Delicious Bibingka you can easily make at home! Topped with salted eggs, cheese, and grated coconut, this classic Filipino rice cake is the ultimate Christmas treat!
Since BER months are here and the holiday season has officially started, I thought I’ll update my bibingka post with brand new photos and cooking tips. Because nothing says Filipino Christmas better than this Filipino native cake, right?
I spent a good part of this week testing various recipes, trying to come up with a traditional version made from galapong. But after going through enough rice grains to feed a nation in my experimentations, I realized the easiest way to make bibingka at home is using rice flour.
Forget soaking and grinding! Buy a bag of rice flour at the grocery store, and your favorite Filipino treat will be a matter of stirring the ingredients into a batter and quickly popping the mixture in the oven to bake!
What is Bibingka
Bibingka is a classic Filipino delicacy that’s especially popular during Christmas season. Sold outside of churches during the nine-day Misa de Gallo, it’s commonly enjoyed after the mass as breakfast or as a midday snack with a cup of hot chocolate or salabat.
Similar to putong bigas, traditional bibingka is made with galapong. Rice grains are first soaked in water overnight to ferment and soften and then ground using stone mills into a thick paste.
The resulting rice dough is combined with water or coconut milk to form a batter and baked in banana-lined terra cotta pot until set and nicely charred. These specialized clay pots function like an oven, using hot coals positioned both on top and the bottom as the heat source.
The rice cakes in their basic form are a simple mixture of galapong and water, but can be made extra special with added beaten eggs, sliced salted duck eggs, and cheese. They’re usually eaten hot or warm with margarine spread on top along with a generous sprinkling of grated coconut.
Tips on How to Make Homemade Bibingka
- Do not skip the banana leaves! Not only do they keep the rice cake from sticking, but they also add incredible aroma. Inspect the leaves to make sure they’re intact and free of rips and pass them quickly over a gas flame until soft and pliable.
- I use mamon tin molds which I bought in the Philippines, but large muffin tins or fluted pie pans will also work.
- To deepen the color, you can add a drop or two of yellow food coloring to the batter.
- I like to add sliced cream cheese as a topping. You can substitute kesong puto, queso de bola or sharp cheddar cheese.
- To ensure a good rise, make sure the oven is pre-heated at 400 F. To achieve the characteristic charring obtained from cooking in clay pots, broil the bibingka for about 1 to 2 minutes after it has set.
- 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 salted eggs, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 2 ounces cream cheese, sliced thinly (you can substitute kesong puti or queso de bola)
- margarine or butter, softened
- Grated mature coconut
- Sugar to taste
- In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Stir well and let stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Rinse banana leaves under warm water and wipe off any dirt or grit. Using scissors, trim any thick edges and cut into circles large enough to cover bottom and sides of the pan.
- Quickly pass and heat banana leaves over stove flames for a few seconds or until just softened. Line the pans, making sure the leaves are intact with no rips.
- In a large bowl, combine rice flour, the remaining sugar, and salt. Whisk together until well dispersed.
- Add yeast mixture and coconut milk, Stir into a smooth, thin batter.
- Let the batter stand for about 2 to 3 hours (depending on outside temperature) or until it looks slightly bubbly.
- Add the beaten eggs and stir until blended.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans up to 3/4 full.
- Arrange sliced salted eggs and cream cheese slices on top.
- Bake in a 400 F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If desired, place under the broiler for about 1 minute or until nicely charred.
- Remove from heat and spread margarine or butter on top. Garnish with grated coconut and sprinkle with sugar to taste. Serve hot.