Get your sugar rush with this Filipino sans rival layered cake recipe

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  July 4, 2022

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If you haven’t made sans rival cake yet, you’re seriously missing out.

Sans rival is a Filipino dessert with a French influence. It got its name from a French word meaning “unrivaled”, and there’s also a smaller version of the dessert, the silvana.

The sans rival is a delicious layered cake with buttercream, meringue, and finely chopped cashews.

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Keep reading to find out how to make it! I’ll also share variations, the history behind this dessert, and other useful information.

Sans Rival Recipe

The best sans rival recipe

A lot of people like this dessert because of its smooth, rich, and nutty flavor.

The French version uses almond or hazelnut meringue. But the Filipino version uses chopped toasted cashews that grow locally in the country. It gives the cake a pleasant crunchy texture.

There are many ways to make different kinds of sans rival. But the best way to start is to make the simplest version, which is the original sans rival recipe.

You’ll need a mixer to make this dessert. It’s perfect for bakers who already have some baking knowledge beforehand.

You only need a few ingredients, but some special baking instruments are required, like spatulas and baking pans. It’s hard to substitute those, so please make sure to complete your list before making it.

It’ll take about 3 hours to prepare the sans rival recipe. You can feed more than 8 people with a regular-sized cake.

Sans Rival Recipe

Sans rival recipe (Filipino layered cake)

Joost Nusselder
Sans rival is made of layers of buttercream, chopped cashews, and meringue. Check out this awesome recipe and make your own now!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 8 people
Calories 771 kcal

Ingredients
  

Meringue

  • 8 egg whites
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashew nuts

French Buttercream:

  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • cup chopped cashew nuts

Instructions
 

  • Prepare parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • If making an 8″ round sans rival, draw 8″ circles on the cookie sheet as a guide for the meringue later.
  • Preheat the oven to 275F.
  • Beat together egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff but not dry.
  • Fold in the chopped cashew nuts.
  • Divide meringue into 4 8-inch circles.
  • Bake for 45 mins – 1 hour or until golden.
  • Transfer to wire racks. Cool for 5 minutes.

French buttercream:

  • Place sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan and mix thoroughly. Stir in milk.
  • Cook over medium heat and stir constantly until very thick.
  • Remove from heat and pour into egg yolk mixture slowly.
  • Add 1/2 cup butter at a time (cut into several pieces) and beat at medium-high speed until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and beat well.
  • Chill icing for a few minutes before decorating.
  • Use this to fill the meringue layers.
  • Decorate top and sides with more buttercream.
  • Cover with the cashew nuts.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal
Keyword Cake, Dessert
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Cooking tips

The biggest challenge is making the french buttercream and meringue. Many people have issues with making sans rival cake because of these creams.

The creams are made with beaten egg yolks and sugar. The key is to cook the flour and milk mixture until it’s very thick. Then, pour it into the egg yolk mixture slowly while whisking quickly.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Also, using softened butter is crucial. If the butter is too hard, your icing will be lumpy.

As for the meringue, use room temperature egg whites. This will help the egg whites reach their full volume potential when beating.

When working with meringue, you should gently fold in the cashew nuts. Don’t overmix or the meringue will deflate.

Whipped egg whites are delicate and you need to be careful to beat them until stiff peaks form. But don’t overdo it.

Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make the meringue and buttercream frosting.

Sans Rival Recipe you can make

Tips for assembling a sans rival cake

  • Place one layer of meringue on a serving dish. Over the meringue, apply a thin layer of buttercream and top with a few of the cashews that have been chopped. You can use ground cashew nuts or larger chunks of roasted cashews.
  • Top with the second meringue layer. The buttercream should be thinly applied before you sprinkle it with cashews. If you add too much of the meringue mixture, the cake will be dense.
  • Place the third layer of meringue on top of the cake and repeat the process, adding a thin layer of buttercream and topping with chopped cashews.
  • For the 4th and final layer, again, add a thin layer of buttercream. You want to be able to see the top meringue layer through the buttercream.
  • After you’ve added all 4 layers, it’s time to frost the cake. Apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake. This is called a crumb coat and it helps to keep the cake together while you frost it. After the crumb coat, apply a thicker layer of buttercream around the cake. Be sure to evenly cover the top and sides.
  • Use a bench scraper or a blunt knife to smooth out the buttercream. If you want a rustic look, you can leave the cake as is. If you want a neater appearance, use a piping bag to pipe buttercream around the edges. Finally, it’s time to decorate the cake. Cover the top and sides with chopped cashews. Some people also add a bit of pistachio to the assembled cake.

There you go: you have a decadent dessert and the tastiest Filipino cake!

How to make a Sans Rival layered cake

Substitutions & variations

Many of the newer versions of sans rival are becoming popular, with some even winning awards for their ingenuity. But it’s still a treat you can make from scratch and at home.

This recipe is sure to satisfy strong cravings. It’s for the heartiest eaters out there since it’s very rich.

But even with the butter and sugar overload, you’ll still get some nutrition when you use cashews in this sans rival recipe. Cashews have vitamins B6, E, and K, and minerals like selenium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Add in some mangoes, and you’ve got your vitamin C intake!

If you want to make sans rival that’s gluten-free, you can use toasted almond flour instead of wheat flour for the buttercream.

