This butter puto cheese is soft, fluffy, and milky. The brown butter gives a nice nutty buttery flavor while the cheddar makes it rich and cheesy. Once you bite into these Filipino steamed cakes you’ll surely be asking for more!
Soft and Fluffy Puto Cheese
Finally! A puto cheese recipe for keeps. I’ve made a lot of variations of this Filipino-style steamed cake over the years and I’ve never loved any of it until this one! This one’s just so good if I say so myself. Some of my friends even said it’s even better than Goldilocks butter puto (ehem!).
Puto Cheese Ingredients
This Puto Cheese recipe has a perfect balance of sweetness and savoriness and it smells so good too! But what’s exactly in it?
- All-purpose flour is generally used but cake flour can also be a good substitute. To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder is the main and only leavening agent for puto i.e. it’s what will make the steamed cake rise and fluffy.
- Evaporated Milk and Water – regular milk can also be used. If using low fat, use the one with 2% fat no less.
- Sugar and salt because any cake is not complete without these two!
- Eggs for moisture and stability. You don’t want a crumbly puto.
- Cheddar Cheese (mild or sharp) is the only cheese I can recommend for this recipe. Its flavor balances the sweetness of the cake. Sugar and cheese? Oh yes! Filipinos love pairing those two! Check out my two Ensaymada recipes.
- Brown butter – more on this later 🙂
Why brown butter?
Browning the butter makes it tastier, nutty, and deliciously fragrant. It is a technique usually used for baked goods but I figured it would be awesome for steamed cakes too! And I was right!
How to make it
Browning butter is super easy—add butter to a small pan. Turn on the heat and set it to medium heat. Once it melts, adjust the heat to low. It will be foamy at the beginning but when the water starts to evaporate, it will slowly change to light brown color and the buttery flavor will start to intensify; even your entire house will smell like butter for a good few minutes. I swear!
Cooking Tips for making PUTO CHEESE
- Use medium-high heat. Cooking in continuous high-heat causes the puto to crack at the top. Some may like it that way but I don’t. To prevent this from happening, a gentle boil or simmer should be applied when steaming.
- Strain the batter to remove lumps. This will yield a softer textured steamed cake.
- Use slice cheese instead of grated cheese and place it in between the batter. It’s an unexpected surprise to bite into the steamed cakes. Of course, if you prefer grated, feel free to do so and mix it with the batter before filling the cups.
- To prevent water from dripping into the batter, place a damp cloth between the racks and lid.
- A sudden change in temperature may cause the steamed cake to shrink and collapse. To prevent this from happening, open the top lid barely for 10 seconds before completely removing it
Storage and Shelf-life
Refrigerate in an airtight sealed container. When properly stored, it can last 3 to 5 days.
Frequently asked questions
The term puto means “steamed cake” in Filipino. Traditional puto is made with fermented rice called galapong. Other variations are made with easily accessible ingredients like rice flour, wheat flour, and glutinous rice flour.
To test the freshness of baking powder, place a tablespoon of the powder in a small bowl. Pour a few tablespoons of hot water. If the mixture bubbles and fizzles then the baking powder is still active and good to be used for baking. If there’s no reaction then it’s time to discard and buy a replacement.
Try these other puto recipes
More Filipino dessert recipes for you to try!
- Ensaymada Cupcakes
- Cassava Cake
- Sweet and Creamy Fruit Salad (Filipino Style)
- Buko Pandan (Coconut Pandan Salad)
- Ginataang Bilo-Bilo with Sweet Potato Rice Balls
- Turon with Dulce De Leche
- Sweet Potato Palitaw
- Oven-Baked Bibingka with Peanuts and Coconut Strips
Watch how to Make Puto Cheese with Butter
Puto Cheese with Butter
- In a small pot, melt butter slowly over low heat until it turns brown. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof large bowl. Residual heat may burn the butter. Let it cool completely.
- Add sugar, eggs milk, water, and vanilla to the brown butter. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Sift flour and baking powder together using a strainer. Gradually add to liquid ingredients. Whisk just until well combined. Strain to remove lumps. Set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer.
- Grease the muffin cups with oil or butter then place them on the steamer rack. Fill the muffin with the puto batter. Add strips of cheese and let it sink at the bottom. Place the racks onto the steamer. Cover with a steamer lid wrapped in a damp cloth.
- Steam for 12 to 15 mins in med-high heat. Check the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean. (see notes 3, 4, and 5 for tips). Remove from heat then quickly top with slices of cheese. The residual heat will slightly melt the cheese.
- Let it cool before removing it from the muffin cups. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Sugar – use 3/4 cup sugar for a less sweet version.
- Baking Powder: Make sure baking powder is active and not expired.
- Steaming in continuous high heat causes the puto to wrinkle and crack at the top. To prevent this from happening, use medium-high heat.
- To prevent water from dripping into the batter, place a damp cloth in between the racks and lid.
- A sudden temperature change may cause the steamed cake to shrink and collapse. To prevent this from happening, open the top lid for 10 seconds before completely removing it.
- Cheese: You can also use processed cheddar cheese. Don’t use easy-melt or quick-melt cheese as it will “obviously” melt easily and won’t look good as a topping.
- Storage and Shelf life: Refrigerate in an airtight sealed container. When properly stored, it can last 3 to 5 days.