Black Kutsinta Recipe

These firm, chewy, and dark-colored kutsinta get their subtly sweet flavor and color from molasses. 

What Is Black Kutsinta? 

Before we delve into what a black kutsinta is, we need to first know what kutsinta is. Kutsinta is traditionally a steamed cassava cake made with cassava flour, lye water (lihia), brown sugar, and annatto seed extract (atsuete). The resulting cake is a translucent cake that is typically served with niyog or freshly grated coconut. 

Black kutsinta is basically the same kutsinta with a big ingredient difference: the deep dark black color is thanks to molasses. Molasses is a thick syrup that's about as viscous as pure honey. It's a product extracted during sugar production. It has a dark and sweet taste that can border on almost bitterness, depending on how dark the molasses is, and is considered an acidic ingredient for the purposes of baking. It can also taste a little smoky but a touch of this syrup gives brown sugar its distinct almost caramel taste. It's also what gives cookies, brownies, and other baked goods their chewy texture. 


How To Serve Black Kutsinta

The black kutsinta became popular because of Baguio's Tita Lea's Food Specialties which offered  Caramel Black Kutsinta which was served with toasted coconut instead of fresh and a caramel sauce. You can serve these little chewy bites with fresh coconut, too, or mimic the trend of fancier kutsinta served with the toasted coconut, caramel sauce, yema sauce, or even the ube version that was paired with pandan sauce

How To Make Black Kutsinta 

black kutsinta batter in molds ready for steaming
The batter is poured into small aluminum molds for steaming.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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Kutsinta normally starts with cassava flour but to make this recipe easier to make for those at home, this is made with glutinous rice flour (malagkit rice flour) and all-purpose flour. If you can get your hands on cassava flour, you can substitute the two kinds of flour for it. 

A batter is made using sugar, salt, baking soda (to act with the acidic molasses for a little lift), water, and the molasses. The molasses you will see will instantly turn the batter a dark brown color. This is just the beginning of its magical transformation into black after cooking. 

These are poured into lightly greased, small aluminum puto molds and steamed. Serve these immediately after making them to preserve their delicate texture. 

Tips To Make Black Kutsinta 

black kutsinta filipino kakanin on a plate
These are black kutsinta, chewy steamed cakes.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

While you can substitute the flour, you can also substitute the sugar in this recipe. Instead of white sugar, you can use brown sugar to further accentuate the molasses flavor of the steamed cakes. You can also make these bigger or even smaller depending on the puto molds you have on hand. Adjust your steaming time as necessary to compensate for the change in mold size. 

Plus, if you love the flavor of molasses, feel free to increase the amount to as much as 1/4 cup to deepen the color and flavor of your kakanin.

How To Store Black Kutsinta 

Since these are made with rice flour, these can easily dry out. The best way to store these is to wrap these in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Let these come back to room temperature or re-steam them when you're ready to eat these for merienda later. 

Black Kutsinta Recipe 

Prep Time
20 mins 
Cooking Time
20 mins 
Ready In
40 mins 
Cooking Method

Black Kutsinta Ingredients

How to make Black Kutsinta


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