Cassava Cake

by Jen on October 11, 2012

Oh, the humble cassava! A tuber otherwise known as yuca, manioc, tapioca, garri, or kamoteng kahoy, is one of the most tenacious root crop in the world. It is capable of growing in the worst agricultural conditions, therefore, had become a farm staple in many developing countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. Generally regarded as a poor man’s crop, the cassava – in my opinion – rightly deserves a bit of the spotlight.

The Filipinos – my peeps – make a wonderfully chewy sweet cake known simply as cassava cake (consequently, it’s gluten-free). Before the dawn of the internet, I thought we were the only culture who made cakes out of this root crop. But I eventually learned that other countries also had the same swell idea: Brazil (calls them bolo de macaxeira), Colombia and Panama (calls them enyucado de coco), Singapore and Malaysia (calls them kuih ubi kayu), Fiji (calls them vakalavalava). We were not alone!

The Filipino-style cassava cake yields a dense and glutinous (though it is gluten-free) base cake, cloaked in a creamy topping, which is sometimes broiled to attain a burnt patina.

This version is not too sweet (just the way I like it), and let me tell you, it can’t be any easier making this Filipino dessert! Perhaps this is why it never fails to make an appearance in most Filipino parties – and everyone has their own version!

So, if you have South or Central American, Malaysian, Indonesian, or Polynesian friends, maybe you can have a cassava cake cook-off!


5.0 from 8 reviews
Cassava Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9" x 13" cake
 
A Filipino-style cassava cake that's not cloyingly sweet.
Ingredients
  • ~~ For the cake base ~~
  • 2 packs (900 g) frozen grated cassava, defrosted
  • ¼ cup (62 ml) butter, melted
  • ½ can (150 ml) condensed milk
  • ½ can (185 ml) evaporated milk
  • 6 tablespoons mild American Cheddar cheese
  • 14 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • ~~ For the topping ~~
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • ½ can (150 ml) condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons mild American Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
Instructions
  1. To make the cake base, preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and grease an 9" x 13" baking tray.
  2. Combine grated cassave, melted butter, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cheese, sugar, and egg in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, then pour the batter on the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. To make the topping, combine sugar and tapioca flour in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  6. Pour in condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add cheese and coconut milk, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes, until thick and bubbly.
  8. Pour topping over cassava cake and spread evenly using a spatula.
  9. Broil at 450 F (235 C) on middle rack until the top turns golden or amber brown. Make sure to watch the cake as it can turn brown very quickly.
  10. Cool before cutting or serving.

 

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Patty October 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Your cassava cake looks moist and delicious -love the look of the browned topping and would be very curious to enjoy a piece. Do you always buy the cassava frozen ? Looks like a real comfort food kind of traditional dessert, thanks for sharing your recipe Jen;-)

Reply

Jen October 14, 2012 at 1:32 am

Hi, Patty! I buy the frozen GRATED cassava in Asian stores – they’re usually in the freezer section with all the rest of South Asian products. It’s just more convenient to get the frozen grated cassava packages. I find that using fresh cassava and finely grating a couple of pounds of those is not worth the “trouble” for results that are pretty much the same. Just my opinion: there’s little or no difference at all in taste when using either fresh or frozen for this cake. Thanks for stopping by!

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Valerie October 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Jen, I love the fact that I learn something new with each of your posts. Yuca and tapioca I’m familiar with (sort of), but I’ve never heard of cassava. And this cake’s texture is making my mouth water, literally, so I’m definitely bookmarking the recipe! Also, I volunteer to be one of the taste testers at any future cassava cake cook-offs!

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Phenomenal Mama October 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Jen, I’ve never seen such a beautiful cassava cake! Your kids are so lucky to be introduced to such diverse cuisine at such a young age. And, if I may add, you are so patient to do this, but maybe because you are in Canada…. I’d just rather buy one from Susie’s in Nepo Mart.:)

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Eha October 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Oh what a wonderful post! Not only for a most interesting sweet offering – BUT, I had no idea that cassava and yuca and manioc and tapioca were all the sme thing!!! Now: have to look back on past recipes: thank you!!

Reply

mjskit October 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

What a great looking cake! Quite different from any cake I’ve ever had. Was quite surprised to see cheddar cheese as an ingredient. Unusual but obviously quite delicious!

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

Gorgeous, Jen! I love the caramelized topping.

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Laura October 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

I am totally intrigued by the cheese. And the cheese is traditional, not your addition?

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Jen October 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Hi, Laura! Yes, cheese is actually part of the original or traditional recipe! Seemed a little odd to me at first too, so I had to double-check with sources.

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Carol | a cup of mascarpone October 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Jen, how interesting! Love reading and learning from your posts! This is a beautiful cake, and your photography is gorgeous, as always!

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Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} October 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Jen – so enjoyed learning about this interesting cake! I bet it is simply delicious and doesn’t last long in your house. Love your photos!!! Always makes my mouth water.

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Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers October 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

And I thought this cake is difficult to put together! I also didn’t know that frozen grated cassava is available for folks like us. I love this cake and only enjoy it whenever I am in the Philippines and only the times when I remember it. Thanks for sharing the recipe Jen. Good that it’s not too sweet too!

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Raymund October 15, 2012 at 3:01 am

Your cassava cake looks perfect!

