Cebu Torta

A few days ago my mom said she had a craving for Cebu style torta. While there are several places in the Chicago area that sells torta, it wasn’t an option for now because of the current lockdown. So I told her I’d figure something out and get back to her. After an extensive search online I found a couple of recipes that looked promising, so I took those apart and tweaked it to my preferences. I delivered to this mom a couple of days ago and she loved it, said it was pretty authentic, so hopefully you all enjoy this too.


  • 10 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 ½ cups all- purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup or 1 stick of butter (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  1. Line cupcake/muffin pans with liners. Recipe yields 2 dozen mini cakes. *
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Slowly bring the coconut milk and sugar to a boil. Add the star anise and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
  4. In a separate bowl; combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly and set aside for now.
  5. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until pale, then slowly add the egg yolks and vanilla. Mix on low for two minutes.
  6. Slowly add the oil, coconut syrup, and condensed milk while continuously mixing.
  7. Add the flour mixture and keep mixing on low for a couple minutes until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Take care not to overwork the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared molds.
  9. Bake at 350 F for about 18 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. While the torta is baking, prepare the topping. The extra butter should be at room temperature and have a pastry brush ready. Place the additional sugar in a small shallow bowl.
  11. Once the tortas are done baking, use the pastry brush to coat the tops with a generous amount of butter. Then roll the still warm and buttered tortas in the sugar making sure to get an even coat. Serve warm.


* Traditionally, tortas are baked in specialized molds that give them their distinct star shape. However, these are hard to find outside the Philippines, so I use cupcake/muffin molds since most people have those handy in their kitchen.

Traditional torta mold

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