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Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.
Filipino cooking is not familiar to me so I was very interested in this months’ challenge. The Sans Rival sounded (and is) rich but delicious! The Sans Rival consists of several layers of crisp, cashew meringue sandwiched together with vanilla flavoured French buttercream.  A chocolate version of the meringue, though not traditional was also given. We could choose other types of nuts if we wished. I decided not to make the optional Bibingka recipe which had ingredients I wasn’t able obtain.
 I opted to substitute the French buttercream which is based on egg yolks for an Italian meringue buttercream which is based on egg whites. In the end I could give every excuse under the sun but basically I’m scared of tasting an ‘eggy’ buttercream. If it did taste ‘eggy’ it would be a waste because we wouldn’t eat it. I know the meringue buttercream goes down well with my family and hopefully the guests to whom I would serve the Sans Rival.  
To start, I prepared only one half of the  meringue recipe – the original consisting of 10 egg whites.
Toss in my toasted cashews (minus a few..or more..that I ate).
I chose to freeform the meringue on baking parchment custom sized for the serving plate.
To start the Italian buttercream, I boiled the sugar and water to 245F, cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and started to beat 5 egg whites to a meringue consistency. The recipe I use is widely available on the internet as Warren Brown’s Italian Meringue buttercream. It works everytime and I love the light (in taste, not calories!) fluffy result.

I used a two tablespoons of coffee granuels dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water to flavour the buttercream.
Only a small amount of buttercream went into each layer.
Then I covered the whole lot in the remaining buttercream and added a few swirls, nuts and coffee beans to decorate. 
I served this at a morning tea I hosted for a group of wonderful volunteers who teach religion in our government schools. They enjoyed the well earned treat.
Thank you Catherine for introducing us to a delicious Filipino dessert!
Sans Rival – the original recipe as supplied
Servings: 12
10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews
Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)
4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.
5.Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled. 
7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like

1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.

Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of
buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and
sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

Halloween. It is only just starting to take on here…
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