Filipino Dessert (Daring Baker Challenge November 2011)

I’m afraid to admit that my rating of Filipino cuisine isn’t too high. I spent a week in Cebu & Leyte with my boyfriend earlier on this year. We sampled a huge range of the local delicacies. We’d spend hours in the sweets & treats aisles of the supermarket, amused over the purposely misspelt brand namez and the cartoon like packaging. Once seduced by their quirky branding, we were quickly disappointed with the product. The bakeries had a wonderful array of different shaped buns with more inventive names – sweet heart and yoyo, brilliant! We were particularly fond of ‘Red Ribbon’ chain of bakeries, chiffon cake rolls, filled with fresh mango & whipped cream was delicious. There was also an abundance of purple – ube, a vibrant purple yam which tasted like sweet potato. Our experience of desserts in Jolly Bee was rather traumatic – scalding hot Zert Pie (a health hazard!) and ube ice-cream topped with grated cheese – the combination of the plasticized cheese against the cold cream failed terribly. Read about my culinary experience in the Philippines here.

I cannot remember seeing Sans Rival or Bibingka on my travels. The Sans Rival was easy enough to make, I used desiccated coconut in place of cashews. The overall dessert was sickly sweet, sweet meringue layered with sweet buttercream. I could only manage a small amount at a time. I ate these with a dollop of plain yoghurt to dampen down the sweetness.  For my second attempt I used tahini and peanut butter to glue the layers together instead of buttercream.

I wasn’t too sure if I would like the Bibingka, I was feeling wary about the sugar with cheese & egg combination. I tried to normalize this by thinking about cheese & fruit food pairing. I made a small batch of these cakes, reducing the sugar content dramatically, replacing melted butter with oil, and adding a few drops of Ube flavoring for added authenticity. I made mini cupcakes, they tasted good warm. As a tribute to the egg, I added a piece of dried apricot to these cakes. I wasn’t brave enough to grate edam over these but tried cream cheese, it wasn’t too bad! Despite their rice-flour contents, they weren’t too crumbly and dry.

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

Recipe Source: The Sans Rival recipe is based off of experience and trying different recipes/alterations over the years. I like a lot of the sponge and so use a lot of egg whites. The Bibingka comes from my friend Jun at Jun-blog, my favorite Filipino cooking blog.

Sans Rival:
• Brushing the parchment paper with some oil will help you to peel it off after the dacquoise is baked.
• Do not grind the nuts down to a fine flour/powder. This recipe is better with the nuts in a grainy/sandy grind.
• It is important to peel off the parchment within a couple of minutes of it coming out of the oven. Certainly while it is still warm.
• After I’ve removed the paper, I like to return it into the warm oven to dry out more as the oven is cooling down. You want crunchy layers.
• Banana leaves can be found in the freezer section of Asian markets.

Preparation time:
Sans Rival:
Batter prep: 20 minutes
Baking: 30-60 depending on layers
Frosting: 30 minutes
Assembly: 15 minutes

Prep: 15 minutes
Baking: 25 minutes

Equipment required:
• Parchment paper
• 2-4 9 inch (23 cm) cake pans – you’ll be making 4 layers, so you might have to reuse pans
• Whisk
• Spatula
• Candy thermometer
• Mixer, hand or upright
• Mixing bowls
• Ramekins
• Mason Jar if choosing to make the salted eggs

Sans Rival:
Servings: 12

Photos shown are chocolate version, which is not traditional.

10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews

Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

(Note the more finely ground for folding into meringue. The coarsely ground for is decoration of finished cake.)

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like


1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.


Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of
buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and
sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

Thank you to Jun, from Jun-blog, for his recipe.

2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11.3 oz) rice flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) (80 gm) (2.8 oz) glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) baking powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2⅔ oz) unsalted butter melted
1-1/2 cup (360 ml) coconut milk
6 pieces banana leaves cut into 8-inch (20 cm) circles
1 salted egg, sliced into 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick slices, recipe follows
Butter, salted or unsalted, for brushing the tops
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) grated coconut (optional)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) grated Edam cheese (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Line six tart pans or ramekins with banana leaves and brush the leaves with butter.

3. Combine rice flour, glutinous rice flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a bowl. Beat eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add butter and coconut milk and mix well. Add the flour mixture and blend well until smooth.
4. Pour the rice batter equally into the six pans or ramekins. Lay a slice of salted egg on top and bake until the cake is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Take the cakes out of the oven and brush the top with butter. Turn the broiler to low and broil the cakes to brown the top for about two minutes.

5. Serve the cakes warm. Brush the cakes with butter and sprinkle with sugar, grated coconut, and grated Edam cheese.

Cooking notes from Jun:

• For the rice and glutinous rice flour, I recommend using the Thai brand commonly found in most Asian grocery stores.
• Use either tart pans or ramekins lined with banana leaves cut into circles. The cakes baked in 6-inch (15 cm) pans more closely resemble the traditional ones. The cakes baked in 4-inch (10 cm) ramekins are thicker and take longer to bake.
• Instead of a sliced salted egg, the cakes can be topped with slices of Edam or Gouda cheese.
• When using frozen grated coconut let the grated coconut thaw then place the thawed coconut on paper towels to soak up the extra moisture. Place them on a baking tray and lightly toast them for about a few minutes with the broiler (griller) turned on low. Use grated coconut and NOT grated young coconut.

1 part salt
4 parts water
sichuan pepper corns
1 tablespoon brandy or whiskey
Eggs, duck or chicken (duck is traditional)


1. Boil all ingredients except eggs on the stove until the salt is dissolved. Let the liquid cool.
2. Place eggs in a clean mason jar, pour in the salt water, seal.
3. Place in your pantry for 2-3 weeks. To check if they are done, remove an egg, cook it, and taste it. You may decide that the rest of the eggs need a few more days.

• Start checking at the two week mark. I waited three weeks and they were super salty.
• I made mine without the alcohol because I didn’t have any. I also just used regular peppercorns.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The Sans Rival definitely must be refrigerated until ready to serve. It will keep for about three days, but fresher is better. Bibingka should be served warm. It will keep for a day in the fridge.

4 responses to “Filipino Dessert (Daring Baker Challenge November 2011)

  1. It was great to be able to revisit the exotic food we sampled on our Philippines adventure 11 months ago. You described those culinary exploits with your characteristic wit which has become a hallmark of this blog. I really enjoyed those chiffon cakes – tasty yet so light that they were almost healthy. The Sans Rival you made for this challenge was evocative of that trip, the coconut and the buttercream and indulgent treat. Those ube cupcakes were lovely even without a topping of cheez!

  2. Your Daring Bakers projects look great! I need to see if I can find some Ube flavoring at one of our local Asian markets.

    Your food recap during your travels through the Philippines was hilarious, but also sad because that’s not how I know Filipino food at all after growing up eating it every day. Hopefully, if you ever return, you get to try some better (hot!) dishes! 😉

    • Hi Julie, Thanks for your comment! I hope I didn’t offend you with my experience of Filipino food, I’m so sorry! I had a great time in Cebu & Leyte, the food was certainly memorable! 🙂

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