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! πŸ˜‰



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

By: Manila Spoon
May 9, 2015

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 (9×9 or an 8×11).
  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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77 Comments

  1. May 9, 2015 / 3:57 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

    • May 9, 2015 / 8:12 pm

      Thanks, Liz! I hope this will inspire you to try cassava. πŸ™‚

    • June 5, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      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!

    • Joy
      February 26, 2017 / 6:58 am

      This looks delicious. I have tried cassava but not as a dessert. I will try it.

  2. May 9, 2015 / 5:01 pm

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

  3. May 9, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    This looks SO goodl! I've never had real arrowroot (just the powder), this dessert looks amazing πŸ™‚

  4. May 9, 2015 / 8:26 pm

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

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:26 pm

      Please do Sherin and let us know. Thanks.

    • December 27, 2015 / 9:55 pm

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

    • December 28, 2015 / 10:12 pm

      Heavy cream is a little thick so I suggest using evaporated milk if you can't find single cream. πŸ™‚

  5. May 9, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    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! πŸ™‚

  6. May 9, 2015 / 11:04 pm

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

  7. May 10, 2015 / 2:45 am

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

  8. May 10, 2015 / 6:59 am

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

  9. May 11, 2015 / 11:19 am

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

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:28 pm

      Me too, love Cassava a lot. Thanks Rebecca.

  10. May 11, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    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.

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:28 pm

      Hope you get the chance April and thanks.

  11. May 11, 2015 / 1:29 pm

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

  12. May 11, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:30 pm

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

  13. May 11, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    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.)

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:32 pm

      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.

  14. May 11, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    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!

    • May 11, 2015 / 6:32 pm

      Hope you all enjoy this and thanks Kristen! πŸ™‚

  15. May 12, 2015 / 3:02 am

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

    • July 17, 2015 / 1:36 am

      Cardamom brings this over the top, Laura! πŸ™‚

  16. May 12, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    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!

  17. May 12, 2015 / 4:14 pm

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

  18. May 13, 2015 / 5:25 pm

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

  19. May 28, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    Very interesting! I've never heard of Cassava.

  20. May 29, 2015 / 12:06 am

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

  21. Anonymous
    July 17, 2015 / 1:10 am

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

    • July 17, 2015 / 1:35 am

      It's called A Dong Supermarket. πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous
      July 17, 2015 / 1:46 am

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

  22. October 3, 2015 / 5:44 pm

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

    • October 3, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      I am so delighted that you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for letting us know. πŸ™‚

  23. December 4, 2015 / 3:33 am

    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!

  24. January 17, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    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.

  25. January 27, 2016 / 12:13 am

    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

    • January 27, 2016 / 1:33 pm

      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!

  26. April 1, 2016 / 1:42 am

    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?

    • April 1, 2016 / 1:28 pm

      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! πŸ™‚

  27. April 3, 2016 / 10:05 am

    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 πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • April 4, 2016 / 10:51 pm

      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!

  28. Anonymous
    December 18, 2016 / 5:30 am

    Hi, do I need to extract (squeeze) the moisture from the grated frozen cassava before adding other ingredients. Thank you

    • December 20, 2016 / 2:42 am

      I simply defrost it and don't squeeze it anymore.

  29. December 19, 2016 / 5:23 am

    Is there a difference between sweetened condensed milk and condensed milk? Is it evaporated milk?

    • December 20, 2016 / 2:40 am

      It's not evaporated milk. Condensed milk is always sweetened so they are the same thing. πŸ™‚

  30. January 12, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    I made it and it came out really good. i was wondering if putting cheese would be anygood? ive seen it in other recipes

    • January 12, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      I am so glad you enjoyed this! Yay!! Re:cheese – because of the custard topping I am not entirely sure it will work unless you replace the custard with cheese and make that as the topping instead. That's what I have seen in Manila. But certainly should you decide to add cheese whether as topping or mixed in with cassava please let us know how it goes. Thanks! Appreciate the feedback.

  31. Anonymous
    January 20, 2017 / 6:41 am

    Will this be very sweet? Do you think I can use half condense and half evaporate milk instead of using 1 14oz can condense. Thanks

    • January 21, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      It's just fine for me but you can certainly try if you like but I cannot guarantee how it will turn out in terms of sweetness. Let us know when you do. Thanks!

  32. January 21, 2017 / 1:50 am

    I made it this evening and it was surprisingly good! Since I can't tolerate cream I took fullfat turkish yoghurt for the custard, and real vanilla from a pod, and it was just fine. Thanks for the recipe!

    • January 21, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      I am so happy that you enjoyed this and adapted it to your needs! Thanks for the feedback!

  33. Anonymous
    February 5, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I would like to follow your recipe for this cassava cake for my company next gathering thus need to double everything.
    Since Your recipe called for 1lb grated cassava, you’ll need 1 14oz can sweetened condensed Milk, 1 14oz can Coconut Milk and 2 large Eggs .
    Logic tells me if I am making 2lb grated cassava in one baking dish, I will need to double everything (i.e. 2 14oz can sweetened condensed milk; 2 14oz can coconut milk and 4 large eggs) and that include doubling the custard topping as well.
    I just want to make sure I’m right on this, kindly advice.
    Thank you.

    • February 6, 2017 / 3:22 am

      My suggestion would be to just cook them in separate baking dishes but bake them at the same time. Cooking them all in one baking dish may take quite a long time as it's doubled (unless you use a 9×13) and I am not sure about the outcome as I haven't tried doubling it and I suspect it may turn too sweet if you use double the condensed milk.

      • Filomena Stillwagon
        October 22, 2017 / 7:49 pm

        I just made this recipe with 2 lbs. of cassava…I doubled everything, cooked it in two pans, and it came out delicious! I did not use brown sugar on top…the creamy custard is awesome by itself! This is one of my hubby’s favorite desserts…I will be making this again! Thank you for this recipe!

  34. February 20, 2017 / 9:46 pm

    I am making this casava cake now, wonder why it rise unevenly. Wonder what did I do wrong?

    • February 21, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      Sorry to hear that but perhaps the batter wasn't spread evenly that's why.

  35. May 3, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    Your cake looks scrumptious… My cousin Raved about a Cassava Cake she tasted at a Party in LAX, she didn't know the name of the cake or how its made…Now i can share your recipe so she can try it as well… Thanks .

  36. May 6, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    We are in the process of adopting a girl from Africa. Cassava is her favorite food so I wanted to try to make something with it. The director of her orphanage likened cassava to Play-doh. I really liked the recipe and I'm in the process of making it again. The director also gave me a thumbs up when he tried it. My wife and kids were more apprehensive and only tried small pieces. I ended up eating most of it myself! It has a consistency of densely packed tapioca.

  37. July 13, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Hi! I want to separate the dish into smaller round aluminum pans about 6 inches around. I suspect I would need to decrease the cook time. Instead of 50 minutes would you suggest 40 instead? Or should I just try the whole "clean toothpick" technique? πŸ˜€

  38. July 13, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Hi! I was wanting to separate the batter into separate small 6 inch round foil containers. I was thinking that naturally we'd decrease the bake time from 50 minutes to maybe 40 minutes? If at all. Or should I just try the whole "clean toothpick" method? Thanks! πŸ˜€

  39. Anonymous
    July 30, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I will try putting cardamom and topping to my cassava cakr

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