Literally translated, the name means “liver cake”. Don’t worry this cake contains no liver; it’s only called that because, depending on how you make it, the appearance should somewhat resemble a piece of liver. Don’t let the looks and name scare you into missing out on some really yummy eats! This cake is served cold, and has a texture much like western flan. The flavor is rich and creamy due to the coconut milk, with a hint of star anise, coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar.

-12 eggs (approximately 600g)
-1 tsp tapioca starch
-2 1/4 tsp baking powder (not double acting)
-pinch of baking soda
-1 tsp instant coffee or coffee flavor (extract)
-1 tsp baking chocolate
-1 can (400ml) coconut milk
-8 star anises
-375g Chinese brown sugar (aka bar sugar) or dark brown sugar

What to Do:
Boil together sugar, coconut milk, and star anises until sugar dissolves, cool completely before removing star anises. Lightly beat eggs with baking powder, baking soda, tapioca starch, chocolate and coffee. Add syrup mixture and mix evenly. Grease a 9 inch cake pan and preheat (pan only, no batter) at 350’F for 5 mins, before pouring in batter. Bake at 350’F for 30-35 mins. Cool and serve cold.

The above recipe renders a cake with “short” tunnels and a texture similar to Flan. If a higher tunnel affect is desired, simply double the amount of baking powder (to 4 ½ tsp) and increase the amount of tapioca starch to 4 heaped tbs or up to 8 heaped tbs (depends on how chewy you like the texture to be).

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Comments (6)

On 10:57 AM , Anonymous said...

At first glance on the recipe title, I thought there was real liver in the cake *lol*

On 9:37 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt. I saw this cake at the store but not sure if its the same becuase it have some syrup in with it and it look like flan. Do you make the syrup to go with it?

On 12:42 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

maybe what you saw was flan? This cake does not have syrup but it's very moist so if you cut it and let it sit for a while it will "leak" its own "syrup" (not a lot).

On 5:38 PM , Anonymous said...

"Banh Gan" means "Cast iron Cake" which the mold is made from. The purpose of using cast iron mold to generate high heat to create the bamboo root look or crack like (re tre) thru out the entire cake (I have no idea why it needs that look but it was known as successful of the creation of "Banh Gan" (Cast Iron Cake). Hope this sounds better!!! Thanks for the recipe
P/S: "Gan" also means "liver" but it does not applied here at all.

On 11:33 PM , hoangtam/tt said...


cast iron is spelled gang (extra g at the end).

gan = liver, brave, or center of one's palm or foot.

On 7:20 PM , Anonymous said...

Always known it as liver cake too. Not cast iron. Supposedly name due to its appearance I was told by the older Vietnamese folks.