by Norma Chikiamco
8 – 10 servings
To line the pan:
1 – 2 sheets banana leaves
Butter, for brushing on leaves
For the cake:
1 lb (500 grams) fresh cassava roots, peeled
2/3 cup (150 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups (500 ml) thin coconut milk (may use canned)
For the milk topping:
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) coconut cream (may use canned)
¼ cup (60 grams) butter
1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
Prepare pan lining:
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
Turn on the stove to medium and hold the banana leaves over the open flame for several seconds, until they wilt and turn soft and pliable (you can use a pair of tongs to hold the leaves). Arrange the leaves on a 9” x 13” baking pan (around 23 cm x 32 cm). Brush the leaves with butter. Set aside.
Bake the cake:
Grate the peeled cassava roots (you should have 4 cups). In a bowl, beat eggs until foamy then add sugar, salt and melted butter. Blend in thin coconut milk and the grated cassava. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Make the milk topping:
While cake is baking, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, coconut cream and butter in a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, around 20 – 25 minutes. Stir in lemon or lime zest. Remove from heat.
After 20 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and spread the milk topping on the surface. Return cake to oven and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until topping turns golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center of the cake comes out clean (or with just a few crumbs clinging to it). Let cool a few minutes before serving.
Coconut cream is known in Tagalog as kakang gata. It is obtained from the first pressing of the coconut and is thicker than coconut milk. It’s available in cans and in tetra packs or you can make it yourself. Grate the flesh of one coconut then add ½ cup water. Press the mixture then squeeze the coconut to obtain the milk. Strain into a bowl.
To make thin coconut milk: Add around 2 cups water into the same grated coconut flesh. Squeeze the flesh to obtain thin coconut milk.