Vietnamese Bánh Bò

By Mytam Vo, Art Editor

Around the holidays, Vietnamese people love to give gifts through food, such as savory and sweet cakes. Bánh Bò, or “Cow-Cake” is a honeycomb-like sponge cake that is gelatinous and springy to the touch.

There are many variations: Bánh Bò Hap is a steamed variation made with more rice flour, less tapioca starch and yeast; Bánh bò nuong is an oven-baked variation with a crispy outside with mostly tapioca starch, a little rice flour and pandan.

Bánh bò nuong, which is what my mom loves to bake, is often made with pandan, a savory-sweet leaf native to Southeast Asian cuisine, to give it a slight flavor and signature neon-green color. Every time we make bánh bò, we give most of it away to friends and family.



12 eggs

400 g tapioca starch

2 tablespoons rice flour

2 small tubes of vanilla

14 oz coconut milk

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

A couple drops of pandan, depending on how green you want your cake to be



  1. Put coconut milk, sugar and salt into a small pot and melt the sugar into the coconut milk. It should be slightly transparent when finished. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Put eggs through a strainer to make eggs smooth. Don’t beat them too much because you don’t want your eggs to be foamy.
  3. Once strained, add the coconut milk mixture, now cooled into your eggs. Make sure that your coconut milk mixture is cooled, as it could cook the eggs otherwise.
  4. Add tapioca starch, rice flour and vanilla into the egg mixture. Stir with a spatula until smooth. Bubbles in this step are okay.
  5. Add your green pandan coloring accordingly.
  6. Prepare your pan with butter or oil and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  I prefer a bundt cake pan as it makes the cake rise more evenly and looks beautiful.
  7. Bake for an hour, or until golden brown. If you like the edges extra crispy and crunchy as I do, bake it for a little more than an hour.
  8. Once finished, poke a toothpick or a skewer through the middle to make sure your bánh bò is thoroughly cooked. If nothing sticks to it, it is ready. Let cool slightly before eating.


*For best consumption, eat warm. Try to not cover the cakes as the moisture when hot will make the edges less crispy.