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Bingka Ubi Jalar - Sweet Potato Cake

Bingka is an easy cake and an instant pie! Let's learn how to bake this cake with a custardy sweet potato filling and a magically created crispy outer layer crust.
Ingredients to prepare Indonesian bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake): sweet potato, coconut milk, eggs, butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and sugar.

Ingredients to prepare Indonesian bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake): sweet potato, coconut milk, eggs, butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and sugar.

Are you in the mood for a sweet potato pie but cannot muster the will to prepare a separate recipe for a pie crust followed with another recipe for the sweet potato filling? Then I got just the solution for you, try baking a bingka ubi jalar (Indonesian sweet potato cake) instead.

I will forever think of a bingka as a hassle-free, super easy, cheat version of a pie. A bingka cake batter is extremely easy to prepare, and at the end of the baking time, you will be greeted with a cake that has a magical outer crust encasing a soft custardy sweet potato filling. An instant pie!

How to prepare the cake batter for bingka ubi jalar: (1) Place steamed sweet potatoes, eggs, melted butter, coconut milk, vanilla, salt, sugar, and cinnamon into a blender. (2) Puree into a smooth batter. (3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and sift in all-purpose flour. (4) Fold with a spatula until well mixed.

How to prepare the cake batter for bingka ubi jalar: (1) Place steamed sweet potatoes, eggs, melted butter, coconut milk, vanilla, salt, sugar, and cinnamon into a blender. (2) Puree into a smooth batter. (3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and sift in all-purpose flour. (4) Fold with a spatula until well mixed.

What is a bingka cake?

Bingka (read: bing + car) is the traditional dessert of Banjar people, an ethnic group native to the South Kalimantan province of Indonesia. This dessert is made with flour, egg, coconut milk, and a main ingredient of choice.

I am using sweet potato as the main ingredient of choice in this recipe, but there are many other varieties of bingka too. Some other popular choices are cassava, fermented cassava (Indonesian: tape), pumpkin, kabocha, eggs, and pandan.

(Top) Pour the cake batter into a line and greased 8-inch round cake pan, and optionally garnish with toasted black sesame seeds. (Bottom) Freshly baked bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake) with it's signature slightly wrinkly top.

(Top) Pour the cake batter into a line and greased 8-inch round cake pan, and optionally garnish with toasted black sesame seeds. (Bottom) Freshly baked bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake) with it's signature slightly wrinkly top.

Ingredients for a bingka ubi jalar (Indonesian sweet potato cake)

We will need sweet potato, eggs, coconut milk, butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, salt, and sugar. All are super common ingredients in all parts of the world, so everyone can enjoy this exotic Indonesian cake.

Bingka pan

Traditionally we bake a bingka cake in a special flower shaped cake pan, somewhat similar to a dancing daisy cake pan. But since it is impossible to get this exact bingka pan outside of Indonesia, I simply bake this cake in a round cake pan instead.

You can use either an 8” round pan or a 9” round pan. Both will take the same amount of baking time, but the 9” cake will simply be thinner.

Wait until the cake is completely cool before cutting and serving.

Wait until the cake is completely cool before cutting and serving.

How to bake a bingka

First, peel and cut sweet potatoes into wedges, then steam until fork tender and easily mashable.

Meanwhile, grease and line/flour an 8”x2” or a 9”x2” round cake pan and set aside. Also, preheat oven to 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).

Place the steamed sweet potato wedges in a blender, along with eggs, sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon powder. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix with a spatula until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. If using an 8” pan, it is more likely that the cake will need the whole hour.

A slice of bingka ubi jalar. The cake magically creates an outer crust encasing a soft and custardy sweet potato filling. The top crust may look wrinkly but that's the charm of the cake.

A slice of bingka ubi jalar. The cake magically creates an outer crust encasing a soft and custardy sweet potato filling. The top crust may look wrinkly but that's the charm of the cake.

Interesting points regarding a bingka

1. Use a blender to prepare the batter

Bingka is the only cake I make using a blender instead of say, a food processor, or a mixer. I guess you can also use a food processor if you must, but if you harbor some deep dark fantasy about using a blender to make a cake, now would be the right time to turn it into a reality.

2. Wait until completely cool before slicing and serving

You can serve most cakes warm, or even right out from the oven. But you must wait patiently until a bingka is completely cool before slicing and serving.

When a bingka cake is just out from the oven, the center is usually still quite soft and gooey. Once the cake is completely cool, the center will harden, though it will still retain its custardy texture, it definitely won’t fall apart if you wait until cool to slice the cake.

3. No need for a cake tester

Since the center of the cake is most likely gooey even when it’s completely cooked, it is pointless to test for the doneness of the cake with a cake tester. You will only be guided with visual cues and your sense of smell.

When the cake is still in the oven, especially near the very end when it’s about to become fully cooked, you may notice that the cake rises quite dramatically in the oven, with the top portion making a dome shape like it’s going to explode.

Don’t worry though, once you take the cake out from the oven, the top part will deflate on its own and become slightly wrinkly and crunchy too. This is the magical crust of a bingka cake, and this outer crust gives a nice contrast to the dense and custardy inner filling.

Bingka ubi jalar is an easy version of a sweet potato pie. Although the batter looks wet like any other cake batter, the finished cake has an outer crust, while the center is filled with custardy sweet potato filling.

Bingka ubi jalar is an easy version of a sweet potato pie. Although the batter looks wet like any other cake batter, the finished cake has an outer crust, while the center is filled with custardy sweet potato filling.

