Small Cassava Cakes a la Marketman


I love cassava cake. And while I indulge in this delicacy all year round, it seems particularly fitting to OVER-indulge during the holiday season. I have posted a recipe for this before, but recently I have really grown to love a version that I purchase from the Vargas family… it is an individual round cassava cake about half the volume of the ones you see in the photos here. At PHP30 each, the Vargas cassava cakes are a touch pricey, but utterly delicious. And when you only want one or two to satisfy a craving, I am more than willing to pay the price and avoid the cooking hassle. But if you want to consume or give the cakes in bulk, then it’s probably worth it to make them from scratch. So here is how I made my version of the min-cassava cakes. I used my original recipe as described in the link above, but I used a food processor to shred the cassava rather than grating it – that shortcut worked really well. Then I added more liquid (eggs, butter, coconut milk, etc.) to make a softer cake and baked the mixture in individual ensaimada tins lined in banana leaves slathered with butter…


I also added a thicker layer of sweet custard and cheese on the surface of the cakes after the preliminary bake then a stint under a broiler, or in this case, since my broiler was busted, I used a mini-propane torch to caramelize the cheese and sweet topping. The results? Superb. But like stunningly good. If the Vargas mini-cassava cakes would rate a 9.5 in my opinion, these homemade ones would be a good 8.75 to 9.00… and at less than PHP10-15 for a serving for double the size of Vargas, they are a terrific bargain. A great item to bring along to Christmas gatherings, and relatively easy to make. I think the individual servings work really well rather than a big cake because the ratio of yummy sweet/salty topping to cassava is relatively high and it brings the delicacy up a notch. All ingredients are readily available in local markets and groceries. If you can’t be bothered to bake them yourself, buy them instead from Vargas stands at the Saturday Salcedo Market and the Legaspi Sunday Market instead!


18 Responses

  1. i LOVE cassava cake.
    i can still remember the first time i tasted it– the small canteen of this place where my sisters and i were taking typing classes for the summer.
    and when i was in boston, i had such a craving for it, i googled a recipe, made my friend drive me to the asian supermarket to buy grated cassava and baked one. i don’t remember it looking as good as the ones in your photos, but it was great. my friend took home one pan, i had a second pan all to myself. :p

  2. I never really liked cassava cakes, but MM, you might have just changed my mind. Those look really delicious. The line “a thicker layer of sweet custard and cheese on the surface of the cakes” definitely won me over. Great post!

  3. Wow! Those look great & yummy! :)

    Our family’s big on eating cassava cakes! Love those individual serving sizes because they’re perfectly easier to handle plus you get to control your intakes (hehehe.. kuno!).

    I also prefer the soft versions.. specially if they are fresh out of the oven or even if just microwave-reheated.. and the scent.. mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

    I haven’t tried Vargas’ version yet.. the only thing I buy from them is their butter slice! hahaha!

    I get to eat cassava cakes only when mom goes to her hometown then on the way back to Manila.. the bus makes a stopover somewhere in Vigan (I think).. I always forget to take note of the shop’s name.. mom knows we love the shop’s cassava cakes so much that she buys each of her children a box (contains 24 pcs)! So she always end up going back home carrying atleast 7 boxes!!! hahaha! =D I always bring my share to the office the next day and my officemates would devour them! :)

  4. I like the way you presented the cassava cakes….in banana leaves. This is one delicacy I’m willing to try my hands on but most likely use tart pans…banana leaves are kinda hard to come by…and it would be interesting to vary the toppings.

  5. I love cassava cakes… I’d love to make it but I’m intimidated by the “grating” part. Bytheway, did you use the coconut juice also or just the coconut milk? I saw a recipe that didn’t use coconut milk and used only coconut juice and shredded buko instead, not as labor intensive but I’m not sure if the resulting cake would be as creamy…

    When I eat some, I try to think that nobody’s skin or nails got grated with the cassava, morbid huh! Someone once gave me a box with leche flan (custard?), almost half an inch thick and a crisp grated cheese on top! It was really good!

  6. As usual yours look very appetizing and inviting. The banana leaves give it another layer of flavor that works well with the cassava and coconut milk. I once made it without lining the pan with banana leaves with all the works but came out dull! The Vargas cassava cakes like you said are more for an individual serving and I believe they bake them in a muffin pan. They are indeed excellent! Sorry to hear about the broiling mechanism of your Viking oven – they have the best infrared broiler that is patented with them high heat browning mechanisms their competitors or the blow torch cannot deliver!

  7. MM! I’m addicted to the Vargas mini cassava cakes! YUM!!! Pero talaga nga namang hindi abot-kaya sa bulsa since it’s the kind of thing I’d reeeeeeally like to eat so much of and buy for family and friends too! This is a FANTASTIC idea! Productive Christmas ka talaga!

    MM – did you use ba a microplane to grate the cheese? Parang it’s so much refined. The Vargas cassava has thicker ribbons of cheese if I remember correctly and it covers a bigger surface. Was that deliberate on your part? Or baka lang the photographs don’t show that detail? Make kwento! :)

  8. FYI, Vargas Kitchen is no longer at the Legaspi Sunday Market. Only at the Saturday Salcedo Market and at Rockwell foodcourt (Fridays to Sundays) and daily at the Foodcourt of Glorietta 4. Not sure if they have these cassava cakes at the latter two.

    Your cakes look really good MM!

  9. one of my favorite snacks!!!
    @elaine: banana leaves are usually found in wet markets pricing varies but they start from about 10 pesos per bundle, which is already a lot.

  10. Gigi, the finer grate was not intentional…but yes, the vargas one has a different toppig caramelization because they probably left it in a hot oven longer to cook the top, not just under a broiler. Worse, since my broiler was busted, I used a propane torch! MC, I made these in the city, so I wasn’t using the Viking, it’s the La Germania oven here and the broiling mechanism conked out, probably from overuse… :)

  11. i LUUUUUUUURVE cassava cake too! ill definitely try this recipe! THANKS MM! and MERRY CHRISTMAS! :D

  12. Looks yummy.. i also made cassava cakes last was actually my 2nd try… The first time i made it .. i didnt put much liquid ingredients it was soft while its hot but not when its cold. I just experimented on the toppings.. i used the mixture that of the leche flan.. the second try i put some coconut milk, evap, condensed milk, grated cheese and water and the mixture of these milks plus flour for the toppings.. indeed when you put more liquid the softer the cake is. I am happy that our visitors loved it. Next time il try making it on single individual pan. k il read more of the recipes in this blogs this helps a lot.

  13. Hi, Im soo happy I saw your website while trying to find filipino desert recipes! I love cassava cake! Im definitely gonna try this.

    Just one favour, I tried to search in the net for ages now – a recipe for Muryekos, you know that suman that is sort of clear with some latik inside. yummmm. if you can give me the recipe, that will be fantastic. I miss it so much because I havent been back home for a long time.

    thanks and more power to you…

  14. cherry, sorry, I haven’t come across muryekos so far, and there isn’t a recipe for it on the blog yet… good luck with the cassava cakes…

  15. Just baked some cassava cakes today. Will try those individual versions. Look good and easy to eat……yummmmmmm

  16. Oh I always love cassava cakes but I haven’t tried the ones from the Vargas Family. There’s also one super yummy cassava cake which really melts my mouth and you guys gotta try this one. I’m glad I read an article about it at Cook Magazine (I think that was either their April or May 2009 issue). It’s a special home-made recipe by a certain “Chef Myra Avisado” but the only thing I hate is I always have to order in advance and you have to pick it up at her Philam Homes residence in QC. But anyway, it’s really worth the trip.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.