Introduction: Baked Cassava (Tapioca) Cake
This traditional cassava (tapioca) cake is semi-soft, chewy and fragrant. It has an inviting aroma from the screw pine leaves (pandan leaves), eggs and coconut milk. Just perfect for tea-time snack or as dessert. More importantly it’s extremely easy to make and it’s super delicious. Simply mix everything together and bake. Yes, it's just that simple and you will have to try very hard to make this recipe go wrong. So ENJOY!
2 eggs, lightly beaten
220 g sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 kg cassava (tapioca), preferably yellow variety and grated
5 screw pine leaves (pandan leaves), rinse and drain well
400 gm thick coconut milk, at room temperature
125 ml water
1 piece banana leaf, rinse and drain dry
Step 1: Line Baking Tin With Banana Leaf.
First, line a 23 x 5 cm (9 inch x 2 inch) square baking tin with banana leaves. The banana leaf needs to be washed, wiped dry and lightly oiled on shiny side of the leaf. This helps to prevent the baked cassava (tapioca) cake from sticking to the banana leaf. The banana leaf also makes a fragrant and convenient lining for the cassava (tapioca) cake. However, if banana leaves are not available, use parchment paper instead.
Banana leaves have a wide range of applications as they are large, flexible, waterproof and decorative. They are used for cooking, wrapping and even for food serving in a wide range of Asian cuisines.
Step 2: Preheat Oven to 170 Degree C (325 F)
Preheating the oven is especially important for baking the cassava (tapioca) cake. By preheating the oven, we allow it time to reach the correct temperature in order to bake the cake perfectly. A preheated oven will cook the cassava (tapioca) cake all the way to its centre before the outside gets burnt.
In general, the middle of the oven is best for even baking. So placing rack in the centre of oven during baking allows for even baking and overall same baking time.
Do not use too high temperature to bake the cake or the top will brown too quickly on the top while the inside remains uncooked.
Step 3: Prepare the Cassava (tapioca).
First, peel the yellow cassava (tapioca) tubers.
The cassava (tapioca) is encased in a thick, bark-like skin so to remove the skin, first cut the top and bottom off. Then cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Stand each piece on its side, and using a sharp knife, slice the skin off from top to bottom. Be sure to remove the skin completely.
Then, grate finely the yellow cassava tubers.
Grate finely the yellow cassava (tapioca). Otherwise the cassava (tapioca) cake will come out hard. You can also cut the cassava (tapioca) into small chunks and blend in a food processor. Grated cassava is already readily sold in the stores.
Next, place the grated cassava (tapioca) in a strainer over a bowl.
Leave the grated cassava (tapioca) in strainer for about 30 minutes. This allows the juices from the grated cassava to drain into the bowl. Pour off the liquid in the bowl slowly, leaving behind the cassava (tapioca) starch at the bottom of bowl. Set aside the starch to mix with the grated cassava (tapioca).
Choose the yellow variety of cassava (tapioca) for this recipe so the colour of the baked cassava (tapioca) cake will be naturally yellow. Select cassava (tapioca) that are firm and have no blemishes or soft spots.
Step 4: Make the Cassava (tapioca) Cake Batter.
First measure all the ingredients needed.
Put the grated cassava (tapioca) into a large mixing bowl. Then add the reserved cassava (tapioca) starch followed by sugar, beaten eggs and salt.
Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.
Knead, squeeze and twist screw pine leaves (pandan leaves) into mixture till completely crushed. This will give the cake a nice aroma.
Then add in the undiluted coconut milk and water. Mix thoroughly.
Lastly, discard the screw pine leaves (pandan leaves) after that.
Step 5: Bake the Cassava (tapioca) Cake.
Pour batter into lined and oiled baking tin in a circular motion as you pour. Smooth the top with a spatula, stirring liquid that may accumulate around edges so that the batter is evenly mixed.
Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown, edges are crusty and slightly caramelised, about 1 1/4 hours. When done, a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out almost clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 30 minutes if the top doesn't brown evenly.
The timing of baking will depend on individual oven and the size of baking tin you used. The bigger the baking tin, the thinner the cake, the faster the baking time.
Do not overbake or the cassava (tapioca) cake will be dry.
This cassava (tapioca) cake is a very forgiving dish. If its not evenly baked, simply return into oven to continue baking until done.
Step 6: Cool the Baked Cassava (tapioca) Cake.
Remove tapioca cake from oven and leave to cool on wire rack till slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
Then unmould and leave the cake on wire rack to cool completely.
Be sure to cool the cassava (tapioca) cake completely before slicing. It will take at least 3 to 4 hours before you can slice the cake nicely. So it is best to leave the cake overnight before slicing.
Step 7: Serve the Cassava (tapioca) Cake at Room Temperature.
Using an oiled sharp knife, cut the caramelized golden yellow tapioca cake into pieces. The oiled knife will make cutting the cake easier as it prevents the cassava (tapioca) cake from sticking to the knife.
You can cut the tapioca cake into neat rectangular pieces.
The cassava (tapioca) cake is semi-soft and moist with a springy, elastic texture. The caramelized top and edges of the tapioca cake after it’s baked give it such a special and inviting taste.
Serve the golden baked cassava (tapioca) cake at room temperature with Chinese tea as a snack or dessert.
Leftovers should be wrapped and kept refrigerated. Then cut and rebake at 100 degree C (200F) till thoroughly heated, warm and soft before serving.