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Sans Rival, a famous Filipino cake is a layered dessert that intersperses cashew meringue with French buttercream. This rich and decadent dessert, perfect for any occasion, comes together quickly and disappears just as fast. An impressive dessert requiring minimal effort, take a sweet journey to “the Pearl of the Oriental Seas.”
What is Sans Rival?
Sansrival literally means “without rival.” It is a cake with layers of cashew meringue, French buttercream topped with chopped cashew nuts.
In French, the name means “unrivaled” or “unequaled.”
One of the characteristics of this Sans Rival recipe is that it is made with layers of baked meringue. These layers are alternated with smooth French buttercream.
French buttercream differs from traditional buttercream, in that the French buttercream contains egg yolks.
This makes the filling of the Sans Rival softer and moist So, when you bite into this compact dessert, you get gooey buttery textures loaded with delicious cashew bites.
Sans Rival Origin
The history of San Rival is French, but this dessert is unequivocally Filipino. As the story goes, many Filipinos went to study in France in the 1920s and 1930s.
At that time, many acquired technical knowledge in the pastry area and they brought those techniques back home.
Sans Rival shares many similarities with Dacquoise dessert, from the town of Dax in Southwestern France.
The dacquoise is made with layers of hazelnut and meringue and buttercream.
In the Philippines due to the availability of local ingredients, cashew nuts are used in the Sans Rival recipe.
Interestingly, the Philippines is one of the largest producers of cashews in the world. And, the province of Palawan accounts for more than 90% of the country’s cashew trees.
This distinction has earned Palawan the title as the Cashew Capital of the Philippines.
Cashews have many health benefits including fiber, protein and healthy fats.
Their pleasant mild flavor and creamy texture add to this delicious and easy-to-make Sans Rival recipe.
Discovering Sans Rival in Pampanga, Philippines
The Pampanga region of the Philippines is known as the Culinary Capital in the country.
While in the Philippines exploring the local food specialties, we took a Gastronomic Heritage Tour with the Philippines Tourism Board.
After exploring the traditional Kapampangan dishes like sizzling sisig with chef Claude Tayag, we went to the town of Santa Rita.
Ocampo Lansang Delicacies in the town of Santa Rita is famous for Pampanga delicacies like Sans Rival and Turrones de Casoy.
Once we tasted Sans Rival for the first time, we fell in love with it. Rosemary in particular could not get enough of the delicious buttery cake with layers of meringue, French buttercream and cashews.
As one of our favorite authentic Filipino desserts, we are excited to share this simple Sans Rival recipe.
Made with just a few ingredients, the silky and creamy textures of this dessert is guaranteed to win you over.
Sansrival Recipe – How To Make Sansrival at Home
This Sans Rival recipe makes for a delicious Filipino dessert that is far from ordinary. While the cake may look fancy, it is actually quite easy to make.
All you need are these easy to find pantry staples.
- Cream of Tartar
- Cashew flour
- Whole roasted cashews
- Wheat flour, without rising
- Unsalted Butter
- Vanilla Extract
Useful Kitchen Tools For This Sans Rival Recipe
Sans Rival Recipe Tips
For the best flavors, use fresh and high quality cashews for this Sans Rival recipe. You can purchase raw cashews and toast them at home.
Alternatively, you can also purchase roasted cashews to save time. In this Sans Rival recipe, we buy roasted cashews and cashew flour to save time.
For the best cashew meringue, it is important to consider the temperature of the ingredients. The egg whites and egg yolks should be at room temperature before you start mixing them.
To make circle layers of the Sans Rival cake, draw circles on baking sheets. Use a bowl or round pan 5″ to 6″ in diameter to make the circles. Draw five circles of the same size for this recipe.
Bake the trays with the meringue 160 ° C / 320 ° F for about thirty minutes, until the meringue layers are lightly toasted and dry to the touch.
After baking, let the meringue layers rest for twenty minutes so they don’t fall apart when unmolding or removing them off the parchment paper..
To distribute the mixtures evenly, use a piping bag for both the cashew meringue and the French buttercream.
French buttercream has a similar consistency to pastry cream. Unlike American buttercream, which is made with butter and confectioner’s sugar, French buttercream is made with egg yolks and sugar.
This buttercream is not as sweet as the traditional American one and it makes a rich and smooth topping for this Sans Rival recipe.
Traditionally, French buttercream is made by boiling sugar and water until it is thick and syrup-like at 240˚F / 115˚C. This is known as the soft ball stage. You can test whether the sugar water has reached the soft ball stage using a thermometer. If not, simply drop a little boiling syrup into cold water and if it forms a soft ball, it is ready.
Once the sugar syrup reaches the right temperature, turn off heat and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin, continuous stream into the yolks with the mixer still running. Do this really carefully so as to not overcook the egg yolks.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you love baking and want to take your cakes to the next level, consider taking this online baking class. Learn with Joshua John Russell, an Atlanta cake artist, and star of the YouTube series “Man About Cake.” Get Joshua’s tips and tricks for velvety buttercream, ganache, sturdy tiered cakes, and much more. Find out more here.
