This adaptation of a traditional puto recipe is soft, pillowy and subtly sweet. You can have special puto that is easily prepared and made with basic ingredients. Enjoy!
Puto is one of the well-known Filipino delicacies known for its distinct white color and pillowy cake-like texture.
Traditionally, it is made with a much more complicated process such as milling rice to produce rice flour. Thankfully, we are not doing it today 😉 This special puto recipe is simple and uses a few ingredients. It yields a delightfully soft steamed cake that is perfect as a side to a savory dish or as a lightly sweet snack on its own.
Because the batter is such a neutral base, puto can be prepared with many variations.
- Topping them with salted egg, shredded coconut and butter.
- Infusing them with different flavors such as ube and pandan.
- Turning them into different colors by infusing them with food coloring. It is such a beautiful sight to see a big puto platter in many different colors. A real show stopper.
- Stuffing puto with meat inside (often called puto-pao).
Steamer and Steaming Pan
- Puto are commonly baked in molds to yield individual mini cakes. Here, we do it in one big round cake style using a 10-inch springform pan that is lined with foil. I love it. It reminds me of the Filipino wet markets where puto were commonly prepared in big bilaos (a big, circular wood-knit pan) and sold in slices.
- If you don’t have a 1o inch springform pan, just line your steamer pan with overlapped pieces of foil, forming a wide foil basket to put your batter in.
- You need a big round steamer that is at least 12 inches in diameter. If your steamer is oval, just line your steamer pan with overlapped pieces of foil instead of using a spring-form pan. Your puto will take on the shape of your steamer.
- You can use processed cheese (the quick melt type). You can also use cheddar cheese or the Filipino type processed cheese like Eden or Cheezy. I used a combination of cheddar and processed Filipino cheese for a variety of colors on my puto.
- Depending on the cheese you use, they may melt and meld completely in the puto or they may remain in their shape on top. That is why I added the cheeses in two steps here ( one during mid cooking and one towards the end). The last addition is both for flavor and decoration.
How to Make Special Puto?
In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the milk and water and stir the mixture using a hand whisk until it is smooth and lump-free.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the flour-milk mixture using a rubber spatula until the batter is streak-free.
Pour the batter into a ten-inch spring-form pan that is lined with overlapped pieces of foil. Place it in your steamer basket and steam the cheese puto for 15 minutes. Top the puto with strips of cheddar/ processed cheese and steam for another 8 minutes.
Place strips of salted egg slices (optional) and more strips of cheese for decoration. Steam for 2 minutes more. Turn off heat and keep the steamer covered for three more minutes. Remove the steamer basket and let the cheese puto cool slightly.
Add a splash or two of vinegar in your steamer water for a whiter puto!
More Recipes For You:
- Ube Ensaymada
- Ube Chiffon Cake
- Ube Cheesecake
- Ube Flan Cake
- Ube Pianono
- Ube Ensaymada
- Easy Bibingka
Originally published on April 13, 2015 and updated with a new recipe and photos.