Recipe Roadtest: Sans Rival

When my brother requested Sans Rival for his birthday this year, we thought he was joking. While Sans Rival is a Filipino dessert, its name means ‘without rival’ in French and I can tell you that there are not many desserts that can rival the richness of this cake. Layers of meringue and buttercream are slathered with even more buttercream and chopped cashews to make an incredibly indulgent dessert. Having eaten Sans Rival frequently in the Philippines, my sister and I were unsure of whether we could faithfully recreate it in all its glory, however we did find this relatively simple recipe and decided to give it a go.

Sans Rival

Sans Rival

What you’ll need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vinegar
  • ¾ cup toasted cashews, chopped
French Buttercream
  • 160g butter, softened
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 cup toasted cashews, chopped

What to do:

  1. In a mixing bowl add egg whites and beat until foamy. Add vinegar and gradually add sugar, continue beating until it forms stiff peaks. 20140928_131221
  2. Fold in the cashew nuts.
  3. Trace 3 circles of 15cm diameter (6 inches) each on baking paper and place in baking trays. Divide meringue equally into each traced circle and bake in a 160C preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until top is light golden brown. 20140928_133727 20140928_144030
  4. Turn the heat off and leave the meringue in the oven to dry it out – if you want a chewy texture, leave it in the oven for 30 minutes; if you want it crunchy leave it in the oven for 2 hours.
French Buttercream
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter using a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl beat egg yolks until light in colour.
  3. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil on a stove top. Continue to boil until it becomes thick like a syrup. (Test it by dropping a small amount of the sugar mixture in cold water – it should form into a soft solid drop.)
  4. Beat the egg yolks at high speed while pouring in a very thin thread of the sugar mixture.
  5. Add the egg and sugar mixture to the butter while beating at high speed. If your buttercream is a bit runny at this stage, refrigerate until it hardens but is still easily spread. 20140928_143423
  1. Place one meringue disc on a plate and spread a layer of butter cream on top. Sprinkle ¼ cup of chopped cashews on top. 20140928_161340
  2. Repeat and finish with the third meringue disc on top.
  3. Cover the layers with the remaining buttercream and smooth sides of the cake with a spatula. Sprinkle over the remaining cashews.
  4. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Enjoy! 20140929_215303


  • We halved the original recipe, however there ended up only being just enough buttercream to fill the layers of the Sans Rival, so we had to make up another batch of buttercream to cover the cake.
  • The sugar syrup hardens after you take it off the heat, so make sure you get it into the eggs as soon as possible. I had to re-do the sugar syrup as I was washing up the electric mixer beaters that I’d retrieved from the butter.
  • I would recommend using salted butter for the buttercream, rather than unsalted. While my parents said our attempt was reminiscent of authentic Sans Rivals in the Philippines, they did think it didn’t have that distinctive sweet-salty flavour.

2 thoughts on “Recipe Roadtest: Sans Rival

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