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Easy Filipino Bibingka (Rice Cake) Recipe for Christmas

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Kerlyn loves to share her passion for Filipino food with others so that they too can delight in delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.

This article will explain what bibingka is, what distinguishes the different types, and how you can make a simple and easy version in your own home.

This article will explain what bibingka is, what distinguishes the different types, and how you can make a simple and easy version in your own home.

Traditionally eaten during the Christmas season in the Philippines, bibingka is a rice cake with a soft and spongy texture, a round shape, and a slightly sweet and salty flavor.

Filipinos like to eat bibingka warm or hot and together with the purple-colored puto bumbong, another local rice cake that has been inevitably linked to the Christmas celebrations in the Philippines.

They like to eat bibingka and puto bumbong after attending dawn masses or Simbang Gabi from December 16 to December 24 each year.

They usually eat these rice cakes together with tsokolate (hot chocolate) or salabat (ginger tea).

Bibingka, puto bumbong, tsokolate, and salabat are commonly bought right outside the Catholic churches in the Philippines during the Christmas season.

Different Types of Bibingka

Bibingka can be easily recognized for its banana leaf lining—usually charred to add to the delicate flavors of bibingka—that cover the top and bottom parts of the rice cake.

Its ingredients span from the common rice flour to the uncommon chocolate.

The variety in ingredients has spawned several kinds of bibingka in the Philippines. The most popular ones include:

  • Bibingkang Galapong: Perhaps the most common type is the bibingkang galapong, made from rice flour and water and topped with salted eggs, butter, and grated coconut.
  • Bibingkang Malagkit: The bibingka with a square shape is the bibingkang malagkit, which is made from sticky rice flour and sliced into small blocks.
  • Bibingkang Mandaue: Made in Mandaue City in the Philippines is the bibingkang Mandaue, which uses tuba or palm sap alcoholic drink to substitute for yeast. This version has an interesting acidic aftertaste.
  • Cassava Bibingka: This one is made from cassava flour and looks quite similar to the typical pudding.
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Some freshly made bibingka with butter and grated coconut meat as toppings.

Some freshly made bibingka with butter and grated coconut meat as toppings.

Traditional Preparation

Bibingka is traditionally prepared using terra cotta containers, charcoals, and banana leaves, as well as common ingredients like rice flour, eggs, water, and coconut milk. The ingredients are poured into containers, heated, toasted, and then flavored.

Toppings may include grated coconut, butter, margarine, salted eggs, kesong puti or cheese, and sometimes pinipig or pounded young rice grains.

Preparing this Christmas rice cake can be time-consuming. Luckily, there are some simplified recipes available for those with less free time or experience.

A Quick and Easy Recipe for Making Bibingka

Because bibingka can sometimes be complicated to make, many Filipinos have created a moderately easy way to prepare this rice cake.

Ingredients for Rice Cake

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 banana leaves, round shape and about 9 inches in diameter
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sticky rice flour
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 salted egg, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup sugar

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cheese, cheddar or Edam
  • 1 tablespoon grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Tools Needed

  • Broiler
  • Oven
  • 6 tart pans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. While preheating the oven, brush butter onto the banana leaves.
  3. Line the pans with banana leaves.
  4. Beat the eggs.
  5. Combine the eggs with butter and coconut milk and mix everything thoroughly.
  6. Put rice flour, sticky rice flour, baking powder, and sugar together in bowl and again mix thoroughly.
  7. Combine egg and rice mixtures.
  8. Pour mixtures equally into the pans.
  9. Top the mixtures with salted eggs.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.
  11. When the rice cakes are baked, brush butter onto them.
  12. Place the rice cakes in a broiler until they turn slightly brown at the top. This may take about two minutes.
  13. When done, add toppings to the rice cakes.

Ta-dah! Your bibingka is ready. Serve or eat it while warm. Merry Christmas!

© 2011 kerlynb

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