This bibingka recipe yields a lighter, airier cake but with all the buttery, coconuty goodness of the original.
Note: You can also use parchment paper in lieu of banana leaves but if you decide to omit the leaves or parchment make sure you use a baking pan without a removable bottom. This batter is loose.
Cut the defrosted banana leaves in squares or rounds larger than the mini tart pans or brioche tins you're planning to use. Hold them over fire (I use my gas stove) until they're bright green and glossy on both sides. This makes them more pliable. Use the leaves to line the inside the pans you are using.
Preheat your oven to 375ºF and slide a large baking tray inside the oven as it preheats.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar the mixture is smooth and some of the sugar granules have dissolved, about one minute.
In another bowl sift together the rice flour, all-purpose flour, kosher salt and baking powder.
To the egg/sugar mixture whisk in the coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract until combined. Then add the bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a whisk until all the lumps have disappeared. Pour the batter in your baking pans lined with banana leaves, making sure to fill only 2/3 or 3/4 up to the rim. If you are not using banana leaves or parchment paper you can spray your baking pan or brioche tins with baking spray.
Using oven-safe gloves, take the large baking tray that has been preheating in the oven. Arrange your smaller baking pans containing the batter and return to the oven. Bake for about eight minutes. After eight minutes take the baking tray out of the oven and sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the partially-cooked cakes and arrange slices of salted eggs if using. Return to the oven and bake for another eight - ten minutes or until the cakes have set and the tops have started to turn a golden color.
These cakes are best served warm. (Although I've found that this lighter, airier version is equally good at room temperature and will keep for two days.)
My base recipe is for a half batch, yielding four little cakes and I used half the amounts listed above. For the sugar I used .4 cup (a little less than 1/2 cup) and 1 1/2 eggs. For the full batch in this recipe the sugar amount is entered as a range so you can decide on the level of sweetness you prefer.
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