Other Indonesian cakes to try

I must say that most traditional Indonesian desserts are not baked, instead many are either steamed or cooked on a stovetop.

If you love baked desserts/cakes like this bingka, you may want to try baking a lapis legit, an onbitjkoek, a kue sarang semut, a pie susu Bali, or a klapertart Bandung.

Or if you want to try other bingka varieties, you may want to try a bingka labu, a bingka singkong, or a bingka telur instead. You may think that all these different bingka cakes are similar, but I can attest that each of them not only has a different flavor, but each has its unique texture too. :)

Bingka Ubi Jalar - Sweet Potato Cake

5.0 from 12 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 375 gram sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 gram sugar
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 50 gram melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 100 gram all purpose flour
  • Tools
  • a blender
  • an 8"x2" round cake pan or a 9"x2" round cake pan

Instructions

  1. Peel and cut sweet potato into wedges. Steam until fork tender and easily mashable.
  2. Meanwhile, grease and line/flour an 8”x2” or a 9”x2” round cake pan and set aside. Also, preheat oven to 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).
  3. Place the steamed sweet potato wedges in a blender, along with eggs, sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon powder. Blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer the sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix with a spatula until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. If using an 8” pan, it is more likely that the cake will need the whole hour.
  6. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes in the pan before taking it out. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. Cut into 8 portions.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • resep tape ketan resep tape ketan says:

    These look absolutley delicious, would love to have this for an upcoming bday

  • Elynn Elynn says:

    Hi Anita, did you finally get an oven?! Does that mean no more rice-cooker-cake recipes? :( please continue to share more rice-cooker-cake recipes, I made your calamansi lime yoghurt cake, made a lime cream cheese frosting to top it, and it was delicious! Is this gonna work fine in a rice cooker too?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Elynn, I moved back to the United States and renting an apartment at the moment, and it comes with a stove/oven, so I have been busy baking with oven for a while now :) But, I still find the urge to experiment baking cakes with rice cooker every now and then :) For this bingka, I haven't tried baking one in rice cooker myself, so I cannot guarantee that it will work out.

  • Milky Milky says:

    I had a half-can of coconut milk to use up, and a root vegetable in desperate need of being used so I figure I'd give this a shot!

    The vegetable might be a yam.... the large, orangey type. I'm not very good at discerning this, and I didn't buy it hahah. I miss the beautiful sweet potatoes in Asia. The flavor and sweetness can't compare to our huge, blander, US grocery store type *cry cry*

    Anyway, I whipped this up quickly, and I was a little bit wary of the results- it didn't rise much at all! (The bingka telur was HUGE, so maybe I did something wrong!) Besides the "mystery root", I also used measurements from a really old, junky kitchen scale. Usually I do a quick conversion search to change to cups (I know it's not going to be perfect, so your recipe is not to blame! But for the sake of convenience...) but I thought I'd try this old thing that had been shoved in some drawer for an indeterminate amount of time...

    Well, I removed my cake easily enough... a bit darker than your photo, but generally looked the same... and got a bite... and... well... it's great! Rich, with a gentle sweetness- crunchy on the outside like you describe, with a sort of dense custard-like inside. It reminded me of something called a "magic cake" where the batter separates as it cooks and each layer has a different texture.

    I think this is a great, smaller, simple dessert cake- it's really perfect for autumn, too. I bet canned pumpkin would make a good base- and if you add pumpkin pie spice, you'd have a tough time convincing someone of this dessert's tropical origins! The slices also came out very clean, so it will look impressive on a potluck table~ All in all, a very versatile, delicious dessert!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you for another detailed comment, Milky. Yes, a bingka made in a regular round cake pan looks almost like any Western dessert, so you are right that it can be hard to convince others of the origin of this dessert. In Indonesia, we have a special bingka cake pan that looks like a flower, so visually everyone can tell that the flower looking cake must be a bingka, regardless of the main ingredient used (yam, sweet potato, pumpkin, etc.) :)

  • Andrea Metlika Andrea Metlika says:

    I've never had anything like this. It sounds delicious. Definitely going to try this out.

  • Cathleen Cathleen says:

    I love the wrinkly look of the top! This cake is so new to me, I am going to have to give it a go! Thanks for the recipe :)

  • SHANIKA SHANIKA says:

    This Sweet Potato Cake looks amazing! I love how easy it is to make!

  • Farah Maizar Farah Maizar says:

    This looks so lovely and moist and exotic! I love sweet potato and I'm sure I'll love this- what a fun way to try something new!

  • Jacqueline Meldrum Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    I've never seen a cake made with sweet potatoes before and there was me wondering what to do with my last batch.

  • Priya Lakshminarayan Priya Lakshminarayan says:

    wow..very different recipe...would love to try it out soon

  • Sisley White Sisley White says:

    Sweet potato and cakes are two of my favourite things so together this is a dream.

  • Mahy Mahy says:

    The fact that I have never tried bingka before is amazing, considering how many different recipes I have already tried. It certainly looks delicious and inviting!

  • Noelle Noelle says:

    This was such a fun recipe, very fun to make and fun to eat! :)

  • Krissy Allori Krissy Allori says:

    This creamy custard sweet potato pie looks amazing. I love learning to make new pies. I am going to bookmark and try this one out for sure. Thank you!

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:

    This looks like such a delicious cake! I have some sweet potatoes in the house so I definitely need to give this a try!

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