May 9, 2015

Cassava Cake with Creamy Custard Topping


Upon touchdown at Ninoy Aquino International Airport whenever I return home to Manila, there is one dessert I instantly dream of and crave - CASSAVA CAKE. With a soft and spongy texture, flavored with coconut and condensed milk and then topped with a creamy custard sauce - my taste buds instantly dance with joy with each bite of this favorite Filipino delicacy. Go to any mall or market anywhere in the Philippines and you're sure to find cassava cake being offered on sale. We just love this delicious dessert so much!


Cassava, also known as manioc, Brazilian arrowroot, tapioca and often referred to as yucca (though they're not really the same), is a starchy tuberous root of a tree that grows abundantly in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America. It is in fact a staple much like corn and rice in certain countries. This is what a cassava looks like. You can find these already frozen and grated at many Asian stores so it's very accessible now.  And certainly in the Philippines, you can find the tree all over the place.

Photo credit goes to Amada44 who contributed this photo to Wikipedia.
While there are many uses for cassava the ultimate favorite would be the Cassava Cake. I've had quite a few slices of this delectable treat in the Philippines when I returned home recently and now I miss it so much. Thankfully, a Filipina friend of mine invited me grocery shopping to a huge Asian store in Hartford last week and I was able to grab a packet of this frozen cassava. It was time to make my own version of this yummy cake so I can literally have my cake and eat it, too! ;)


For this version, I added a little ground cardamon which you probably won't find in any other usual cassava cake recipe but I thought it might work and wow it did! Ever so subtle is the taste but you can tell that a tiny amount of cardamom gives this cake an extra layer of yum. I know it for sure because hubby who normally is not into our puddings and homemade delicacies loved it a lot. And then I gave some of this to my Filipino friends to sample and they called me the next day to say that they really enjoyed this cassava cake. So now this version is fully tried and tested and given the seal of approval. But if you can't find cardamom, don't worry it will still come out yummy because the added creamy vanilla custard topping also gives this cake a lot of flavor. Instead of the usual plain condensed milk on top which I used to make for this cake I thought, I'll improvise and add a thin layer of custard (inspired by our leche flan) on top and then sprinkle some brown sugar to really bring it over the top. So next time you go to an Asian store, grab a packet or 2 of grated cassava (if frozen, simply thaw before using) and make  this! Enjoy!

Cassava Cake with Creamy Custard Topping






With a soft and spongy texture, flavored with coconut and condensed milk and then topped with a creamy vanilla custard sauce - your taste buds will dance with joy with each bite of this favorite Filipino delicacy.

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 lb grated Cassava (if frozen, thaw first)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed Milk
  • 1 14 oz can Coconut Milk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/4 - 1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom (optional but highly recommended)

  • For the Custard Topping 

  • 1/2 a 14 oz can of condense milk
  • 1/4 cup Half-n-half (Single Cream)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a baking dish (9x9 or an 8x11).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the grated cassava, condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs, and ground cardamom (if using) until well-mixed. Pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until almost fully set. Remove from the oven and pour the custard sauce on top tilting the pan gently to ensure that the sauce has spread evenly. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the custard has set.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to broil. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until the top is nicely golden and caramelized or use a flame torch to achive the same result.
  5. Cool completely before slicing. I promise this is a slice of heaven!
Yield: 12-16 slices
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

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57 comments

  1. I don't think I've ever tasted cassava anything---but I'd certainly dive right in if I had a slice of your cake in front of me :)

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I hope this will inspire you to try cassava. :)

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    2. I have been wanting to make this cake for a long time! But your recipe made it sound so simple...have to make it indeed! Thank you ever so much for sharing!

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  2. This looks delicious. And I've never worked with Cassava, so that will be a fun project.

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  3. This is such a delicious looking cake!!! I would love to try a piece or two!! xoxo Catherine

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  4. This looks SO goodl! I've never had real arrowroot (just the powder), this dessert looks amazing :)

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  5. this is a first for me. I am used to eating spiced dishes using Cassava. This is one I need to try now

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    1. Please do Sherin and let us know. Thanks.

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    2. hello Manila spoon gusto kolang po malaman kung anong klasing cream ang gagamitin sa custard ? pede korin po ba ilagay ang havy cream ?

