Today’s recipe is from Panama (Yay!). Is been a long time since my last Panamanian recipe, but this one is so good that all my fellow countrymen (and women) will forgive my slip.

Why unphotographable? Because despite the fact that this dish is delicious, it isn’t that easy to photograph… So, as my dear Frank would say…

 Your looks are laughable


 Yet you’re my favorite work of art

To sum up: Dish good, photographs not so much, but…

 Don’t change a hair for me

 Not if you care for me…

Cassava Cake


  • 1 kg of Cassava
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 750 g of ground beef and pork (500-250)
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped green and red peppers
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • 2 coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste


Boil the cassava with salt and coriander leaves until soft. Drain and mash, then you’ll have to work a bit with a wooden spoon or knead with your hands until it is smooth and elastic.

In a pan, sauté the ground meat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add a cup of water and let it simmer. When the meat is cooked enough add the onion, oregano, tomato paste, peppers and tomatoes. If the ensemble is too dry, add two tablespoons of water and let it cook until it is juicy, but with no sauce.

To assemble the cake we can use a round cake pan, square Pyrex or a tall rectangular one (like the one I used). Put half the cassava at the bottom, add the meat and cover with the remaining half of cassava.  Bake at 190 °C (350 ºF) for 25 or 30 minutes.

You can have it hot or cold (is easier to unmold when cold, but I like it hot).

This recipe is very similar to the carimañolas I published some time ago, here’s the link. It is another delicious way to relish manioc with a Panamanian touch (my favorite in fact). One more thing, Manioc or cassava is gluten free.


32 Replies to “Unphotographable”

  1. Excellent! One of the first restaurants I blogged was Tia Maria, a Brazilian restaurant that specialises in tapioca (made with cassava) – it’s quite unique, you don’t get much of it in London.
    You cake looks great BTW 😉

  2. What do you mean it isn’t photographable? This looks delicious, Giovanna.
    Thanks for today’s lesson on Panamanian cuisine. I’m not at all familiar with cassava but now know enough to at least try it the next time I see it on a menu.

    1. Hi John!
      I mean that after a lot of shots only one or two were good enough for a post…but maybe it wasn’t the cake, but me. I didn’t want to go out to take the picture because it was sooo hot outside…
      See? Between these two recipes and Mad Dog post on Tia Maria restaurant, now you are an expert 😉
      Thanks a lot for your comment!

    1. Tienes razón Natalia, ¡hasta las fotos se parecen!! Supongo que en el fondo toda nuestra cocina es muy parecida… El otro día compré unos plátanos verdes para hacer mofongo, pero no compré el chicharrón molido, bueno de hecho no creo que lo encuentre molido acá… aquí se llaman cortezas de cerdo a los chicharrones ¿es lo mismo, no?.
      Bueno, el caso es que ya se están poniendo amarillos, quizás prepare finalmente tu pastelón de amarillos, aunque creo que a mis hijos les pasará lo mismo que a Leandro 😉
      ¡Gracias por el comentario!

      1. Creo que sí, que los chicharrones son lo mismo que cortezas…Mucha gente hace el mofongo vegetariano con muy buenos resultados, pero lo como tan poco que prefiero comerlo con todos los poderes…o sea, con carne de cerdo! También hago pastelón de yuca..Un abrazo…

  3. i have heard of cassava cake, i guess it is not much like cassava crackers.. much tastier, and I love the quotes in this post.. morning giovanna! c

    1. Hi C!
      I haven’t heard of cassava crackers, but I bet they are as good as potato chips or even better.
      The quotes are from My funny valentine, a song written by Lorenz Hart in 1937, with music by Richard Rodgers. I love this song, especially the version by Frank Sinatra. When I start taken pictures of this recipe, the word that came to my mind was unphotographable… weird eh?
      Thanks a lot for your comment. Good morning to you too 😉

    1. Hi Barbara!
      Thanks, after some editing they were fine 😉 That’s a tough question…because I know I love cassava but can’t describe the flavor. I will ask Mad Dog to do it for me because he knows it (I think) and is much more eloquent than I 😉

      1. Now you’ve put me on the spot. The cassava “pancakes” I have at the Tapioca House don’t have a strong flavour (they are quite thin) and a filling like goats cheese and onion is stronger in comparison. What does stick in my mind is the stretchy springy texture, which remind me, a bit, of coconut cakes (texture only, not taste).
        Tapioca pudding was very popular when I was a child – it was made with milk and cassava starch. It was normal to flavour the pudding with a spoonful of jam. It’s not very fashionable now, but my parents and grandparents loved it.

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