Sans Rival Serving Suggestions
Although there is a great temptation to eat a freshly made dessert, with the Sans Rival cake, it is better to be patient.
Put the assembled cake into the refrigerator and let it chill for at least twelve hours before cutting it. You want the Sans Rival cake to be firm and compact.
How to Store Sans Rival?
It is doubtful that you will want to save part of this dessert and not devour it completely. However, if you want to store the Sans Rival cake, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge.
If you want to keep it longer, we recommend putting it in the freezer. Remember to take it out ahead of time and let it return to room temperature before serving. Please keep in mind the Sans Rival cake cannot be defrosted in the microwave.
How Long Does Sans Rival Last?
According to research, a cake with frosting can last up to a week in the fridge, if stored in an airtight container. This also applies to Sans Rival since the meringue is already cooked. However, it is likely that most will not be able to resist keeping Sans Rival in the fridge.
Where To Buy Sansrival Cake
Goldilocks, created in 1966 is a much loved Filipino bakery that makes delicious Filipino desserts including the Sans Rival cake.
Created by sisters, Milagros Leelin-Yee and Clarita Leelin-Go, the cake and pastry store is based in Manila, Philippines.
Goldilocks opened their first US location in the mid 1970s in California. Following its success, many more Goldilocks stores have opened throughout the state of California and Nevada.
If you live in these areas or are visiting, you can try Sansrival cake at the bakeshop.
Alternatively, you can have classic Filipino shortbread cookies known as Polvoron from Goldilocks delivered to your home from Amazon.
Sans Rival Recipe Step by Step Instructions
Make The Meringue
Mix the ingredients to make the meringue. Once ready, put the meringue mixture into a piping bag without the nozzle.
Spread the meringue in spiral circles on the outline drawn on the baking sheet. Repeat this procedure until you have 5 or 6 circles of meringue
Let the meringue layers bake until golden brown and are dry to the touch. Later, you will layer the meringue with French buttercream and cashews during the cake assembly step.
Make The French Buttercream
Prepare the French buttercream as the meringues are cooling down. In a mixing bowl, whip the unsalted butter until it turns smooth. Add the egg yolks to the mixture.
Pour the hot syrup which consists of water, sugar and vanilla extract to the butter. Mix well until the mixture has cooled.
And, then place the buttercream into a piping bag to make decorating the Sans Rival cake easier.
Assemble The Cake
Stack the meringues covered with French buttercream on top of each other. Add cashew nuts in between each of the meringue layers. Repeat the process until you have a compact cake.
With the remaining French buttercream, cover the sides and the top of the cake. Decorate the sides of the cake with chopped toasted cashews.
On the top of this Filipino cake, feel free to decorate with cashews and French buttercream expressing your creativity.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: For an easy to make, no-bake dessert, check out our Authentic Chocotorta Recipe from Argentina.
Sans Rival Recipe
For the Cashew Meringue:
For the French Buttercream:
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cake Decoration:
- 1 cup roasted cashews to fill and decorate
- Preheat the oven to 320 °F / 160 °C. Prepare two or three baking sheets, lined with wax paper. Depending on the size of each tray, draw five circles about five to six inches in diameter on the paper as a guide.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. When firm, add sugar and cream of tartar. Continue beating for about three more minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, and add the wheat flour and cashew flour little by little. Using a rubber spatula, mix well making enveloping movements. Make sure to remove all lumps.
- Put the meringue into a piping bag without a nozzle. Spiral meringue over the circles previously drawn on the parchment paper. Repeat this process until you have about five or six circles of meringue.
- Bake the trays of meringue in a preheated oven for about thirty minutes until the meringue layers are light golden brown in color, slightly toasted and dry to the touch. Allow the meringue to cool completely.
- While the meringue layers are cooling, start preparing the French buttercream. Add softened butter to a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, soften the butter for about five minutes until the butter turns smooth and slightly white.
- Gently fold in the beaten egg yolks, and continue beating for at least five more minutes.
- Now, put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place it on the stove over high heat, and let it cook to softball stage for about five minutes, until you get a thick syrup. Add the vanilla extract and turn off the stove.
- Slowly add the hot sugar syrup into the butter while beating. Keep beating until the softened butter, egg yolks and sugar syrup mixture has completely cooled. Then, place the buttercream inside a piping bag to make decorating the Sans Rival easier.
- To assemble the Sans Rival cake, put a layer of meringue on a serving tray. Then, using the pastry bag, cover the surface of the meringue with the French buttercream until it has a uniform texture. Add some ground cashew nuts as a filling, and put a layer of the meringue again. Repeat these steps until the cashew meringue layers are finished.
- Finally, level the Sans Rival cake and make sure that all the layers are aligned. With the remaining buttercream, decorate the Sans Rival cake to your liking. You can place toasted cashews on the sides and top the cake with more cashew chunks. After decorating your sweet treat, place the Sans Rival cake in the fridge and let it rest for at least twelve hours before serving.
- Before eating the Sans Rival cake, remove it from the fridge and let it come room temperature before serving.
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest