Biko or bibingka? A Filipino Rice Cake story (with my mom’s recipe included)

While visiting my parents, my mom showed me how to make bibingka, which is a Filipino Rice cake. When I was little, my favorite Filipino dessert was bibingka. So I was excited to learn how to make this delicious dessert.

I noticed, however, that my mom was using a biko recipe to make bibingka. I actually never even heard of biko so I was curious to know the difference between biko and bibingka. I googled it and found out that biko is made from glutinous rice (usually combination of black rice and white sweet rice) and is topped with Latik, which is fried coconut milk curd. Bibingka is made from white glutinous rice and topped with caramelized sugar and coconut cream.

Mom’s bibingka

My mom used this biko recipe and modified it into a bibingka recipe by topping it with coconut milk and brown sugar and then caramelizing it. Here is the recipe:

Mom’s recipe for bibingka 


2 cups sweet glutinous rice
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 cups of coconut milk
Anise (optional)
Pinch of salt
Rounded banana leaf (optional)

You will need a rice cooker for this recipe.


Wash sweet rice and drain. Add 2 cups of water and cook the sweet rice in the rice cooker.

While the rice is cooking in the rice cooker, place the coconut milk, brown sugar, anise and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

After the mixture has come to a boil, lower the flame to a medium low and then cook for 30 more minutes. Stir occasionally until mixture thickens. Once it thickens, make sure to stir consistently.

Once you are finished cooking the mixture, remove the anise. In addition, take out 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside. This will be your topping.

Add the cooked sweet rice to the rest of the mixture in the saucepan and then cook for another 10 minutes under medium low heat. Mix thoroughly.

It will have a consistency and texture that looks like this

Transfer it to a round cake pan with a rounded banana leaf (optional) on the bottom. Flatten and smooth it out.

All smoothed and flattened out

The banana leaf is optional, but it gives it more flavor and adds a nice decorative Filipino touch.

So Filipino…

Take the 1/3 mixture that was set aside earlier and pour it evenly on top.

Before baking

Place in a toaster oven or an oven heated to 350 degrees and bake until the topping caramelized.

Serve and enjoy!


4 thoughts on “Biko or bibingka? A Filipino Rice Cake story (with my mom’s recipe included)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s