I asked The Teen what the Filipino word for cake was, and I drew a blank. Not surprising, as I didn’t know what it was myself. Then I asked members of the crew and they too looked like stunned deer. Then a driver jokingly said KEYK but couldn’t spell it for sure. I was stunned that there wasn’t a well known word. So off to the English-Filipino dictionary I went, and sure enough, it is called “KEYK”. Yowks. I learned something today. And I suppose it’s fair to say we probably didn’t make cakes frequently outside of metropolitan areas for the period prior to 100 years ago or so. But we managed to create the term salumpuwit for a chair, don’t you think they would invent a clever word for a tasty treat called a cake? According to this website, the word cake dates back to the 13th century, and was derived from the Old Norse word kaka. So let’s not go back that far. Hahaha. :) At any rate, the question was relevant because I had just baked a cake (7 or mini-cakes, to be exact), based on odds and ends I found while trolling through the kitchen. I found some 6-8 overripe lacatan bananas. I found a kilo of wonderful split cashew nuts wallowing in our fridge, sent to us from Northern Palawan. I found lots of dried mangoes in the pantry. A bottle of vanilla puree (like extract but thicker and with the seeds) and we had all the usual basics like sugar, flour, butter, milk, etc… so I thought I would bake a cake or keyk…
I placed 3 cups of cashew nuts on a sheet pan and toasted them in an oven set to 350F until they browned slightly. Let this cool, then chop coarsely and toss with a tablespoon of flour to coat the nuts and prevent them from sinking/getting soggy in the cake. Next, I creamed 3/4 cup of unsalted butter together with 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy. Add three eggs, one at a time, until well blended. In another bowl prepare and mix 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1.5 teaspoons baking soda. Mash up 8 large bananas, to make roughly 2.5 to 2.75 cups of mashed banana. Mix in some vanilla paste or extract into the bananas. Measure out 1/3 cup of milk and add 1 tsp. of white vinegar (not datu puti, but clear distilled vinegar or kalamansi if you don’t have the vinegar). Back to the butter, sugar and eggs whirling about. Add half of the dry ingredients, then half of the milk, then the dry then the milk. Add the banana mash and mix. Add the nuts. Add a cup of chopped dried mango (cut these relatively small). And pour into prepared pans… I had enough for 7 mini foil pans.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or so in a 350F oven. Let it cool a bit and dig in. Not bad at all for a “use what you find” cake. The dried mango was a brilliant addition, pieces softened yet were still distinctly mango flavored and sweetish/tart. The cashew nuts were not the greatest, I think pecans or walnuts would do better, but at least this was pretty local, oh and maybe caramelized pili nuts would be interesting as well. And the bananas really shone through, despite the other flavor distractions. This was a bit too sweet for me, so cut the sugar a bit if you like. Otherwise, a very decent version of a banana cake with stuff added… perfect with a hot cup of tea.