One of the first memories we probably all have as children are sweets. I am no different. Birthday cakes were a big hit, but charcoal baked bibingkas were in a class all their own and evoke their very own special moments. It is a treat borne out of necessity, for I doubt that conventional ovens as we know them now were readily available back then. The ingenuity of foodies should not be under estimated though for we will find a way of doing things to attain the taste that we want. Sort of like the original mission of Lasang Pinoy, literally translated ‘tastes like Pinoy’.
When I was growing up in Baguio, birthday cakes and other western style treats were easier to find than real old fashioned bibingka. Sometimes you can only find them during holidays, but on auspicious evenings, walking home from the late show or the often late ending family gatherings, my dad would find enterprising vendors who hawk their specialty late into the night and sometimes extend into the early mornings.
Of course, since moving to the U.S. this delicacy has become even harder to come by. This is a version of bibingka that is common among Filipino expats in the U.S. It never fails to materialize in every Filipino party that we attended. It is also one of the first cakes I learned to bake as a teenager.
While my grandmother used to grind her own rice flour on a stone grinder, my version starts with the ever dependable Mochico flour from the oriental market.
1 Box Mochico Flour
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz. sour cream
1 – 14 oz. can of Coconut Milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9×13 glass dish or in this case, one 9×9 dish and a couple of pie pans lined with banana leaves.
Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes.