cassava cake

Filipino Cassava Cake

Cassava cake

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe here I can’t supply reasons why not, only excuses. Oh well. Here’s a recipe – actually an outcome of a baking experiment lately.

I loved cassava cake since I first had it when I was 8 in that rustic school cafeteria in the Philippines. It’s chewy, sweet, delicious. And cheap. It’s cake (at least the name says so) but an affordable cake I am able to buy that satisfies my sweet tooth.

Fast forward so many years later, in Dubai, we chanced upon these Filipino ‘kakanin’ (snacks) and bought it at Lulu Hypermarket or Al Maya Supermarket but alas, like all commercial stuff, it’s either too sweet, too gluey or laden with cornstarch used an extender to the real cassava (tapioca).

I don’t like if I don’t know what is in my food.

I’ve searched the internet for a Filipino cassava cake recipe and found a few good ones (Cassava Cake from Ang Sarap blog, Cassava Cake from Jun Belen). But I’m still disagreeing on the amount of sugar. Blergh. So I experimented on making these cakes myself. Pristine loves them and now finally, she can enjoy it as often as she would like to.

It’s easy, even a 10 year old child can do it (except for the grating task – the cassava is hard and requires strength to grate!).


  • 500 grams cassava (tapioca, yucca root)…yielded 3 1/2 cups when grated
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • grated young coconut meat (optional)


Preheat oven to 180C.

1. Grate the raw cassava.

cassava cake

I used the bigger slits of the grater to make it faster. This will result in a more chewy cake, rather than gluey.

2. Melt butter and mix with the grated cassava along with the condensed milk, coconut milk, sugar, eggs and young coconut meat if you decide to put it. Mix well.

3.  Place the mixture in buttered square pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Now, there is an option to add a sweet, custard like topping – this is the norm in store-brought cassava cake and in the recipes you will find in the internet. I didn’t put toppings because (1) it was already delicious as it is (2) I am saving up on calories!

But in case you want the toppings, you need 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of condensed milk and 2 egg yolks. Mix it all together, pour on top of the baked cassava cake and put back in the oven until the toppings turn a little brown.

Filipino tourists continue to struggle with corrupt Philippine immigration

Instead of posting in the comments, you can now ask questions or post your travel success story at my new community forum:

I woke up this morning to this news from The National: Tourists heading for UAE fleeced in immigration scam

It’s time we AGAIN highlight the dirty, ugly things going on at the Philippine airports. The blog post I wrote almost two years ago regarding the new rule for Filipinos traveling to Dubai still gets a lot of hits from Google search and has over 300 comments. The blog post discusses the so called “Affidavit of Support” (AOS) introduced by the Philippine government for Filipino tourist visa holders to supposedly “protect” them from human trafficking.

But what has happened to the original intention “to protect”?

According to the article in The National:

Filipinos coming to the UAE on tourist visas are being hit for cash by corrupt immigration officers in return for permission to leave the country.

Maria Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration in Manila, said: “Why do they have to pay in the first place? We don’t sit easily with complaints like these.

“Please give us names. If they have allegations, we can’t act on them unless they identify the immigration officers.”

Allegations!? Don’t the airport have security cameras around? Surely anybody can trace all movements around the airport for suspicious activities! And it’s not like this is a rare hush-hush scene. The people extorting money from tourist visa holders are not exactly discreet.

You ask: Why pay in the first place? Because if it is the only way to escape the FBI-like interrogation and the only way to get that chance of a better future, the people are left without any choice. As far as I know, everyone has the right to travel (blocking that right is unconstitutional and only if the person is in the criminal list) and when and where else is it required that a tourist has to have a relative in the country of destination? (one of the requirements to exit the Philippines is that you should have a relative sponsoring you in Dubai/UAE)

I am appalled at how Ms. Spokeswoman is playing blind and deaf. People are desperate to leave the country to find a better life Ms. Mangrobang. Why don’t you take time out of your busy schedule to actually be present inside the airport to see the situation? It is not hard to see the truth happening right under your nose if you are willing to open your eyes.

Ms. Spokeswoman, I urge you to read this article from The National, published in March 20, 2011 wherein the Philippine Vice President reports on allegations of bribery at Manila airport to extort cash from Filipinos bound for the UAE. So you don’t ask like you’re surprised to hear this “allegations” – it’s been an ongoing problem for the past two years at least.

Looking through the comments in my blog post left by distraught Filipino travelers looking for answers and seeking support from one another. Some of them disclosed that they paid their way out because despite having proper documents people are still unjustly ‘offloaded’.

It is disgusting to note that a system made and implemented to ‘protect’ is becoming a profit generating scheme for the privileged few sitting at the Philippine airports.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The so called “Affidavit of Support” is NOT required by the immigration authorities at the UAE airports.

Abandoned babies on the rise

Another day, another baby abandoned: Mother threw baby down garbage chute. (Miraculously, the baby survived with minor cuts and is now in stable condition in critical condition with a fractured skull (updated 24 hours after). The mom is a Filipino.)

I know I shouldn’t have clicked the link but I did and my heart was torn to pieces. There’s that big question: WHY?

Filipinos are kind nurturers. We love babies. We go all the way to comfort a crying baby. We co-sleep. Our babies are our first priorities, to a fault. There’s a reason why so many people opt for Filipino nannies, including the British Royal family – a Filipino nanny once cared for Prince William and Prince Harry. The late superman Christopher Reeve’s super nurse is a Filipino.

Filipino mothers care for children even not their own. Love flows unconditionally. My son’s nanny is a Filipino and he clearly loves her, reciprocating the love and care he receives from her everyday when I am not home.

So, what drove this mother to throw her own flesh and blood from the ninth floor garbage chute?

Only God knows. There had been alarming increase in cases of abandoned babies here in the UAE because the consequences of having a child out of wedlock means jail time and sure deportation.

It’s nothing short of heartbreaking – a very tiny, soft and vulnerable beautiful creature wrapped in newspaper and plastic and thrown down the bin. Whatever the circumstances that surrounded the whole pregnancy, I wished she just gave the baby up for adoption if she has decided to carry it until full term.

As a new mother myself, I can’t imagine the emotions going through that mom while she walked carrying that warm bundle of life to the garbage room. Didn’t her conscience bother her each time she took a step closer to killing her child?

It’s unforgivable. Life is all about choices and she chose to kill. Even animals like dogs and cat do not abandon their young at such helpless state!

[Top Photo Credit]