This classic Filipino rice cake baked in banana leaves is often served during holidays and family gatherings. For the simplified version here, the yeasted batter combines Thai rice flour with sweet rice flour for a bibingka with a lovely, delicate and moist crumb. The key to achieving that crumb is to let the batter proof, allowing it to become bubbly and lighten up. This recipe yields six bibingka baked in a jumbo muffin pan but they can also be baked in traditional mamon molds. They’re topped with melted Edam cheese and a sprinkle of coconut sugar then broiled until crisp.
Combine the warm water, yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Stir and let the yeast bloom until foamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk together both rice flours with the salt and the remaining 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and coconut milk. Whisk until smooth and the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Place the bowl in a warm place until the batter begins to lighten, bubble and almost double in volume, about 3 hours. (This can take longer depending on the temperature.)
Wipe clean both sides of each banana leaf with a damp towel, removing any dirt. Trace a 7-inch bowl with a very sharp knife on the banana leaves to create six 7-inch rounds, avoiding any tears or holes in the leaves. Heat each round directly over a low flame or with a culinary torch until pliable and slightly darkened, about 10 seconds per side. Line each cup of a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with a banana leaf round and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the batter is light and bubbly, whisk in the eggs. Fill each lined cup of the muffin pan slightly more than three-fourths of the way (a scant 3/4 cup per bibingka). Top each with 2 heaping tablespoons of shredded Edam cheese.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each bibingka comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and heat the broiler. Brush the top of each bibingka with melted butter then sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut sugar. Broil on the middle rack with the oven door open, moving the muffin pan continuously, until the tops are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Let cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes then remove each bibingka to a wire rack to continue to cool. The bibingka can be served at room temperature but are best served warm. They can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, then reheated in a toaster oven or microwave before serving.
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