Ref cake recipes like these are popular easy desserts that many Filipino households have been doing for decades. Baking isn’t typically done in the everyday Filipino except for extremely special occasions, and there’s not that many Filipino recipes or Filipino dishes that require an oven or stove. The few examples of traditional Filipino cakes like rice cakes or kakanin requires traditional Filipino cookware.
Most Filipinos leave the baking to the professionals and it seems like to me that only home cooks who are dedicated enough in their craft are the few nonprofessionals who would invest in an oven and other baking appliances.
For the average Filipinos, ref cakes recipes are their holy grail when it comes to making homemade cakes. It’s the perfect dessert for the Filipino palate and the country’s hot weather. Ref cakes are lovely cooling deserts that require minimal effort to prepare and are the process that is quite enjoyable to booth.
This recipe is perfect for sweet tooths looking for a snack for the afternoon But of course, ref cakes need to be chilled first before serving, lest you want to be served a concoction of fruits and broas drowning in cold milk. So it’s highly recommended to prepare this dessert the night before, leave it at the fridge or freezer overnight, and serve the next day.
The preparation won’t require much time, depending on how many containers of the cake you’ll make and the ingredients are easily accessible to anyone. Growing up, I usually assist my mom with making ref cakes at home and the entire process can be quite relaxing. It’s like putting up building blocks only with fresh ingredients.
The end result is always beautifully made too, even when its made by an inexperienced home cook like me back in the day. Preparing a ref cake is a great past time to do with family or friends and it can actually test cooperation, but you can also do it yourself. Easy peasy.
This delicious dessert that’s already a classic in the Filipino dessert scene is made up of layers of a sweet mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream, with ladyfingers for its base, and delectable fruits in the middle and top.
The classic fruit to make with this dessert is mangoes that for whatever reason goes perfectly with the thick, creamy milk mixture. Of course, like many Filipino staples, each household has its own way of doing the dish. Some go all out and uses a mixture of different fruits, and some topped of their ref cake with crushed pili nuts or other types of nuts to alleviate the taste and texture.
The most common thing between the households in preparing their ref cakes is that they always use ingredients that they have the easiest access to so there are a lot of creative and out the box ref cake recipes out there. Many also modify the ingredients depending on their taste preferences.
For this ref cake recipe, we’re going to make the classic ref cake with the best affordable ingredients. Afterward, if you’re confident with making this recipe, you can experiment with different ingredients to put on your own ref cake recipe that would suit your taste the best. This ref cake recipe to start with to create that much-needed foundation.
We’re going to use simple and affordable ingredients. I went on a trip to the nearest local market and got 2 packs of ladyfingers (also known as broas), 4 large mangoes (a couple more for me to snack on), a pack of pili nuts which we need 2-3 cups of for this recipe, 1 can of condensed milk, 2 packs of all-purpose cream, and 1 cup of evaporated milk.
Now for preparing the ref cake recipe. At this point, I usually listen to music, put on a podcast, or put on an episode of my favorite TV show while in the process. Anyway, the first thing to do is to mix the condensed milk and cream together. Make sure that the two ingredients are blended well together and creates a nice smooth mixture with a single, solid color.
Next, place the evaporated milk in a separate bowl and slightly dip a piece of broas or ladyfinger into it then place that at the bottom of the container. Repeat this process until you’ve got a layer of ladyfingers dipped in evaporated milk at the bottom of the container. Then add a layer of the condensed milk and cream mixture of the bottom ladyfingers layers.
On top of the mixture’s layer, place slices of mangoes and pili nuts to create a third layer. Repeat the entire process until you’ve filled your entire container. Make sure that the top part shows the mango and pili nut layer but I also like to pour a thin layer of the condensed milk and cream mixture on top of that if there’s any left.
All you have to do is put the container in the fridge and let it harden overnight and you’re done! Serve the next day for a rewarding and refreshing snack.
Ref Cake Recipe
- 2 packs of lady fingers broas
- 4 large mangoes sliced
- 2-3 cups candied pili nuts
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2 packs all purpose cream
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- Mix the condensed milk and cream together.
- Slightly dip lady fingers in a evaporated milk.
- Place a layer of lady finger at the bottom of a container.
- Add a layer of mixed condensed milk and cream on top of the ladyfinger.
- Place mangoes and pili nuts on top.
- Repeat procedure until you reached the desired. Lastly top with mangoes and pili.
- Put in a refrigerator, to serve cold.