True blue Kagay-anons are familiar with the steamed corn sweet tamales merienda favorite called “binaki”. Cagayan de Oro’s version of this delicacy, however, does not come with the savory filling, which makes it a perfect coffee partner. And this is how it has been enjoyed over the years.
The Binaki Story
According to stories, the binaki got its name from the position one assumes when grinding corn on flat stones – like that of a frog or “baki” (in Binisaya).
Described as a “steamed cake made of grated young corn, mixed with milk and sugar, and wrapped in corn husk”, the binaki is actually the result of influences of the galleon trade between Acapulco and the Philippines. Through the exchange of goods and services, the Mesoamerican dish known as “tamal” or “tamales” (tamale in American English) was introduced to Filipinos. Tamal is made of corn-based dough and has meat and spices as filling. Before it is steamed, the tamal is wrapped in corn husk or banana leaf.
This is where the idea of binaki supposedly came from. Over the years, several variants of the delicacy surfaced. As previously mentioned, the CDO version does not have the filling. Nevertheless, it has remained of the most popular snack choices (along with coffee) and is a bestselling pasalubong.
Today, however, a new variant of the decades-old favorite has emerged – the Binacake or Binacake sa Latik.
The Binacake is the modern version of the binaki. It was conceptualized by Ms. Jocelyn Gordiel Balbon of Cagayan Riverview Inn. The name is perfect because the traditional binaki now looks (and tastes) like cake. It is now creamier, pretty much like a sponge cake. During the Department of Tourism – Region 10 “Binaki ug Kape” event last April 2016, the Binacake was introduced. It was paired with thick, sweet, and warm Latik.
Last February 3, the Binacake was formally launched via Cornversations, a Binacake sa Latik pairing event at Cagayan Riverview Inn’s Rhythm Cafe. Special guests that night were Department of Tourism representatives, Barangay Gwapo 2016 John Willy G. Biwang, members of the media (Urban Life and Business Week Mindanao), and bloggers (including yours truly) from CDO Bloggers, CdeO.ph, CDO Dev, and About Cagayan de Oro.
The evening started with Mr. Elton Ladd Batinga, who hosted the short program, sharing a brief backgrounder of the Binacake. While short video clips were played, we were treated to a free taste of TsingTsao beer, which was also launched that night.
Batinga described the Binacake as the cake version of the well-loved binaki. It is made of basically the same ingredients; the only difference is that it is a little creamier and shaped like a cake. Paired with another Filipino favorite – Latik – the Binacake is an innovative variation of a classic delicacy.
The Binacake is also the perfect merienda because it is versatile. It can be paired with other toppings (aside from Latik). This was what we discovered when we each took a few slices of Binacake and experimented with the various toppings spread on the buffet table.
On my plate, I placed small servings of cheese, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bacon bits, muscovado, Latik, and caramel. My favorite is the Binacake and cheese combination. The way the Binacake and cheese melted in my mouth was heavenly. It tasted soooooo good.
So, like some of the guests that evening, in the feedback form handed out to us, I marked Binacake + cheese as the number one combination. Of course, because we have different tastes when it comes to food, your choice can be different as mine. Some of the guests loved the Binacake and blueberries combination (my second choice!), while others chose the classic Binacake and Latik pairing. Despite the differences in opinions, one thing was proven true that night – the Binacake is certainly a versatile and one-of-a-kind delicacy. One that we can call truly Kagay-anon.
Aside from the toppings, we were also served a variety of drinks best suited for Binacake. Some chose red wine, while others paired their cake with white wine. I chose sparkling wine because my stomach cannot tolerate alcohol. I enjoyed my treat a lot, especially after learning that Binacake is safe to take with alcoholic beverages (and sparkling wine!) because it does not contain yeast and barley, which means it is safe for the stomach.
Best for Pasalubong and Merienda
Binacake, or Binacake sa Latik, is perfect for pasalubong or for merienda (with coffee or tsokolate). It is available in two varieties: by layer and per slice. Each order comes with a generous amount of special Latik.
Binacake sa Latik is available at Rhythm Cafe, which is located on the ground floor of Cagayan Riverview Inn. For inquiries and bulk orders, call 08822-729039, 088-8584245 to 47, or 0935-619 4200. You may also send an email to email@example.com.
If you want a delicious treat you can enjoy anytime and any way you want to, the versatile Binacake should be the only choice for you!