I could not in good conscience let Jun-blog’s third pass without a proper birthday cake. Birthdays are never complete without cake. It is a fact of life. An unavoidable truth. Irrefutable, in my book.

And so I made a cake. It wasn’t a sinful seven-layer or a meticulous meringue but a simple chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. But, mind you, the chocolate cake was like no other chocolate cake. I used tablea [tab-ley-ah], the thick, round blocks of Filipino cacao for a Filipino twist. I crushed a few blocks of Antonio Pueo into fine powder in my heavy almires [ahl-mee-res], mortar and pestle, and added it to the usual suspects. The result of the alchemy is a cake that is deeply rich in flavor and so delightfully moist.

The six-inch cake worked well for me and Dennis plus our neighbors. It left us with no guilt but with little extra slices for breakfast the following day. For a nine-inch chocolate cake, double the recipe or better yet head over to Yummy Magazine to grab the original.


Chocolate Tablea Cake Recipe
Recipe adapted from Yummy Magazine, makes one 6-inch one-layer or multi-layer cake

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crushed tablea chocolate, about 3 tablets
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour two 6-inch round pans.

Combine cocoa powder, tablea, and boiling water in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Cream butter and sugar in another bowl using a mixer on medium speed. Add egg and beat well. Stir in vanilla. Add cocoa mixture and beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well until blended.

Pour the batter equally into the pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a cooling rack for ten minutes. Remove from the pans and allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack. Frost with chocolate buttercream frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine butter and cocoa in a medium bowl. Blend by hand or use a mixer. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk and beat gently until smooth and spreadable. Stir in vanilla.


Chocolate Tablea Cake

  • http://www.samanthamenzies.com/ Samantha Angela

    That looks phenomenal!

  • Momgateway

    Sounds scrumptious, where do you get tablea?

  • Kristine Komlosy

    Whoa! I wonder how long the tablea lasts if i buy it from the philippines. is there a certain expiry date for this?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Tablea is normally available in most Asian grocery stores, either in the baking or  Filipino aisle.  It is definitely available in Filipino stores. 

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I just checked the tablea package but couldn’t find an expiration date, which is odd. But I am almost certain that the shelf life of these chocolate blocks is pretty long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000028145361 Rei-rei Alburo

    Hi Kristine,

    I sell tablea and it’s shelf  life is more than a year.

    My tablea is pure cacao. That means there is no sugar added to it.You may check out http://www.facebook.com/sikwatedecacao.

    Best regards,Rhea

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000028145361 Rei-rei Alburo

    Thanks for sharing this recipe Jun! I’ll try to bake it this week! :)
    I’ll nake use of my tablea:)

  • http://www.annmah.net/ Ann Mah

    Happy birthday to your beautiful blog! This looks like a decadent way to celebrate. I’m not familiar with tablea. Does it taste different from other chocolate?

  • http://80breakfasts.blogspot.com/ Joey

    Happy blog birthday!!  And what a perfect way to celebrate…with this gorgeous and delicious cake!  I’ve seen this cake in Yummy and I’ve been meaning to try it…soon!

  • http://www.theurbanbaker.com/ susan

    this looks like pure perfection, Jun. Happy Blog B-day. And I am with you, birthdays should last at least a week and should always include lots and lots of cake!

  • Lulu_gelato

    I would have come over for a slice or two! LOL! Maybe I didn’t read further but where can I buy the tablea chocolate? Do you know if SeaFood City or Island Pacific has them? Thanks Jun!

  • Jeannie

    I am drooling over here, your cake looks amazingly good! I would love to get my hands on some of those tablea chocolates but don’t think they are on sale here.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Yes, Lulu! Next time we should have you over for cake! Island Pacific in Union City has Antonio Pueo brand.  Seafood City carries tablea, too but the brand they carry escapes me right now.  I, obviously, like Island Pacific more.

  • Bonny

    Can you tell me what the difference is between tablea chocolate and dutch processed cocoa? Is tablea alkalized at all? I know you can usually tell whether a recipe calls for alkalized cocoa when it requires baking powder to add the acidic reaction to the soda, which yours does not so is tablea more like natural unsweetened cocoa? 

    I’m really interested in different types of cocoa and am totally trying this recipe, thanks for the lovely photos! Hopefully I can find this type of cocoa in my local asian market.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Bonny, for the question.  Tablea is natural cocoa powder.  There are both unsweetened and sweetened varieties.  Some are sweetened with muscovado sugar and some even have powdered milk.  A popular brand common in most Asian stores is Antonio Pueo.  I’m crossing my fingers that you can find some.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Ann, tablea is natural cocoa powder molded into round tablets.  The taste is fairly strong and the texture is very grainy.  There are both unsweetened and sweetened varieties.  Some are sweetened with muscovado sugar and some even have powdered milk.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Rhea for introducing your product.  Is this available in the United States? Particularly, in California? I’d love to give it a try.

  • Denise

    Been a bit out of the loop the past couple months – darn job. Nevertheless, happy birthday to Jun-blog. It has been a delicious 3years, and I look forward to many more.

  • Barbarainnc

    Can I use a 1/2 c of cocoa instead of the Tablea?? There are no Asian or Filipino stores nearby.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Barbara for writing. Here is a chocolate cake recipe that uses cocoa powder. Equally moist and good. http://blog.junbelen.com/2011/11/09/how-to-make-chocolate-cake-with-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

  • Jean

    Did you use sweetened tablea?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Yes, Jean. This recipe calls for sweetened tablea.

  • Maureen

    Instead of Tablea what can I use as a substitute, a regular Cacao powder perhaps?

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  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Maureen, here’s a recipe for chocolate cake that uses cocoa powder: http://blog.junbelen.com/2011/11/09/how-to-make-chocolate-cake-with-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

  • Daven

    We have lots of cacao tree. I sometimes make tablea and sell them because i don’t know what to do with them. That’s why im asking help for some recipes of cacao chocholate with other local ingriedients that can be found here in the philippines..