Sans rival

When French cuisine finds its way to the Philippines, we get sans rival. In the province of Pampanga, just north of Manila, the locals latched onto a mille-feuille of meringue and buttercream and made it their own. The name (French) means “without rival,” and this echoes the sentiments of the people of Pampanga who love it so much.

In France, the dish is traditionally made with almonds, but in the Philippines, a lack of access to almonds leads to it being made with cashews.

In my recipe, I have put the almonds back, and made a re-Europeanised sans rival.

Sans rival

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By Ann Marie Eastmond Serves: 1 cake
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • For the meringue:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 8 tsp cornflour
  • 1 cup flaked almonds
  • For the buttercream:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups butter (450g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 cup crushed flaked almonds


For the meringue:


Heat an oven to 160˚C.


Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer until frothy. Add the vinegar and beat to soft peaks Gradually add the sugar, and beat to medium peaks. Fold in the nuts,


Spread the mixture onto baking trays lined with banking paper to 5mm depth and smooth with an oiled silicone spatula. Bake for 40–60 minutes or until lightly brown.

For the buttercream:


In a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fully. Gradually add the butter while beating. Finally, add the vanilla and mix.

To assemble the cake:


On a plate, Alternate meringue with buttercream over and over until all the meringue is used (keep some buttercream back). Frost the top and sides with the remaining buttercream and garnish the sides with more nuts.

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