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!

My Gratitude Journal

Goodbye Presents: She’s leaving on a London plane

My daughter Sabrina is leaving today for London. She is working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at King’s College. She will be gone for a year.

We have been spending some good quality time together before she leaves. At the end of one of our days of fun, she gave me a goodbye present. It was a box that she decoupaged herself and filled with little pieces of paper with little sayings that she wrote and a cute little book called “Why You’re So Awesome”.

It was my turn to give her my goodbye present. I wrote quotes, advice, encouragement and praises on cards and pasted photos on the back. She loved them!

We love giving homemade gifts to each other!

She gave her brother a great goodbye gift too. They were envelopes filled with notes that he can “open when…” One is “open when you are happy”. Another one is “open when I leave”. She instructed me to make sure that he opens it when we get back from dropping her off to the airport.

Open when….

She is leaving today. We are leaving in an hour and a half to drop her off at the airport. We are very sad and will miss her terribly but we are so proud of her for following her dreams.

Dream big, Sabrina. Reach for the stars.