Tasty Philippine Treat (think Rice Krispies in Banana Leaves)

Quick Bibingka Recipe

A Filipino classic this sweet cake is tremendously easy to make and disproportionately tasty. Think sweet, buttery cornbread with just a bit of cheese. Very light with a smooth crumb. This recipe has been simplified from the traditional preparation methods which call for wrapping in banana leaves and baking inside of goats’ intestines for three days under a full-moon. This version only takes a few minutes to make and dirties only one mixing bowl.

Tips: First, make at least two of these because they go that quickly. Second, use buttermilk if you can — I think it really adds depth, but if this is all that’s holding you back from making this then by all means use regular moo-juice. Third, use whatever cheese you have handy — another reason to make more than one, experiment with the extras. Cheddar? Yum. Note that if you use a cheese other than cream cheese you may want to add it later in the baking process — experiment.

Prep time: 10 mins

Total Cooking time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 2 tsps Baking Powder
  • 1 cup butter milk (substitute regular milk is OK)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • cream cheese (approx. 3 oz)
  • salted egg (optional and not really advised)
  • 1 tbls melted butter (for topping)
  • 2 tbls sugar (for topping)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (I hate the term “preheat”). Butter, grease, whatever, an 8-inch cake pan.
  2. Sift flour and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in milk, egg, and sugar until just combined.
  3. Pour mix into pan and pop into oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and place cream cheese on top. Here, if you’re a purist, you’d add the egg. Me? No way. Bake for another 15 minutes. If baking more than one this would be a dandy place to trade racks.
  5. Brush bibingka with melted butter and the reserved sugar. Place back in oven under the broiler (you may want to raise the rack) until sugar is just melted and bubbly, and the cheese is golden brown, approx. 2-3 minutes. BUT DO NOT BLINK, DO NOT WALK AWAY — watch this closely, the difference between done and burnt can be about 8 seconds.
golden bibinka

Bibingka, Fool!

I prefer to serve at room temperature and like most baked goods, especially those with a cheesey component, this is better the next day. Did I mention baking two? Or three?

Follow-up: Rene insists on the egg and baking in banana leaves.

OK. In response to the kind person who asked about self-rising flour: Yes, using self-rising flour is fine, just dispense with the baking powder (self-rising already contains baking powder).

And more trivia: Baking powder? Just equal amounts of cream of tarter and baking soda, acid plus base. All it needs, therefore, is liquid to start giving off CO2 — that’s the rising part.

Lastly, this bibingka recipe replaces the traditional rice flour with the easier to find wheat kind, and nowhere mentions coconut milk — a pinoy trademark. If such Americanisms are upsetting try out Wikipedia’s more traditional bibingka recipe.

recipe courtesy Rey Arcedera