In the Philippines, snack time or Merienda is a very popular time of the day. There are so many snack options from fruit to ice cream to rice based desserts that you can snack all week without eating the same dish. Cassava cake is one of those popular Merienda items. My mother makes this during Filipino parties. The core of the cake is cassava, a naturally gluten free, starchy root vegetable. It is then mixed with condensed milk to bring out the sweetness. Of course, I did not want to add artificial sweeteners to this version so I opted out of the sweetened milk and used honey instead.
This project to paleofy popular Filipino dishes has been a great challenge, but it has expanded a bit of my creativity. Instead of substituting ingredient for ingredient to a paleo friendly version, I’ve been learning to add different ingredients, which change the flavor subtly, but still has the essence of the dish.
For this dish, I opted to create three flavors out of one dish. Because it's not as sweet as many may be used to it, I instead added espresso and a bit more coconut flakes to add new flavors to the dish. What do you think, will it pass your taste buds?
- 2 packs of cassava (found frozen at an Asian market)
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 4 tbsp melted ghee
- ½ cup of local honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup of coconut flakes
- 1 freshly made espresso (optional, but highly recommended)
- Thaw the cassava for a few hours until it can be scraped on the sides with a fork
- Scrape and mash the cassava
- Add the entire can of full fat coconut milk
- Let sit for 10 minutes for an additional thawing
- While this is warming to room temperature, add 1/3 of the coconut flakes to the espresso. Let sit to absorb the flavor.
- Add the coconut oil, ghee and local honey to the cassava and coconut mixture
- Stir vigorously. Depending on the temperature of the cassava, the mix may be cold so take care to mix the oils thoroughly
- Spray an 8x10 glass dish with vegetable oil
- Pour the entire mix in
- Add the espresso and coconut flakes mix on top of 1/3 of the dish. Add plain coconuts flakes to the next third. Leave the last area as-is. Keep the remaining coconut flakes for garnish later.
- Cook for at least 30 minutes at 350 until a toothpick or fork inserted comes out clean and the cassava feels slightly solid
- Let cool completely before cutting