Utterly buttery and loaded with fruits, this vanilla-flavored bread pudding cake is the yummiest breakfast or brunch treat! Use cherries, cranberries or your favorite dried berries to personalize it.
If you are Filipino and by any chance a Martial Law Baby (born in the early 70s in the Philippines) then you’d be so familiar with Nutribun. “Nutri” stands for “nutrition” while “bun” is, obviously, a bread roll. Nutribun is the name given to a bread roll developed in the early 70’s by USAID to feed students in public schools in the Philippines. Flour from the USA (and others say from Canada and Australia, too) were shipped to the Philippines to make these bread rolls. Each bun was supposed to contain at least 500 calories and enough nutrients for a day for a child who possibly wouldn’t have had anything to eat except for the bread he or she got from school.
These Nutribuns reached my tinly island of Marinduque and the public school in my hometown where I studied. We were literally served these (perhaps forced on us) on a daily basis for snacks during recess. I can’t remember now if they were given free, perhaps initially, and thereafter sold cheaply. Perhaps early in the week we were excited to see nutribuns but by the time Wednesday hit….we probably wanted to throw them away. With nutribuns, you either love them or hate them. Schools had to come up with creative ways to make these buns palatable. There were only two types of spread available to put on these so one can opt for a cheap margarine (with a sprinkling of brown sugar on top if you’re fortunate) or if you have a bit more money – peanut butter! Sometimes, condensed milk was used as a spread to make it taste better and then of course, Pansit (noodles) was used as filling too to turn this bun into a sandwich. If you wanted a really sweet option, the nutribun can be used for an ice cream sandwich, too. The possibilities were endless, I must admit, if you or the school were creative enough.
You’re probably wondering what these nutribuns have to do with this yummy Cherry Vanilla Pudding Cake recipe. I have fond memories of my mom making us Bread and Butter Pudding every Friday afternoon after school during my elementary years. I had this sudden recollection of those times when I made this bread pudding. These bread and butter puddings were done because there were always extra nutribuns from the school which my mom either bought or were given away for free (rather than be thrown away). My mom would allow me to mash these left-over nutribuns (actually much harder and denser than ordinary rolls so you need to work harder to soften them) into the custard and I was so happy and willing to do it. This really made Fridays special. And yes, the pudding was yummy and flavorful – my mom was a miracle worker considering these nutribuns were not exactly great and for some just slightly edible (to put it mildly!). We didn’t even have a proper oven but what to me looked like a square steel box heated by coconut charcoal underneath. So, my mom would either steam the pudding or use that makeshift oven. Who knew what temperature it had or even how it cooked the pudding but it did and I survived to tell the story!
To this day, I miss those pudding making days. I wouldn’t say I miss the nutribuns (which no longer exist) but for sure I would never forget those days when those hard buns sustained us!
So with that very long introduction, here’s a truly delectable Cherry Vanilla Pudding Cake recipe (with no nutribun!) that I hope you’ll all enjoy!
Click on the above icon to print. To delete the photos, simply click on each image to remove them for easy printing.
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1/3 cup dried tart Cherries
1/3 cup Raisins (Golden Raisins may be used for color contrast)
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups Half and half (Single Cream)
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) Butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (can use 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, if nutmeg is not available)
1 (12 oz) French Bread, cubed into 1-inch squares
Handy tool: Springform Pan, Strainer Cookie/Baking sheet
Bring the 1/2 cup sugar, water, raisins and dried cherries to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover and steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the fruit and reserve the liquid. You will use this for the sauce. Place the strained fruits in the fridge until needed.
Generously butter a spring-form tin. Place it on top of a cookie or baking sheet lined with either a tin foil or baking paper. This is to catch any liquid that may drip during baking.
Place the sliced bread in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, Half-and-half, melted butter, spices and Vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the bread. Combine everything using your hands then let the bread soak for about 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F while the bread is soaking.
Press half of the bread mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle half the cherries and the raisins then top with the remaining half of the bread mixture. Press down with your hands and top with the remaining cherries and raisins.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until set and the top is nicely browned.
For the Sauce:
Pour the reserved liquid into a pan and boil until reduced by half or when it has reached a syrupy consistency, approximately 12-15 minutes. Drizzle over the warm cake. Enjoy!
Alternatively, you can have it with some Vanilla Ice Cream drizzled with a little bit of the sauce on top! Yumminess!!!
This is a wonderful recipe Abby! And of course I LOVE bread and butter pudding! i've made it with many different fruits but never cherries, so thank you for the inspiration!
As for the nutribuns…well, thanks to your mom for being so creative!
Thanks for the recipe, a truly magnificent dessert fit for any table! (liking the blob of ice cream on top too!)
Ahhhh. Thanks, Mary. I know you are quite the Bread and Butter Pudding Queen so am sure glad that you like this recipe. Thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the post. 🙂
i first tasted the "nutribun" – we (my friends) in fact called it "notreban" – when i was in grade school. not that they sold it in our school canteen – i studied in a school along katipunan ave. run by jesuits – but because i had friends, street buddies, who studied in the public school near where we lived, the dr. alejandro albert public school along dapitan st, sampaloc, manila.
during those days we (in our household) were familiar with only two types of (not pandesal) bread – the pan americano and the pan de lemon. it happened one day that i tasted a different kind of bread that a buddy of mine was nibbling on and i asked him what kind of bread it was – it was the "notreban". it was huge! it was massive! it had left in my palate memory two distinct tastes, which when i encountered as an adult decades later, i would recall and associate with my first taste of the "notreban". (more of that later)
the "notreban" (if there was any available for sale) was 10¢, my buddy told me, and you have to line up outside the gate during "uwian". the gate of dr. alejandro albert ("albert" for short) was a moss green towering solid sheet steel with grills only at the top part; and the only time we could peer in to ask the unfriendly guard if there was any "notreban" for sale was when somebody (a student) would go out – i probably was able to buy only once, braving the crowd that had already gathered at the gate, every one of them probably elbowing his way to the front just to buy a "notreban". you must suspect there's a lot of spin in this story, hahaha, i hardly recall any of the details of how i got to buy that piece i remembered being too thrilled about – this also has spin. 😉 but these were the impressions i had then as a child.
the two distinct tastes i recalled : one was of whole wheat flour; the other was "bukbok" – hands down !!! :)))
Hi Kuya Rey! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories of Nutribun! 🙂 I am a product of public school (elementary and college) though I went to "some" catholic school in between and yes we have the same alma mater! 🙂 I love those days though. Am sure these nutribuns contributed to what made our generation unique. Yup, I have seen the bukbuk personally but didn't want to turn-off the readers so I didn't mention it…lol….we always said then, extra protein can't be that bad….and we have all survived and pretty healthy at that!!!
I love your post Abby…. thanks for bringing back the memories of nutriban…. you made me smile! 🙂
Thanks, Angelica! Glad you remembered it. Oh, I wouldn't change anything at all….loved those good old days!
What a wonderful side story for this~! I remember my mom telling us a story about this nutribuns. Anyway, this pudding looks delish! I love warm pudding with strawberry ice cream on top..comfort food!
Oh yes, Ice cream on top of a warm bread and butter pudding is heavenly! Thanks, Micole!
How very delicious! I love the sound of your recipe, thank you so much for sharing!
You're welcome, Lizzy! Glad you stopped by, please enjoy! 🙂
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your post and the method of making the bread pudding. Re Martial Law babies, we have Carnival babies, those who are born in Nov or thereabouts. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the post, Jennifer. I never heard of Carnival babies. Now, I know. Thanks for stopping by.