There’s cake in the kitchen, cooling on a rack on the blue-tiled counter next to a pot of brewed Barako. Cassava with strips of sweet macapuno topped with caramelized coconut milk, baked in fragrant banana leaves.

There’s cake because we’re celebrating. That’s how things are around here, in case you haven’t noticed. Jun-blog is a finalist for Best Regional Cuisine Blog in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards. Two years in a row. I am honored by the recognition. Thankful beyond words. A nod to Jun-blog is a nod to Filipino cuisine. Thank you, Saveur.

And a big, big thank you to all of you — my dear friends — for following Jun-blog. Thank you for your unwavering support. It makes me happy that through my blog our paths have crossed and we have, in one way or another, connected through our love of Filipino food and culture. I was riffling through your notes and emails the other day and came across this one from a seventy-three year-old reader who writes,

“I was born in Ilocos but immigrated with my mother when I was one month old in ’39 (three months old by the time the big steamship got here to the States). My mother was a great cook but passed away in 2007. I’ve been trying to recreate some of her dishes and you can imagine my happy surprise to find out that your recipe for menudo is one that I make but I did not know what it was called. It is, indeed, a very comforting food and one of my favorites. I made it for dinner tonight.

… Now that both my parents are gone, it is heartening to keep one connection to my heritage through your blog. Thank you!”

I tear up every time I read notes like this. I’m sentimental. Sappy, I know. But that’s just me. Thank you to all of you for reading and sharing the blog with your family and friends, for trying out the recipes. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

The winners of Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards are chosen by reader votes. You have to be a registered user to vote but signing up is quick and easy. Voting ends April 26th and winners are revealed May 3rd. Follow this link to register and vote.


Cassava Cake Recipe
Recipe adapted from Gerry Gelle’s Filipino Cuisine, makes 8 servings

For the cake

2 cups grated cassava
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted, and more for brushing banana leaves
1/4 cup macapuno

For the topping

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup macapuno
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine cassava, coconut milk, egg, sugar, and macapuno in a bowl and mix well.

Line 8-inch baking pan with banana leaves and brush the leaves with butter. Foil can be used instead of leaves.

Pour batter into the pan. Bake until cake is cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix coconut milk, condensed milk, macapuno, and molasses in a saucepan to make the topping. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens like jam, around 20 minutes.

Take the cake out of the oven. Turn the broiler to high. Reheat the caramel topping if it has hardened then pour and spread it evenly over the cake with a rubber spatula. Broil about 6 inches from the heating element, turning the pan halfway through, until browned and bubbly, around 5 minutes. Watch carefully as the top can easily burn. Serve warm or cold.

Cooking Notes:

1. I use fresh cassava or yuca when I make this cake. A pound of cassava yields roughly 2 cups when coarsely grated. Frozen grated cassava available in most Asian stores can be used instead of fresh cassava. Thaw frozen cassava completely then rinse and squeeze dry before using.

2. The caramel topping is the same topping I use to make biko. A cup of condensed milk is a little less than one 14-ounce can. I add molasses to deepen the color of the caramel topping.


Cassava Cake

  • Anonymous

    I love the plate.  So dainty looking.

  • Sely

    Congratulations on your nomination
    …and thank you for the recipe! I had a similar recipe from my aunt many years ago which I seem to have misplaced. So glad I have this one to try.

  • Betty Ann @Mango_Queen

    I love cassava cake & trust all your recipes, Jun! And in solidarity, will bake this cake to celebrate your victory, 2 years in a row. You’re already a winner to us! Congratulations again! So proud of you!

  • Samantha

    Let me be the first to congratulate you on this tremendous achievement Jun! I am very happy that you are getting the recognition for this wonderful blog. I am always impressed with the photography, the recipes and more importantly the deeply personal touch you give to each post. It’s wonderful. Cheers to you.

    Oh yes, and thanks for this recipe- I Love this version of bibingka very much and I’m glad I can finally make it at home. 

  • Arlyn Avery

    Jun, I read your blog  and it made ME tear up.   It was my note to you about menudo that you quoted this morning.  Congratulations on your Saveur nomination!  Your blog truly defines our Filipino culture for me with the wonderful stories and photos.   My children (Filipino-Chinese Americans) and my brother’s children (Filipino-Mexican Americans) all identify themselves as Filipinos.   Now that their grandmother is not cooking for them, our Christmas eve family gathering is a potluck featuring favorite recipes they learned from her: adobo, pancit,  lumpia, sinigang, bibingka, ginitaang, etc.  Thanks again for your blog.

  • Trina

    What incredible news!  I’m thrilled for you, and for the recognition being given to Filipino food.  That cassava cake looks divine.

  • Teng

    Congratulations!  I just voted for your awesome blog. Finding your blog in my inbox is like receiving a wonderful gift from the heart every single time.

  • Jo Boston

    you are amazing. i am lucky to have eaten your creations and they are amazing as well. good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Well-deserved, Jun! Your blog makes me keep on cooking and celebrating our cuisine.  I’ll be baking cassava cake now.

  • Jonathan

    One of my favorite desserts. [sigh]  Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination, Jun – regardless of the outcome, I know I am far from alone when I say how proud of you I am.  Represent!

