If you haven’t heard of cassava cake (or cassava) before, you might have a few questions. For example…
Basically, cassava is a starchy tuber with a nutty flavor. It’s native to South America and is commonly eaten there, as well as in many parts of Africa and Asia.
If you’re in the United States, you might have heard it called by names like Brazilian arrowroot, yuca, or manioc. Fresh cassava roots (the part that’s usually eaten) are very versatile and are used in both savory and sweet foods.
That brings us to the next question…
What’s Cassava Cake?
Cassava cake is a traditional dessert from the Philippines. It’s made from grated cassava root (obviously), coconut milk, and condensed milk. This is then topped with a layer of custard. It’s often eaten in the afternoon and on special occasions.
Vegans will be pleased to hear that cassava cake is totally vegan friendly – there are no eggs to worry about, and you can use most kinds of oil without needing butter. Some recipes do add extra animal products, though, so check first.
However, the term ‘cassava cake’ can also refer to other kinds of cake made using cassava flour. For this list, we’ve selected 15 amazing recipes from both categories.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you won’t know why you haven’t been using cassava in your cooking for years!
This is the classic Filipino recipe. You’ll note that there’s no flour in the recipe, as the cassava is starchy enough to do the job of absorbing the moisture – please note that, when making cassava cake, it’ll start of with a runny consistency.
This will leave the cake perfectly moist and delicious. You can serve it cold, straight from the refrigerator, or at room temperature.
This take on the classic cassava cake recipe pairs it with chocolate. You won’t be surprised that mixing such an awesome cake with one of the world’s most popular sweet treats (chocolate) comes out great.
This version actually uses cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix, but you could add some solid (or liquid) chocolate too if you wanted, which helps to sweeten the frozen grated cassava.
It might not look like a traditional chocolate cake made from eggs and flour, but the taste is something you won’t forget.
Bojo cake is a regional variation of cassava cake that’s one of the most popular sweet treats in Suriname. This cassava mixture features rum, raisins, and coconut to give the cake an unmistakable Caribbean flavor.
It’s best served with a large helping of whipped cream. This one was invented by Dutch settlers in Suriname who adapted their favorite recipes from back home to the ingredients available to them in South America.
This is another cassava cake recipe that will take your tastebuds to the Caribbean. Though traditionally made with flour, this version swaps the typical wheat flour for cassava flour.
There’s peanut butter and Guinness but the biggest flavors in this recipe come from the rum-soaked fruits. It’s hard not to be impressed by something so alive with flavor when you bite into it, and you definitely won’t want to stop at just one slice.
You might not have thought it’d be possible to make a cassava cheesecake, but we’re here to tell you that 1) you absolutely can and that 2) it’s delicious. Most of the procedure is the same as for a regular cheesecake.
The addition of the cassava is the only big difference. However, as with any cheesecake, you can very easily experiment with different flavors to create the perfect sweet cassava cake.
Fruits like lemon and blackcurrants are classics but you might also like to try chocolate, ginger, or even something more unusual like candied thyme.
Speaking of ginger, here’s a cassava cake that was made for ginger lovers everywhere. What’s even better than that warming ginger flavor is that you only need four ingredients to make it!
Yep, that’s right, just four. Cassava, coconut milk, ginger, and sugar. This recipe actually uses a sweetener instead of sugar, but you can do either.
Of course, being so simple, the recipe is easy enough to modify to taste. Try adding cinnamon and nutmeg to take this recipe even higher.
Cherries are another great choice in a cassava cake as this recipe proves. There’s also a slightly unusual ingredient in a cake topping – parmesan cheese. You might be confused at first, but wait until you taste it.
You’ll agree that it adds a great, subtle nutty flavor to the sweet and tart cherries.
This is a lovely, cozy cassava cake with a wonderfully moist, springy texture. It combines the flavors of orange and almond with applesauce and maple syrup.
We’ve never seen that particular combination of tastes before but we’re glad someone thought to give it a go! You can dust it with coconut milk powder (or if you prefer, powdered sugar) to finish it off and get the presentation right.
A national variation on cassava cake from Vietnam. This version’s topped with toasted sesame seeds but is otherwise fairly similar. That nutty touch really helps round out the flavor in a satisfying way.
Another difference, though, is that you’ll use coconut sugar instead of regular sugar, though you could substitute regular sugar if you find coconut sugar hard to get.
This version of cassava cake revels in its creamy, cheesiness. The secret here is grated cheddar cheese – not a traditional ingredient in the Filipino original, but we’re not complaining!
Macapuno is optional in this version, but it mixes nicely with the cheese so we strongly recommend it. If you want to switch it up, you can try other cheeses besides cheddar.
Monterey jack might be another good option, as might as nice, simple goat’s cheese. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try a blue cheese!
Pineapple is delicious in cakes of all kinds, and this pineapple cassava cake recipe is no exception. The crushed pineapple along with the coconut milk creates a lovely tropical feeling in your mouth when you eat it.
You can keep some pineapple slices to serve on top if you like – it tastes good and looks fancy.
You might be wondering what macapuno is. Well, it’s the flesh of a type of coconut that is sometimes called “mutant coconut”, but don’t let that name scare you off..
The flesh is very tender and tastes incredible, making for a delicious cassava cake mixture. It’s also used in various candies and ice creams in the Philippines. If you can’t get hold of it, you can replace it with regular coconut.
This variation of cassava hails from the Cayman Islands, an island chain in the Caribbean. As you might expect, it comes with more than a hint of Caribbean flavor.
This is mostly brought out by the allspice, which is a fixture in many Caribbean favorites. The allspice is joined by cinnamon and nutmeg to result in a wonderfully spiced cake.
The recipe also calls for dark brown sugar. You can substitute white sugar if it’s easier for you, but the dark brown will add a nice hint of caramel flavor that shouldn’t be missed if you want to experience this cake in its full glory.
Cassava cake is a favorite in Malaysia too, where it’s known as Kuih Bengka. This recipe shows how it’s done there. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, with the coconut mostly speaking for itself (with support from some sugar).
As you’ll see, it’s not too far off the Filipino recipe – not too surprising since they’re both countries in Southeast Asia. This recipe lacks the macapuno that some others have but you could use that instead of the coconut this recipe calls for.
Cassava is native to South America and there are many recipes from that continent that use it. This is one of them – the Colombian take on cassava cake.
One way it differs from some of the other recipes is that it’s seasoned with a little star anise. This adds a lovely unique flavor to the cake. It also features a fair amount of queso fresco, which gives it a lovely cheesy creaminess.
It’s a simple recipe, too – just mix all the ingredients together, put the mixture into the dish, and bake. Cut it up to serve and you’re golden.
This list should have filled you with inspiration and ideas for making cassava cakes. They’re not all that well known and understood in the United States, which is a pity. However, you can start to change this for the better.
When your family and friends try the wonderful cassava cakes you’ve made, they won’t be able to resist spreading the word.
You’re ahead of the curve, though. Whether you’re into the simple, classic recipes or want to try something more elaborate with cherries, chocolate, or cheese, this list has you covered. Bake on!