Reply

The Squishy Monster October 15, 2012 at 3:33 am

I love how you spotlighted this often times overlooked ingredient that imparts such yuminess to both savory/sweet foods! =)

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Mom-Friday October 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

With so many stores selling delicious cassava cakes here, I never bothered making them myself!
But I think many here still use the actual crop, boiled and mashed/grated for the cake, making it naturally more flavorful. I haven’t really checked if stores here sell grated (frozen) cassava.
Pwede ka na rin gumawa ng pichi-pichi! It’s the same cassava base but made into balls and rolled on grated coconut! :)))

Reply

Sammie October 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Wow! Your cassava cake looks great! I love making cassava cakes too!! They’re absolutely delicious! And I do agree that it seems like every tropical country seem to have their version of the yummy cake!! :)

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts October 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I have never had cassava before. But if that many countries make a cake out of it, it has to be good!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com October 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

As a Malaysian, it’s mind-boggling that I’ve never had cassava before. Must try soon!!

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Jean | Lemons and Anchovies October 17, 2012 at 1:06 am

Looking (or rather drooling) at your cassava cake, I’m realizing that I’ve never made a filipino cake before. In fact, I think I’ve only ever made one filipino dessert. Must change this soon, especially since you say that this isn’t too sweet. Sounds perfect to me!

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Nami | Just One Cookbook October 17, 2012 at 1:23 am

I’ve tried Cassava Cake once somewhere and I try to remember how and where but I don’t recall. I remember it was delicious. Maybe it was a potluck or something as it was homemade. Condense milk and coconut milk… so rich and delicious!

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Heather October 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm

This is so unique I have never seen anything quite like it – my other half lived in the Phillipines for about 5 years on a nav y base, I will have to ask him if he ever had this before!

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suzanne Perazzini October 20, 2012 at 4:53 am

I lived in Fiji for a year when I was younger and they had a Kasava cake. Today I made a beetroot cake – got to love all these vegetables in cakes.

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Rachel December 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

Can i use cassava flour instead of grated cassava?

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Jen December 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hi, Rachel:
I’m sure you can use cassava flour, but I doubt if the results will be the same. If you used cassava flour, it will turn out more like a traditional cake (crumbs and all). This particular Filipino-style cassava cake has a wet, custard-y, sticky, chewy, and dense consistency – but it tastes delicious! Hope you can find grated cassava and try baking with it!

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Rachel December 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for the reply. I guess cassava flour wont be as good…

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Dess January 8, 2013 at 3:11 am

Best cassava recipe I have made (and I have tried many!). Thanks for sharing.

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Jo January 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

Do you have any idea how long this lasts if made in advance or if it can be frozen?
Have eaten at a neighbours in the past and it was delicious . I have been searching for a recipe to have a go myself since I found grated cassava in my local thai market stall!
thanks for sharing.

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Victoria February 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I baked this recipe today and brought it to the office to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was a big hit and everyone loved it. Initially I thought they were being kind but 7 people actually wanted the recipe.
Thanks for sharing. What would the world be like if we didn’t share awesome recipes with one another!

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Michele February 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

Cassava is also very popular in the Caribbean and we make a ‘cake’ out of it called cassava pone which utilizes, cassava, grated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, raisins (optional) and butter.

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Alex August 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Thank YOU for finally giving me a (cassava) recipe to follow!
I have made this recipe four times already and have
Always been a HIT at home and work. My son who easily
Dismisses something new LOVES this “bread” as he calls it!
EXCELLENT recipe!!!

Reply

Lisa November 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

Cassava is the favourite Philippine dessert of my South African sister-in-law and her family, and so I always baked it on our family gatherings, though it taste great, my husband doesn’t like it much as I make it softer like more of a pudding and not a cake. Then I saw this recipe this morning as I promised to bring cassava to a Halloween gathering with friends this afternoon. I love the picture posted here and is what my husband would have liked the cassava looked like. I then decided to follow the recipe but with macapuno. True enought it was a hit in the party and someone asked me for the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing this. This will now be my recipe from now on.

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irene March 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

Hi. I was wondering if it’ll make a difference if i omit the american cheddar cheese in both the cake base and the topping? If i do use the cheese, is kraft cheddar cheese ok? Also how many grams are the eggs you use? Also how many mls is your tablespoon measurements because i am using the australian tblsp which is equiv to 20mls.

Thanks
Irene

Reply

irene March 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

Hi again. I was wondering when you bake your cassava do you cover it with foil first then leave it uncovered when the topping is placed on top? Is the baking time and temperature refer to fan forced oven?

Thanks
Irene

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Ophelia May 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Thanks for the recipe,I’m Filipino …we always bring it on pot lucks ..it’s always a big hit..you can also put grated fresh young coconut and if you don’t have enough for toppings…1/2 a can of condensed milk is ok..broil low cuz it brown easy..enjoy!!!!

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Nodi June 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

This is a perfect Cassava Cake. Everything is exact to the measurement. All you have to do is gather all the ingredients , mix and follow the baking guidelines.

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Jen July 25, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for your feedback! Much appreciated.

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Alex August 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I have tried a lot of cassava recipe , oh, but this one is guaranteed excellence!
You can also play around with the amount of tablespoon of sugar to use on the “cake”.
I’ve used 10 tbsp if making it for home and the 14 tbsp if for other occasions.
This is the ONLY recipe I use and is ALWAYS a HIT at home and at work.
Thank you!

Reply

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