Vietnamese Honey Comb Cake
(Banh Bo Nuong)

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Banh Bo Nuong in a 9" round pan
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Banh Bo Nuong cut into pie shape
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some of Banh Bo Nuong ingredients

Bánh Bò Nướng (Vietnamese Honey Comb Cake), a Vietnamese gluten free dessert / snack. It’s a chewy, coconutty green cake often sold as slices on Styrofoam trays at Vietnamese bakeries. The color and tropical flavor come from the pandan leaves (dứa). It may not be as easy as it seems. Make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before you start. Good luck and have fun!!!

Makes 2 - 9" round cakes                   

Preparing time: 15 to 20 minutes (if using pandan leaves - 30 to 40 minutes)

Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes

  • 2 cans thick coconut milk (one can -- 13.66 fluid oz or 403ml)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups tapioca starch (1 bag – 16 oz)
  • 3 packages (Alsa Brand) baking powder (single acting), 11g per package
  • 6 to 8 pandan leaves, 1 tspn pandan extract, or 1 tspn vanilla (optional)
  1. Heat together the coconut milk and the sugar on low heat until the sugar dissolves, cool completely (add pandan leaves, pandan extract, or vanilla to “syrup” for green coloring -Optional- see further instruction below).
  2. Mix the tapioca starch into sugar mixture.
  3. Use an electric hand mixer to smooth out the flour clumps.
  4. Beat eggs well in a separate bowl.
  5. Add eggs to mixture.
  6. Continue to mix with mixer to smooth in the eggs.
  7. Add the baking powder last (ATTN: this is not the regular baking powder at the grocery store. The grocery store sells double acting baking powder. Please see picture above for single acting baking powder. You can usually find this brand at an Asian grocery store.)
  8. Mix everything together until smooth.
  9. It is normal for the mixture to be watery.
  10. Pour mixture into two 9” round pans.
  11. Bake at 350º F for about 45-50 mins or until golden.
  12. Use a toothpick to help measure. Cook until flour no longer stick to the toothpick.
  13. Optional – How to process the Pandan leaves:

v     You can often find frozen Pandan leaves at an Asian market. Cut the leaves into 1 to 2 inches in length.

v     Place them in a small food processor or food chopper. Use your own discretion on the amount of leaves that your food processor can handle at a time.

v     Put aside ¼ cup of coconut milk from the 2 cans of coconut milk. Add the coconut milk to the leaves.  

v     Grind all the leaves & milk into fine green pulp

v     Use a strainer to extract all the green coconut milk from the pulp.

v     Keep the milk and discard the pulp.

v     Pour the milk into the sugar mixture

v     Mix well.

v     You can avoid the laborious task of extracting the juice from the leaves by using pandan extract or regular vanilla. Vanilla flavoring is also good. However, it does not give the cake any color. Note: the pandan extract may contain food coloring, artificial flavoring, and/or preservatives. I prefer to use the frozen leaves for natural flavoring and coloring.

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food processor and pandan leaves
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pandan pulp
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coconut and sugar mixture with pandan leave juice
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mixture with starch and eggs