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    3. Heavy cream is a little thick so I suggest using evaporated milk if you can't find single cream. :)

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  6. I've never tried cassava, but I want it right now! Abigail your pictures and recipe make me want to grab a slice of our lovely and beautiful cake, pinned! :)

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  7. Oh this looks good! I love the custard on top. I've never cooked cassava. Thanks for the delicious inspiration!

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  8. This looks absolutely delicious Abby and wish I could try it now! Pinned and shared!

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  9. I'm not familiar with Cassava cake, but it sure looks and sounds amazing !

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  10. Well I know I love Cassava (Yucca) fries, but I've never made a sweet version! So great I love this crazy starch!

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    1. Me too, love Cassava a lot. Thanks Rebecca.

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  11. I have never had Cassava or Cassava cake but this looks absolutely delicious, Abigail. I would love to try it! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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    1. Hope you get the chance April and thanks.

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  12. Love learning about new ingredients and recipes. Certainly never tried this before but I think I will now.

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  13. This is a major paradigm shifter, Abby! I had never thought to turn cassava into something sweet like a cake, but you make it seem so delightful :-)

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    1. You got to try it Cyrus as it surely belongs to your list of exotic dishes. Thanks.

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  14. I got a cassava root from my CSA recently - I ended up making yucca fries, but I looked at a few cassava cake recipes. Ultimately, I decided it was too complicated for the night on which I wanted to make the cassava root into part of our dinner. Now that I've got yours, I'm determined to actually buy a cassava root (I see them frequently at the store but have always passed them by, because I haven't had the faintest idea what to do with them.)

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    1. You can certainly try this Laura and if it's easier for you - try to get the frozen and already grated one. That's the one I always use so I don't have deal with peeling and grating.

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  15. I love desserts with coconut! This one looks so good! I might make this for a get together I am having with my college friends in a few weeks!

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    1. Hope you all enjoy this and thanks Kristen! :)

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  16. I love the addition of cardamom to this! I am totally looking for grated cassava after getting back from Italy!

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    1. Cardamom brings this over the top, Laura! :)

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  17. I've not had casava in a cake, only as casava fries in a Brazilian restaurant but this looks great and I'd love to try it!

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  18. I've never had it, BUT I so want to!!! I see Cassava Cake in my very, very near future!

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  19. I have never heard of cassava cake. This looks so delicious!. I will have to try it this weekend.

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  20. Very interesting! I've never heard of Cassava.

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  21. I haven't heard of this either and I'm trying to figure out why not! It looks amazing, so moist and delicious!

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  22. What is the name of Asian grocery store in Hartford? I'm curious, I'm from that area.

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    1. It's called A Dong Supermarket. :)

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    2. Great! I'll have to check it out. Cassava cake is one of my favorites. I'll have to attempt to make it myself!

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    3. You're welcome and hope you like it.

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  23. Made this today at the request of some co-workers, came out fabulous! Thank you!!!

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    1. I am so delighted that you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for letting us know. :)

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  24. Hi! I just want to ask if i can use cassava flour as substitute? Thank you 😊

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    1. I am not sure as I haven't tried that myself though I can imagine it will result to a different cake because of the difference in texture and the extra moisture from the grated cassava. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out. Thanks!

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    2. Hi I made cassava cake just yesterday but I add young coconut string to it , boy you talking about delicious it was so delicious that it didn't even make it to dinner time.

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  25. Hi! I just tried your recipe here, and I'm a bit concerned that I didn't do it right because the batter was quite liquidy before going into the oven. U.S. It supposed to be that way? I'm afraid it won't firm

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    1. Oh don't worry, if you followed the recipe exactly you should be fine. It doesn't look thick like a cake batter but it should form fine once it's in the oven and after it has cooled down. Hope that helps!

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  26. I haven't heard of single cream before, is it the all purpose cream here in the ph? If not, can I use it as a substitute?

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    1. Single cream is not as thick as all purpose cream. You can use evaporated milk or use half milk and half cream as single cream is essentially half and half. Hope that helps! :)

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  27. Hi Manila spoon, is there a variation if you can't get cassava? Dried tapioca from supermarket perhaps?? Am hanging out for some after seeing your cake :-) :-)

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    1. I am not sure as I have never tried that so I am sorry I won't be able to give an opinion. If you are near an Asian store, you can buy frozen cassava and all you need is thaw that before using. But if you do try, please let us know if it works. Thanks Lynley!

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