Bilbao rice cake, a typical Basque dessert


Who doesn’t know rice cakes? That typical Bilbao dessert, a star in all shop windows and cafes which, although its name states, does not contain rice. So is. And because? There are two cases. It is believed that it came to be called that because sailors brought it from the Philippines and there they made it with rice flour which, not being used much here and there in those days, was replaced by wheat flour, which is the usage. now. It is also believed that its name is due to the fact that, in the past, it was made with rice milk instead of today’s filling.


Its origin is of little importance, the truth is that Bilbao rice cakes are a delicious snack that you cannot miss if you visit the city or of course make them at home following our recipe. So you can enjoy them whenever you want, without having to travel. We’ll tell you one thing: they’re perfect for when people come over and you want to make them something homemade. You’ll see how you do! And speaking from personal experience…

When making rice cakes, we can make a puff pastry base or, as is often the case, prepare them with pasta wafers. Exact. Although these doughs are associated with savory preparations, they are also suitable for this dessert. In the patisseries of Bilbao it is more common to find them with a puff pastry base, but the second version is very practical to make at home since it requires fewer steps. However you want to make them, here we tell you both versions. You decide which one you like best!

prescription information

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes


    • cooking time: 30 minutes


    • total time: 1 hour


    • portions: 12 units


    • Category: desserts


    • type of cuisine: Basque


    • Calories per serving (kcal): 373


Rice cake ingredients for 12 units

    • 2 sheets of puff pastry, crust dough or 12 pasta wafers


    • Butter for the mold (optional)


    • Flour for the form (optional)


    • 75 g butter at room temperature


    • 150 g of white sugar


    • 3 M size free range eggs


    • 100 grams of wheat flour


    • 200 ml whole milk


    • 200 ml liquid whipped cream (30% fat)


Necessary utensils

    • disk for muffins with a capacity of 100 ml for each hole


    • 1 12cm diameter pasta cutter or any utensil of this diameter that can be used for marking


    • Chickpeas or weight to bake the puff pastry


    • Baking paper (you can reuse the one that came with the puff pastry)


Rice Cake IngredientsDamian Serrano


How to make rice cakes

First, turn on the oven and preheat it to 200 ºC. Then, take 2 sheets of puff pastry, spread them out and cut 12 circles of dough approximately 12 cm in diameter. For this task, we can help ourselves with a pasta cutter, a plating ring, a bowl or any other utensil with the appropriate diameter. We can also use 12 pasta wafers directly. Brush with butter and flour each hole in the form to muffins. If the mold is non-stick, this is not necessary. Finally, line each hole of the mold with a circle of puff pastry, making sure it sticks well.

Line the moldDamian Serrano


If we use puff pastry, we will cook it on its own first, since it is usually somewhat thicker than wafers. To prevent it from puffing up during baking, line each hole with a circle of baking paper inside and fill it with a little weight to hold the dough in place. This weight can be some legumes (like the chickpeas that as you see in the photo have already gone through a thousand and one roasting) or if not, they also sell steel or ceramic balls specifically for this purpose.

Fill each cake with weightDamian Serrano


Put the puff pastry in the oven on the bottom and let it bake for about 10 or 15 minutes, until you see the edges start to brown. Allow to cool before removing the chickpeas. If by chance we see that the dough inside is too wet, if we want, we can blow it in the oven for about 5 more minutes, this time without paper and without weight.

bake the puff pastryDamian Serrano


Now we prepare the filling. To do this, first start by beating in a bowl 75 g of butter that we will have at room temperature to soften. When it acquires a creamier texture, add 150 g of sugar and beat both ingredients until white.

Mix the butter with the sugarDamian Serrano


Then, we incorporate 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well and making sure the mixture is homogenized before adding the next one.

Add the eggs to the mixtureDamian Serrano


Once this is done, add 100 grams of wheat flour and mix well. It is not necessary to sift it because as you will see in the next step it will dissolve well.

Add the flourDamian Serrano


Finish the filling with 200 ml of milk and 200 ml of cream. However, before we put them in the bowl, we will heat them up a little because it will make it much easier for them to dissolve with the flour. They should be lukewarm, no need to boil. We can do it as we want, in a pot on the fire or in the microwave. As you’ll see, the batter is very runny, but don’t worry, it will thicken up nicely during baking.

Add the cream and milkDamian Serrano


Fill the puffs or wafers we had in our form with the filling. We divide it on the same level as the dough, fearlessly. It’s a non-blowing cream, so it won’t overflow.

fill the cakesDamian Serrano


We take out the form in the oven at 180ºC at medium height, and let the rice cakes bake for 20 minutes, until we see the surface turn slightly brown. It will look like they are still a little wet when you take them out, but don’t worry, they will finish setting right away, out of the oven.

bake the cakesDamian Serrano


As soon as we can handle the rice cakes without burning, we will take them out of the mold and leave them on a wire rack so that the dough does not get wet and softens.

Rest on a shelfDamian Serrano


And that’s all. We already have the Bilbao rice cakes ready. They can be eaten both hot and cold.

Enjoy cold or hotDamian Serrano


Easy preparation overview

    1. Line each cavity of the previously buttered tin and flour with 12cm puff pastry circles or empanadilla wafers


    1. If you are using puff pastry, protect each piece of dough with baking paper and place a small weight on top


    1. Bake at 200 ºC for 10 to 15 minutes


    1. Prepare the filling by mixing the butter with the sugar


    1. Add the eggs one at a time and incorporate


    1. Add the flour


    1. Finally add the warm milk and cream


    1. Fill the puff pastry with the prepared mixture


    1. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 ºC


    1. Let cool and transfer the cakes to a wire rack until cool.


    1. They can be eaten hot or cold


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