Adapted from Nutrition to Kitchen and Ang Sarap
Makes a 8-inch square pan (12 to 16 bars)
XIAOLU'S NOTES: Don't forget to let the frozen grated cassava thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before making this recipe! Macapuno is usually sold as coconut strips in syrup inside of a glass jar. You can find macapuno at most Asian grocery stores. After taking the 2nd egg white for the batter, RESERVE the yolk for use in the topping.
Nonstick cooking spray, vegetable oil, or parchment paper
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp (1 oz.) water
16 oz. (1 lb.) frozen grated cassava, thawed in fridge for 1 day (DO NOT DRAIN)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped macapuno (sweetened coconut strings)
1/4 cup (1 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (6 oz.) sweetened condensed milk [low-fat or fat-free is fine]
3/4 cup (6 oz.) coconut milk [use full-fat]
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg PLUS 1 large white, room temperature and lightly beaten
1/2 tsp unsulphured molasses
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch, sifted
6 Tbsp coconut milk
3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk, room temperature and beaten
1/4 cup coarsely chopped macapuno (sweetened coconut strings) PLUS more to serve
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat/line a 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, a thin layer of oil, or parchment paper.
Dissolve cornstarch in water, then add all remaining cake base ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until evenly combined. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.
Begin preparing the topping as soon as the bars go into the oven. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, then add the rest of the topping ingredients EXCEPT macapuno and mix until evenly combined. Transfer this mixture into a small saucepan, and cook on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat right away, stir macapuno into the thickened topping mixture, and set aside.
Remove cassava bars from the oven after 35 minutes of baking, immediately pour the topping mixture over top of the bars, and spread topping evenly with a spoon or spatula. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, then return pan to the oven for 15 to 20 more minutes, or until top turns golden brown. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into bars with a serrated knife. Serve with more macapuno as an optional topping.