Jun 03



Every time Larissa posts recipes for more-or-less authentic Dutch dishes, I get the urge to cook up something that reflects my own heritage.

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.

Key ingredients: rice flour, coconut milk and coconut flakes.The sugar and butter will get nice and fluffy when you beat it.It's kind of weird to put cheddar cheese in cake, isn't it?
Sweetened coconut flakes.Bibingka batter, ready for the coconut and cheese.This photo looks suspiciously like one of the photos from my grapefruit squares post.

Recipe: Bibingka

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
  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the rice flour and baking powder. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and mix well.
  5. Stir in the milk, one can at a time, and mix well. Add the coconut flakes and cheese and stir just until combined.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The cake is done when a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.


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  1. Insider

    The coconut is a turn-off for me, but I enjoyed the story and awesome pictures!

  2. Chrissy

    Thanks! I actually don’t like coconut either … this is the only coconut-y thing I’ll eat. But that might be just because I’ve been eating it since I was a little kid, so it’s all nostalgia.

  3. Jerome

    Wow, this is totally a new look of Bibingka in the Philippines! This one looks like more of a cake :D

  4. Jeanette

    Delicious!!! I’m excited to try your grandma’s recipe on my family. Mmmmm. Bibingka.

  5. KC

    Great cake. I brought to an asian-themed pot luck and it was a great success! The texture is not like regular cakes. If you’ve ever had mochi – the texture is simlar to that. Think more dense and chewy in the middle. I followed the recipe exactly – though my baking time was 15 mins at 450, then another 37 mins at 375. I was nervous about the cheese and used a scant cup of medium cheddar. You don’t really taste the cheese in the final product, but it adds just enough salt and “unami” to make the cake more than just a “coconut cake”. A few people came up afterwards to ask if it was Cassava cake – which was pretty cool, and it made me feel like I totally pulled off something authentic!

  6. Chrissy

    Awesome, KC — glad you liked it! The cheese definitely weirds people out, but those brave enough to try it are always pleasantly surprised.

  7. Kai

    OH MY GOODNESS! I never knew what Bibingka was until today. I was playing Baking Life on facebook and googled……. got the recipe and just finished. Had a bite. HEAVEN! I had to cook it for longer as well…… maybe high altitude. Love, love, love the texture! It’s like a mochi cake. Thank you for this recipe. YUMMY! I will bring it to our Thanksgiving potluck.

  8. christina p

    i also saw it on facebooks baking life game LOL i love cocnut so i will have to try this !

  9. Josephine Hernandez

    My students and I tested the recipe and they loved it. Many thanks

  10. Valerie

    Is there any substitute for the 13×8 baking sheet?? Can’t seem to find one–even online! Thanks.

  11. mitsuko

    masarap ba? :/

  12. Jazzy

    I know this may sound silly but I have never heard of a 13 x 8 sized pan, suggestions on where I might find one?

  13. lani

    where is the vanilla and cinnamon in the recipe?

  14. sdpinay

    what size can do you get for the coconut milk and the condensed milk?

  15. DennisT

    Great recipe! It turned out perfect – even better than I remember having before. It barely fit the 13 x 8 pan and tasted like a creamy coconut custard but with a great smooth mochi texture and nice crust! The coconut milk I used were 13.5 oz. each.

  16. Janice

    The best ever home baked bibingka! Thanks so much!

  17. Neil R

    I thought the comments about putting cheese in a pastry weirded people out, seemed strange to me because most people I know love cheesecake? My favorites are cherry and lemon cheesecake.

    When I introduced my wife to cheesecake, I kind of regretted it afterwards because now I have to share … LOL

    There are so many varieties of cheese, that perhaps different varietiess of bibingka may be prepared? Just like there are different varieties of Krispy Kreme donuts, pastry chefs may devise different varieties of bibingka; perhaps sugar free varieties may be added for diabetics or health conscious folks?

    Perhaps these days folks are tired of biscotti, cakes, cannoli, cheesecakes, chocolates, cookies, donuts, muffins, biscuits, and bibingka may offer additional variety to folks with a sweet tooth…

  18. ric

    doesn’t sound or look like the babinka I am used to. At the roadside, cooked over coconut husk fire, flat, hot and a breakfast treat!!!

  19. Joe K.

    I’ve read that different parts of the Philippines made it slightly differently, many of them not using cheese. Other areas use meat with the cheese as a topping, or neither. When I made this I was told to use a special round tart dish that I had a hard time finding, so I split the batter up between various smaller glass dishes. It is also usual to line the baking dish/tray with banana leaves, as an alternative to greasing the pan. The leaves provide a rich flavor that makes this cake even more delicious in my opinion. The versions of this I’ve seen are usually the size and shape of a short muffin or scone, so I liked your recipe because it’s the first time I’ve seen anyone making this in a cake pan and I’ve wanted to try that.

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