  • Princess Gemma

    Congratulations on your Saveur nomination Jun!  I voted for Jun-blog this evening.  

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your readers.  Your writing is so honest and your recollections seem so poignant and true.  I look forward to reading each new post with your beautiful images and delicious recipes.

    Congratulations and thank you once again!

  • Jan Marie


    I wanted to let you know that I signed up for Saveur just so I could vote for you. It is the least I can do after learning how to make arroz caldo from your blog. I ended up making it for Thanksgiving last year and my fiancé and his parents (all with different taste) both loved it so I know I did well.

    I wish you even more success and I will always be inspired by your writing and photography.

  • Authenticsuburbangourmet

    Congrats on the nomination – what a special honor!  Just voted for you.  :-)   This cake looks really tasty – just wish I had a slice in front of me right now.  You have a wonderful blog and should be really proud of your work.  { I am in awe }

  • abigail

    Voted for you! 

    Congratulations Jun.

  • Denise Browning

    Jun, thanks for posting this recipe here. I loooove cassava cake. My Filipino friend, Rhoda, introduced this culinary treasure to me a few years ago. I never forgot how delicious this cake is. I am Brazilian and some of its ingredients are very familiar to me: cassava, coconut, and condensed milk. Everything that I grew up eating. As you, I have a food blog. I cook a lot of Brazilian food away from home (I live in Texas now but previously I lived in Santa Clara, Ca and attended culinary school in San Francisco). Good luck on your Saveur nomination!  

  • Ddigerati

    Congratulations! Well deserved! I might make cassava cake in honor of you too! But unfortunatelyI can only get hold of frozen!

  • Rowena Dumlao Giardina

    I voted for you last year and voted again this year.  You deserve the nomination and I hope you win this year.  Congratulations Jun!  

  • Jfrugay

    Just voted for you at the Saveur web page kabayan!

  • Myfudo

    Looks yummy! I want to give this a try…

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you so much, Sely, for your note and for following the blog.

  • Jun Belen

    Betty Ann, I cannot thank you enough for supporting the blog through tweets and notes of encouragement. Maraming salamat.

  • Jun Belen

    Teng, thank you so much for your vote and for your lovely note!

  • Jun Belen

    Gemma, thank you so much for your wonderful note.  You are very kind.

  • Jun Belen

    I am so proud of you and your arroz caldo! That’s wonderful to hear.  And thank you so much, Jan Marie, for your very kind note.

  • Jun Belen

    Salamat, Abigail!

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Denise!  I love Brazilian food, too!! And I’m so glad to hear you know about and love this cake. Cassava (or yuca), coconut, condensed milk — we have a  lot of ingredients in common.  I hope you have access to these in Texas.  

  • Jun Belen

    Weng, maraming, maraming salamat!! I cannot thank you enough for all the support.

  • Jun Belen

    Kabayan, maraming salamat for the vote!

  • Jun Belen

    Arlyn, I read your note whenever I find myself struggling in the middle of writing or developing recipes.  It never fails to give me encouragement.  Maraming, maraming salamat.  And, yes, I can picture your Christmas gatherings in my mind — a big, happy family around a big table of delicious Filipino food.

  • Adrian (Food Rehab)

    Congrats on the nomination  – you have my support. Love your cassava cake recipe. I’m always on the habit of cutting it up into small triangular pieces! 

  • Tina(PinayInTexas)

    Congratulations on the nomination, Jun! So proud of you! I just voted and shared it on FB!
    Good luck!

  • Janet

    Thank you Jun for this recipe. I work with a wonderful Philippina woman, she frequently brings cassava cake to work, but won’t give up the recipe (secret recipe from her auntie!) Now I can have this cake whenever I want!

  • natzsm

    I grated (with the use of a food processor) four kilos of fresh cassava two weeks ago for a pichi-pichi recipe that called for only 4 cups of grated cassava. I was left with 2 kilos which I froze and already had this recipe in mind.

    Well, the time has come to make your cassava cake!

    I do not know if my home-made frozen cassava would be any different from the frozen packaged cassava available in the market but I did not add anything to mine when I grated them. Do you think I still have to rinse and squeeze them dry like the usual store bought frozen ones?

    Thanks for any advice you could share with me.

  • Jun Belen

    I think your homemade frozen grated cassava will be a lot, lot better than the ones you buy in the stores. Just thaw them completely and squeeze them dry. A little moisture is good but if not a whole lot.

    Pichi-pichi sounds good, too!! Love it with a lot of grated coconut!

  • natzsm

    I finally had reason to make your cassava cake today, just in time for the Chines New Year which is just a few hours away.

    I used a whole kilo of grated cassava which comes up to around 4 to 5 cups so it was 2.5 time your recipe and used 9 X 13 inch pan. It is baking in the oven right now and is smelling terrific!

    I plan to top mine with the more traditional condensed milk and grated cheese though (I will be using left over queso de bola from last Christmas).

    The cake looks soooo good, I couldn’t understand how your 8 inch cake could have serve 8 persons. I think I will be able to eat at least 1/4 of my 9 x 13 inch cake! :)

  • Jun Belen

    Happy Year of the Snake, Natz! I hope everyone enjoyed the cassava cake.