Cassava Cake with Custard Topping made with grated cassava and coconut milk. Soft and moist with a creamy flan topping, this classic Filipino treat is the ultimate snack or dessert. And it's naturally gluten-free, too!
As a Filipino in the U.S. without complete access to indigenous ingredients, I, at times, have to make substitutions when recreating the Filipino dishes I grew up with. A good example would be my chicken tinola and ginisang munggo with chicharon; I usually use spinach leaves because the traditional malunggay or ampalaya leaves are not always easy to find even at Asian supermarkets.
These later years, however, have seen a considerable variety of Filipino food products now being imported and made available for us Filipino-American consumers. On most occasions, I have to forgo of “freshness” as these items come pre-packaged or frozen, but the convenience and time-saving elements are tradeoffs I don’t entirely mind.
If I have to peel and grate cassava roots, crack and milk coconut heads myself, I’d just as soon forget about making this cassava cake with custard topping. But by just heading to the freezer section for already-grated cassava and walking down the aisle for canned coconut milk, I can have it baking to sweet perfection in the oven in a matter of minutes.
What is Cassava Cake Made Of
Cassava cake in its basic form is made of grated cassava, coconut milk, and sugar which are combined into a batter, and then baked in the oven until set. The cooked cake is usually crowned with a choice of topping, ranging from a simple sprinkling of shredded cheese to a more elaborate custard made with eggs, condensed milk, and evaporated or coconut milk, and then baked a second time until golden.
As with most dishes, the recipe may vary depending on the cook and may include other additions to the batter mixture such as sweetened macapuno strips, young coconut meat, desiccated coconut, nata de coco or cheese.
How to Prepare Fresh Cassava
- Depending on the length, you might need to cut the tuber crosswise into halves or thirds to make peeling more manageable.
- With a sharp paring knife, slice the tuber lengthwise through the thick bark and carefully insert the thin end of the knife between the bark and the flesh to loosen. If the skin won't peel easily, cut off the ends of the tuber and stand the root up on its end. With the knife, slice vertically down the sides of the root to peel the skin.
- Wash thoroughly and soak in a bowl of water until ready to grate to keep from discoloring.
- Grate the cassava using the small holes of a grater or run in a food processor into a fine texture.
- Using a cheesecloth, squeeze the grated cassava of the liquid which could be bitter. Please note that I use frozen cassava which I don't drain when thawed; if using fresh, moisten with about ¼ cup of water to yield the soft, moist texture of this recipe.
Tips on How to Make Cassava Cake with Custard Topping
- If using frozen grated cassava, thaw completely but DO NOT drain. If using freshly grated, which is usually squeezed dry, add about ¼ cup water to moisten it. The recipe requires 16 ounces or two cups.
- I use a baking pan I bought in the Philippines which is 9 x 6-inches in size. If using a less-wide pan, adjust the cooking time as the cake will be thicker. Insert a toothpick in the center; if it comes out clean the cake is ready to top for the second baking.
- Aside from a few dark spots at the edges, you can see that the cake is mostly even in color. Make sure to use a light colored baking pan, so the bottom of the kalamay doesn't darken too much through the twice-bake process. If the cake or the custard is browning too fast before fully set, tent with foil.
- Do not cover the cake until fully cooled as the escaping steam will cause water puddles to pool on top.
- Leftovers should keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Cover tightly with plastic film to lock in freshness.
I first published this recipe in June 2013 and am updating it today with new photos and tips. I also modified the recipe and halved the ingredients to fit one pan (the previous measurements were for two pans).
Make this cassava cake today! I know taste is subjective and bragging is not allowed on the blog 🙂 but I have to say, this is one of, if not the best cassavang kalamay you'll ever try. I used to sell it along with mini egg pies, and they were both my bestsellers!
The cassava layer is soft, moist, and delicious on its own but the flan topping takes it over the top. It's like having two desserts in one bite!
Cassava Cake with Custard Topping
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 1 package (16 ounces) frozen grated cassava, thawed but NOT drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) macapuno strings, drained
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup sugar
For the Custard Topping
- 2 egg yolks
- 7 ounces condensed milk
- 6 ounces evaporated milk
- Brush bottom and all sides of a 9 x 6 baking pan with butter. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine grated cassava, macapuno strings, coconut milk, condensed milk, and sugar. Stir well. If using freshly grated cassava which is usually squeezed dry, add ¼ cup of water to the mixture.
- Pour cassava mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake in a 375 F oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean; if the cake is browning too much, tent with foil.
- Meanwhile, In a bowl, combine custard ingredients: egg yolks, 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk, and 6 ounces evaporated milk. Stir until well-blended and strain using a fine-mesh sieve.
- Remove the cake from the oven and carefully pour custard topping mixture over the surface to cover entirely. Return to the oven and continue to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the flan comes out clean; if the top is browning too much, loosely tent with foil.
- Remove the cassava cake from the oven and allow to cool before slicing into servings.