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My mama taught me well. At least, I like to think so. When I am invited to be a guest at dinner at a friend’s or family’s house, I always ask if there is anything I can bring. My mama taught me that — proper dinner etiquette. She told us to never go to someone’s house empty-handed. In the past, I would bring a bottle of wine or some something to drink. Then, I started bringing something easy that I could just pick up at a store and bring over.  As I started to get more time, I would cook or bake something to share. These days, whenever I ask “What can I bring over?” the reply I get from friends or family is “bibingka,” a Filipino dessert made with rice flour and coconut milk. Even when I host dinner parties, my friends ask me if I am going to make bibingka. It has become a favorite among my family and friends. I learned how to make this dessert when I was maybe 12 or 13 years old. But, I didn’t learn this recipe from my mother. I have to credit my Auntie Rufina. I spent a week with her and the Mejia family one summer in Alameda, Calif. During that time, my auntie taught me how to make several desserts. Of all the recipes my Auntie Rufina taught me, this dessert is the one that has stuck with me. So much so that of all my dessert recipes that I know, I can create this dessert without looking up the recipe. My friends and family like it. I was also my late mother’s favorite, too.


      • 2 cups sweet rice flour
      • 2 13.5 ounce cans of coconut milk
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 1 tablespoon baking powder
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 cup coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease one 9 x 13 inch pan (or two 9 inch round cake pans). In a large bowl, mix together sweet rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, baking powder, eggs and vanilla extract. Add 2/3 of the coconut flakes to the batter. Pour mixture into pan. Top with remaining coconut flakes. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown or tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.