Just to make life that little bit more difficult for my trip this month to the Clandestine Cake Club I insisted upon incorporating some international aroundtheworldin80bakes baking into the English Garden themed bake . Up for yet another challenge I searched for and discovered an unusual recipe for a cake I’ve never even heard of before! Bibinkga cake (also known as mochiko cake) from the Philippines. (Another country on my still to be visited list too).
So I was aiming to create an experimental English country garden cake with an aroundtheworldin80bakes twist… Hence lavender and coconut Bibinkga cake. I won’t be shocked if you don’t know what a Bibingka cake is, in fact I am very impressed if you are familiar with this cake. I was very intrigued by the idea of baking a rice flour cake with condensed milk and sugar. The twist of lavender offered a nod to the traditional English country garden theme.
I was a bit nervous creating something so different for CCC as everyone brings such beautiful and wonderous cakes along. But I am the one who conjured up my own challenge and therefore I must stick to it. When there is a baking requirement I see an international baking opportunity! (Despite most of my friends and family’s preference for chocolate cake… )
Even with my aroundtheworldin80bakes dedication/obsession I still felt some trepidation and so baked the Bibinkga 2 days in advance… just in case of epic disasters. I must be psychic. I’m so pleased that I realised my own limitations and didn’t pin all of my hopes on this bake!
It was a fairly quick bake with a bit of whisking. Last year I made lavender shortbread (which I loved and gave to friends and family for Christmas). I learnt a really great way of introducing lavender to baking by infusing dried culinary lavender for a week or two in an airtight container filled with sugar. Just popping the lid of the sugar jar is a little breath of heaven when you’re making lavender sugar. This time round I still had some lavender stored up so infused the sugar for a week or so before baking this. It really does make all the difference as lavender can be a little too delicate to flavour a full cake.
To ensure the sugar was REALLY lavendery and evenly distributed throughout, I threw couple of tablespoons of dried flowers into the sugar and after their infusion used my stick blender to blitz it all up together.
This was really quite a quick bake and so the most effort required was for the whisking. I used my handheld electric whisk to whisk together the coconut milk, evaporated milk and melted butter. I whisked this up until it was a lovely creamy yellow colour and frothy, (and of course all up the walls in the kitchen) probably for around 5 minutes.
Then I whisked in the eggs, and whisked to incorporate as much air as possible.
Still using my hand held whisk I added the lavender sugar and vanilla extract, and whisked it until it was a smooth runny batter. Then to gradually beat/whisk the rice flour into the batter. I added 1/2 cup at a time to attempt to avoid dreaded lumps and bumps.
After all that whisking, all that’s left to do is to pour the very fluid batter into a pre prepared grased and lined baking tin. I used a rectangluar roasting pan about 13cm by 9cm
With a generous sprinkle of dessicated coconut and a bit extra lavender for good luck the Bibingka cake was ready for a good baking for 45 mins at 190 degrees C (or 375 degrees F)
The recipe warned that the cake would look like it had risen and it wasn’t wrong. 20 minutes into the baking time there was no waft of cake floating from the oven nor any lavender perfume warming the air. Concerned, I checked the oven to discover I had created a balloon cake. One end dangerous puffed up with air and close to being frazzled whilst the other end lay calm and flat baking quietly.
When faced with a disproportionate cake inflation do you a) leave it alone, it may sort itself out? or b) open the oven and pop it with the closest thing to hand (usually a chopstick in my house). Being uncharacteristically sensible I did a) and now I really regret not popping the balloon with a chopstick.
Perhaps I whisked the batter into a frenzy and added too much air? I may have been a bit lazy just using the electric whisk for the entire cake creation process? Perhaps I should have folded in the flour rather than whisking it? The recipe did say that it would deflate after rising so I waited. And waited. And after 45minutes in the oven and a cooling off period. It STILL hasn’t deflated.
I clearly do not have the Bibingka skills! Once it had cooled I sliced it up into squares and had a little taste. God knows what I did wrong to this poor cake but it was utterly devoid of taste or fragrance. The complete opposite of my lavender shortbread which perfumed the entire house. It was rather dense, chewy and a bit on the greasy side for my liking. Perhaps I used the wrong type of rice flour? Perhaps it was the light coconut milk that I picked up by accident? Or perhaps my lavender had lost it’s oomph?!
Either way I couldn’t possibly take it to the Clandestine Cake Club in it’s lumpy, hollow and burnt state. Sometimes things go wrong in my kitchen, I’m not ashamed to admit it… it was fun experimenting all the same. It just meant I had some emergency baking to do and a new recipe to conjure up, quickly! Bring on the next challenge!
Things that I used to create Lavender and Coconut Bibingka Cake
- 2 cups rice flour
- 3/4 cup coconut milk (about half a can)
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk (about half a can)
- 1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- My Russian Doll measuring cups (every chance I get to use an American recipe!)
- baking tin 13cm x 9cm
- 190 degrees C oven for 45minutes
I found this recipe over at Kensington Kitchen’s Wonderful Blog . Thank you for sharing and thank you very much for reading.
At least you had time to bake something else. I went to a CCC not long ago where I only had a limited time to make a cake and whilst it tasted fine it just didn’t look the business!
What a shame but the flavour combination sounds lovely! 🙂
Thank you! I really love both lavender and coconut… I was a bit disappointed with how this bake turned out but it’s all part of the challenge and half the fun is learning what works and what doesn’t 🙂 I’ve learnt a lot already!
I have never heard of Bibingka until now. I’ll have to Google it and see what other people have said about it. It didn’t sound like it would fail as I was reading what you did.
Thanks Sharyn. I guess it’s a bit of a tray bake, I love the idea of a rice cake. I’ve eaten a lot of rice cakes in China like Mochi so I was expecting it to be a bit like that. Guess I will have to visit the Philippines to try some proper Bibingka cake. If you find anymore out about it please let me know
No, I haven’t heard of this cake but the lavender and coconut ingredients sound lovely and must work together so well and give this cake delicious flavour. I would love to try this xx
Thank you! I can confirm the lavender and coconut do work really well together (I used them in my next bake too…) 🙂 x x x
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I am not big on rice flour, although at one point I attempted to bake brown rice flour chocolate tofu muffins…I salute all kitchen experiments!
thank you! ooh brown rice flour chocolate tofu muffins sound very interesting indeed! Great experiment!!