For the uninitiated: Edam cheese or queso de bola (yes “cheese ball”) is semi-hard, mild-tasting but salty cheese that is constantly present at Filipino Christmas Eve feasts. Because it’s so abundant during the holidays, it will end up in many things on the table, starting from slices on a fruit and cheese plate to big crumbles on top of pinoy-style spaghetti, or even to little salty chunks in an otherwise overly sweet fruit and cream salad. And for those who are initiated: what in the world do you end up doing with all your queso de bola?
Anyway, here we present our suggestion. If you’re a fan of this cheese, then you’ll enjoy this cake, as the flavor not only comes through, but is accentuated by the sweetness of the evaporated and condensed milk. And if you’re not the biggest fan of queso de bola, we understand. We aren’t either. Grating the cheese and mixing in into the batter preserves the flavor but gets around the biggest issue we have with queso de bola, which is its somewhat waxy texture. The salted duck egg slices and sweetened coconut topping to add a little more complexity, not to mention it gives you a chance to enjoy familiar flavors in a slightly different way.
For the cake:
2 salted duck eggs, peeled and sliced
2 sticks / 225g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup / 280g granulated white sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 cup / 240ml evaporated milk
3 tbsp condensed milk
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup / 170g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup / 150g grated queso de bola
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt
For the coconut topping:
1/2 cup / 50g unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
Make the coconut topping. Combine coconut flakes and sugar. Mix well. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the cake. Preheat oven to 176°C/350°F. Grease 2 7×2 inch springform pans with a little oil. Line bases with parchment paper.
In one bowl, combine and whisk together flour, grated cheese, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
In another, combine evaporated milk and condensed milk. Mix well.
In another, combine sugar and orange zest. Mix well.
Cream the butter and orange sugar with your electric mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes or until it has become creamy and light-colored. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you do. Beat on high speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Beat for 1 minute after all eggs have been added. Add extracts.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir by hand to finish. Be careful not to overbeat.
Bake and assemble. Fill both pans halfway. Add salted egg slices. Fill with more batter. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Smooth with spatula if necessary. Bake at 176°C/350°F for 40-45 minutes (rotate halfway through if necessary) or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester or until the sides of the cake have started to pull away from the pan. Unmold and cool on the rack.
Have some cake. Serve slices with sweetened coconut topping. You won’t even have to wait for the holidays. This cake works wonderfully with a cup of coffee all year round.