Bibingka cakes are a popular Christmas treat in many parts of the Philippines. Traditionally cooked by street vendors the nine nights before Christmas, the cakes are cooked in banana leaves over hot coals for extra flavour.
- 1 large (about 60 cm long) banana leaf
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra, to grease and brush
- 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 315 g (1¾ cups) rice flour
- 45 g (¼ cup) glutinous rice flour (see Note)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 30 g (¼ cup) grated cheddar
- 20 g (¼ cup) desiccated coconut
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut banana leaf into 16 x 12 cm x 3 cm strips. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Using tongs, dip each banana leaf strip into the water for 30 seconds to soften. Refresh leaves in a bowl of iced water, then drain on paper towel.
Grease 8 holes of a 125 ml (½ cup) muffin pan and line each hole with 2 leaf strips, overlapping to form a cross. Brush with a little melted butter.
Whisk together coconut cream, eggs, butter and sugar. Sift rice flours and baking powder into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually whisk in egg mixture until smooth. Spoon batter into muffin holes and bake for 15 minutes or until slightly firm in the centre.
Remove from oven, scatter over cheese and coconut, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or cold.
• Glutinous rice flour is available from Asian food shops.
Photography by Janyon.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4.