You can make this cake nut-free by using toasted coconut flakes instead of cashews in the meringue and buttercream.

If you don’t have time to make the different creams from scratch, you can use store-bought ones. Just be sure to get good quality buttercream frosting and meringue.

And if you want to lighten up the cake, use egg whites instead of whole eggs.

You can also use brown sugar instead of white sugar, or a mix of the two. Just know that using all brown sugar will make the sans rival cake a bit denser.

When it comes to buttercream, some people like to add in coffee or chocolate. These variations are delicious and will give the cake a nice flavor.

You can also use different kinds of nuts in the meringue and buttercream, which make it an extremely rich and decadent dessert. Pistachio sans rival is one of the most sought-after Filipino desserts, after the cashew meringue version!

Some people also use hot sugar syrup instead of buttercream to assemble the cake. This gives sans rival cake a shiny appearance.

What is sans rival?

Sans rival is a Filipino dessert with French influences. It’s a layered cake made of meringue, buttercream, and chopped cashews.

The name sans rival means “unrivaled” in French and it can be said that it’s so delicious, it’s hard to match!

This cake is inspired by a famous French buttercream cake called French dacquoise. Dacquoise is a cake made of layers of meringue and buttercream.

The difference between the French and Filipino versions is the nuts. The Filipino sans rival uses chopped toasted cashews while the French version uses almond or hazelnut meringue.

It’s not to be confused with silvana, which is a smaller version of the cake.

The main ingredients in sans rival cake are:

  • Meringue
  • Buttercream
  • Chopped cashews

The meringue is what gives the cake its fluffy texture, while the buttercream and cashews add richness and flavor.

These days, many Filipino bakers make different versions of the dessert. They put other ingredients in, like chewy mangoes on top. Some make ube versions in smaller sizes.

Origin

The origin of the dessert is between 1920-1930. It’s when many of our kababayans (fellow countrymen) went to Europe and learned cooking techniques from the region.

The origin of sans rival cake is unknown but it’s believed to have originated in the city of Dumaguete in the Philippines.

Dumaguete is known for its universities, colonial homes, and beautiful resorts. It’s also where the first Filipino sans rival cake was made.

The original recipe for the cake is said to be from a book called The Merienda Cookbook, which was published in the year 1917. The book contained recipes for different kinds of cakes and pastries, including the sans rival cake.

Since then, the dessert has become popular in the Philippines and other parts of the world!

France is well known for cakes and pastries. But sans rival got an upgrade and is now a creamy delight to eat.

How to serve and eat

Serve sans rival cake at room temperature or chilled.

When slicing the cake, use a cake platter stand so you can make clean cuts. Use a serrated knife to get the perfect slice.

Using a cooling rack isn’t advisable because the meringue might stick to it.

If you want to remove the cake from the pan, run a knife around the edge and then invert it onto a plate.

A popular way to eat sans rival cake is by dipping it in hot chocolate or coffee. This gives the cake a different flavor and makes it even more delicious.

Or you can just enjoy a slice of cake as a midday sweet treat with coffee or tea!

In the Philippines, sans rival is often served during celebrations and special occasions, like weddings and birthdays. It’s a showstopper of a cake because of its impressive height and beautiful layers.

Similar dishes

Sans rival cake is similar to other French buttercream cakes, like the Dacquoise cake.

The main difference is the nuts used in the meringue. The Filipino sans rival cake uses cashews, while the French uses almond or hazelnut meringue.

There’s another smaller version of the cake called silvana. It’s made of meringue, buttercream, and chopped cashews, but it’s much smaller in size.

The difference between the 2 cakes is the size and proportion of ingredients used.

Another popular creamy Filipino cake is the ube cake. It’s made with purple yam, which is a popular flavor in Filipino desserts.

The ube cake is usually denser and not as fluffy as the sans rival cake.

FAQs

What is sans rival cake made of?

Sans rival cake is made of cashew meringue, buttercream frosting, and chopped nuts.

How long can you store sans rival?

Sans rival cake is best eaten within 2-3 days, but it can last up to a week in the fridge. Since the cake is made with layers of cashew meringue and buttercream frosting, it tastes best when it’s fresh.

If you want to extend the shelf life of your sans rival cake, you can freeze it. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe container.

When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the cake overnight in the fridge.

What’s the difference between sans rival and ube cake?

The main difference between sans rival and ube cake is the flavor. Sans rival is usually vanilla or chocolate, while ube cake is made with purple yam.

What’s the difference between sans rival and silvana?

The difference between sans rival and silvana is the size and proportion of ingredients used. Sans rival is a taller cake with more layers, while silvana is a smaller cake.

Also, the silvana cake has a softer texture because it doesn’t use egg whites in the meringue and it has an oblong shape.

How many layers does sans rival have?

The sans rival cake has 4-5 layers of cashew meringue and buttercream frosting.

Make this tasty cake

If you love French buttercream, then you’ll love the sans rival cake. This Filipino dessert made with cashew meringue, buttercream frosting, and chopped lightly toasted cashew nuts will definitely delight your taste buds!

The cake is often served during celebrations and special occasions. You can store the sans rival cake in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for longer and keep enjoying it as a tasty snack.

Sans rival is the Filipino cake you didn’t know you needed in your life!

Also check out this delicious Filipino biscocho recipe

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.