Cassava Cake (with Coconut Milk) – gluten free recipe

Cassava. My new found love to cook and bake gluten-free everything!

This month, I joined the Slow Food Barbados local food challenge and now I’m sharing this delicious cassava cake recipe with you. I will confess not being too sure what to call this dessert. It exists in various cuisines around the world, and my research on this pudding felt like a journey in itself.

Cassava cake fresh out the oven
Cassava Coconut cake – baked in Barbados with love

Cassava – an epic cultural journey

This recipe is from grated cassava. It is known commonly as manioc in my country of origin (Mauritius). It is mixed with coconut milk which gives it a tropical taste that is reminiscent of a beautiful holiday under the palms and by the warm ocean.

Popular in the Southeast Asia region of the world, this cassava cake tasted of my childhood. I was transported to sweet memories of aunts handing me pieces of sticky manioc pudding dusted in desiccated coconut.

In some cultures, it’s known as kueh ubi or kuih bingka ubi kayu. You’ll find this version in countries such as in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It’s quite common to the Peranankan Chinese. Some regions such as in the Philippines also have a version of this recipe, but I think they steam theirs and give it a creamy milky topping.

Other parts of the world, for instance here in the Caribbean, locals make a similar dessert known as pone. In my family, we call it ‘gato manioc‘.

To simplify things, I call this baked cassava cake. I made it in a loaf tin so it felt more like a cake rather than a flan, or anything else. There are similarities like I mentioned with other types of desserts or pudding involving this grated root. Some are savoury, others are more sticky, while a few have custard on top or caramel… It really is up to you how you wish to experiment (and travel) I guess!

It may be familiar to you too as you taste it. I truly hope you give this recipe a go. You may recognise a comforting warmth to it, or it may make you travel back in time like I did. Whichever journey it takes you on, we can connect through culture and baking! 😉

OK, now grab your apron and let’s get baking!

Ingredients for this easy cassava cake:

  • 500g grated cassava (buying pre-packed is my preferred option)
  • 8 TBSP coconut milk (thick, creamy canned one)
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP tapioca starch (or arrowroot/cornstarch)
  • 10 TBSP raw cane sugar (I don’t like sugar, so feel free to add a few more spoons if you prefer sweet)
  • 1 large egg (optional)*
  • a pinch of salt

*if you omit the egg, add more coconut milk (use 1 cup).

Simple method

It’s super easy! So feel free to get your child to help you. It’s a simple recipe you can reach for when you’re feeling particularly lazy but still want to delight your family with something sweet.

In a mixing bowl, stir all ingredients until combined. At this point, your kitchen will smell delectably amazing. Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a tropical forest! 😅

Pour the runny but thick mixture into a pan. I don’t think it matters which pan – a brownie square dish or a loaf tin, it’s up to you.

Pop in a pre-heated oven on 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 deg Celsius) on the lower rack for about an hour (or more if unlike me you don’t live in the tropics, because it might take longer to set and bake). If you like the top to be a little more golden and crispy, move the cassava cake to the top rack of your oven and broil for about 5 minutes.

Leave to cool completely before cutting into slices. (I don’t follow my own advice at all – we devour it as soon as it’s out of the oven!)

sticky in the middle


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