My favorite Filipino dessert by far is Bigingka. It’s a thin, unfrosted cake made with sweet rice flour and cream of coconut.
I first had Bibingka at a Filipino family barbecue when I started dating my husband. My now father-in-law taught me how to make it years ago. Now every time there is a family gathering, either he or I are asked to make it, which says a lot about the recipe because neither one of us are Filipino.
Sweet rice flour has an interesting texture. It’s very fine, but has a bit of grit to it. Once it’s cooked, the starches explode (not really, but they do something magic) and the cake becomes spongy and sticky like a cross between Jell-O bars and pudding.
My father-in-law taught me to use cream of coconut instead of coconut milk. It has more fat, sugar and flavor. He also adds in an undrained can of crushed pineapple for an enhanced tropical flavor.
My only change to his recipe is that I sprinkle the top with brown sugar and granulated sugar to create a nice caramelized crunch.
I hope you journey to the Philippines with your fork and try this unique, yummy dessert.
UPDATE: You can find sweet rice flour either in the Asian aisle of your grocery or in the gluten-free section with the Bob’s Red Mill products. You can find cream of coconut near the alcohol and pina colada mix.
Other Filipino Recipes
- one 8-oz. package cream cheese
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 lb. (3 ½ cups) sweet rice flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- one 15-oz. can cream of coconut
- 1 cup milk
- one 8-oz. can crushed pineapple
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir, until smooth.
Pour into a greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.