets brown.
- The cake is done when a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.
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