Daring Bakers: Filipino Desserts (Chocolate Sans Rival)

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I procrastinated, so of course, I was making my Sans Rival last night. I opted to keep the dessert-making to a minimum (seeing as how I already had 3 kinds of leftover pie in my fridge from Thanksgiving) and only made the Sans Rival. I loved that the recipe was already gluten-free (provided the cake pans were dusted with a gluten-free flour, of course) and I could easily adopt it to be dairy-free by substituting a vegan “butter” for the butter called for in the French buttercream. Which, by the way, if you’ve never had French buttercream, find an excuse to try it out. It’s incredibly rich, but also incredibly delicious. Definitely a treat to enjoy only once a year or so.

The same is with this Sans Rival. I opted to take Catherine’s suggested recipe, and make my Sans Rival a chocolate one. It wasn’t overly loaded with chocolate, and it wasn’t too sweet, but I promise you, this is still a rich dessert. That being said, it’s a lovely gluten-free option that would be perfect at a holiday table.

I’ll definitely be keeping this dessert in mind for future events, as I love a good meringue. However, it will definitely have to be an event where I don’t end up with leftovers – I certainly don’t need any more sweets lying around!

10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews (chop half finely, and half coarsely)

Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.

2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well. (I used gluten-free cassava flour and olive oil instead of flour and butter here.)

3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form.  (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in cocoa and nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz)  white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like (I used unsweetened chocolate and vanilla extract)


1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of  buttercream, meringue, thin layer of  buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.


  1. says

    Excellent! As a part of a large Filipino family, we often make Sans Rival for special occasions, especially since my grandmother is not supposed to have wheat. But even when there are tons of folks around to eat it, it is so rich, you really don’t need to make much for it to go around. I am sorry I didn’t know about this challenge, but I am definitely going to look up the bibingka recipe, as my grandmother remembers having that mornings after Mass.

  2. says

    I love Filipino food. The food in the Philippines is amazing. I could eat it everyday. I have actually never heard of Sans Rival before. I can’t believe my wife has never made this for me before. It looks delicious.

  3. Tina says


    When did you incorporate the cocoa into the meringue mixture? Did you fold it in with the nut? Thank you!

    • altawrites says

      Tina – Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. You fold it in with the nuts, yes. I’ve updated the recipe.

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