Americanized Bibingka

Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
Living in the United States, we don’t always have easy access to Filipino food. I guess it depends on where in the U.S. you live. Unfortunately, where I live, if you want Filipino food, you need to make it yourself. There have been times when I’ve really been craving some native food from back home. This recipe was born from one of those cravings.

Filipino bibingka galapong is a native cake made of rice flour that’s cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. As strange as it sounds, the sweet little cakes are dotted with pieces of quesong puti (carabao milk cheese) and wedges of itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). Growing up, the best bibingkahan to get hot, fresh-made bibingka was a place called Ferino’s. It was started in 1938 by a man and his wife who made their bibingkas on three clay pots set on a bench. From there, the business grew till they eventually had shops all over town.

Anyway, I was craving the taste of Ferino’s bibingka one day. Since I don’t have a clay pot or banana leaves, and since we can’t get quesong puti or itlog na maalat where we live, I came up with this recipe which I called “Americanized Bibingka” because I baked it in a pyrex glass baking dish in the oven, and I substituted American ingredients for the native Filipino ingredients I couldn’t get – cream cheese for the quesong puti and dried shredded coconut for the itlog na maalat. It’s not Ferino’s, but it’s a really good substitute.

This recipe makes a big pyrex dish so it’s perfect for parties or get-togethers. Don’t expect it to look anything like traditional native Filipino bibingka galapong. Just follow the recipe and you’ll get a good taste of what bibingka is like, albeit without the look. Everybody loves it, including all our American friends.

AMERICANIZED BIBINGKA GALAPONG

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 box (8-oz.) cream cheese
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded, sweetened, desiccated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar and water.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 9” x 13” pyrex glass baking dish.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt and stir together the butter and cream cheese. The cream cheese mixture will be separated and lumpy. It looks weird, but don’t worry. This is normal.
    Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture as evenly as you can over the cake batter. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfectly even. You can’t.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cake from oven and top with shredded coconut (as much as you want).
  8. Return cake to the oven and broil till the coconut flakes turn golden brown.

NOTE:  If you can’t get self-rising flour, you can make your own by mixing together:
                4 cups all-purpose flour
                2 Tbsp. double acting baking powder
                2 tsp. salt

Mom’s Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake

Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake | Pinky's Pantry
When I was growing up in the Philippines, there was a bakeshop called Cookie Monster Bake Shop. They were famous for their delicious chocolate cake. The moist and tender cake wasn’t overly sweet, but it was the perfect base for the yema-like filling inside it and the rich chocolate frosting that covered it. My Mom tried to imitate their cake and came up with this recipe which tastes very similar to Cookie Monster’s. Mom would fill it with her coffee-scented mocha filling, and frost it with her silky chocolate icing. Our family called this Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake, but I honestly think my Mom’s version was better than the bake shop’s.

I hope you don’t mind the odd format. Out of nostalgia, I decided to type out the recipe the same way my Mom had it written in her old, stain-spattered recipe notebook. Read it all the way to the end before starting so you can gather all your ingredients together.

MOM’S COOKIE MONSTER CHOCOLATE CAKE

1. Grease bottom and sides of two 9×13 rectangular baking pans. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper.

2. Sift into a large bowl and mix together well:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

3. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ stick margarine
  • ¾ cup canola oil

4. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Add, but don’t mix till all ingredients are in:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (mashed in small bowl to remove lumps)
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla

6. Blend thoroughly and pour into prepared pans.

7. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool. Carefully peel off parchment paper. The cakes will seem rather flat. That’s because my Mom baked the cake in two pans instead of baking it in one pan and then having to split that big cake in half to make two layers. Don’t worry. After you stack one layer on top of the other with the filling in between, it will be fine.

9. When cakes are completely cool, fill with Mom’s Mocha Filling and frost with Mom’s Chocolate Icing.

MOM’S MOCHA FILLING

1. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan and using a wire whisk, whisk together:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 can (12 ozs.) evaporated milk

2. Place saucepan over low heat and add:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine

3. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. This burns fast so watch carefully!

4. Keep cooking till mixture begins to bubble; then let boil for 3-5 minutes, all the while stirring slowly and continuously with the wire whisk.

5. Remove from fire and allow to cool completely before using. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the filling, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

MOM’S CHOCOLATE ICING

1. Using a wire whisk, mix together in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder
  • 2 cans (12 ozs. each) evaporated milk

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

3. In a small bowl, beat:

  • 6 egg yolks

4. When chocolate mixture just begins to boil, pour one-third of it into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks and mix well. This tempers the yolks which keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs.

5. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and combine with the rest of the chocolate mixture.

6. Return to flame and add:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

7. Keep cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes back to a boil.

8. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, stirring till mixture reaches spreading consistency.

9. Cool completely before frosting cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the frosting, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.