Tasty Argao Torta


famous argao torta

Argao Torta & Sikwate

Argao Torta is a delicious delicacy famous in Cebu and some specific parts of the province. Torta is a rice, spongy and sweet pastry prepared in a unique way of cooking and special ingredients.

Torta is somewhat like a sponge cake in texture – spongy – but not fluffy and a bit moist yet almost like a muffin. You might be surprised to learn that one of the important ingredients in this recipe is the inclusion of a ‘tuba’, a traditional coconut wine. Don’t worry because you need to drink plenty of glasses (or a gallon) of this wine to get drank (hek!).

Before we describe more in details this mouth-watering delicacy, let us first visit, or mention one place in Cebu where this recipe is most popular. The area is called Argao, a municipality in South Cebu, which is about 68 kilometers from the capital city of Cebu.

If you have not heard yet, Argao is one of the known Cebu’s culinary destinations. It means that you will not go hungry in Argao as they have various dishes to satisfy your longing for delicious specialties...

For example, you can go straight to the town’s market and find a karenderia (a small restaurant) to try its local Adobo (chicken or pork or combined stew), Tinola (chicken soup with veggies), Linat-an (boiled pig’s bony parts), Humba (pork stew), Ngohiong (sort of lumpia), and other menus.

Now, if you happen to find this page because you are searching for a recipe of Torta, you won’t be disappointed as I am going to provide you that information from another source which I will quote for your further resource.

Okay, here it is…

torta-cebuTasty Torta of Cebu (photo: Cynthia Lancaster)

torta ingredients & preparations

In my source, you will get this Torta Mamon ingredients:

  • Ten egg yolks
  • 1 cup coconut juice (others use coconut wine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup or 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil (others use pork oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh milk
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk

Now, what will you do with those ingredients above? Again, let me borrow her methods of preparing Torta.

First, use wax paper and grease it with butter and set aside. Whisk the egg yolk until they become well-mixed.

Second, you need to preheat your oven up to 350 Fahrenheit. Boil the coconut juice mixed with sugar over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Then pour in the Star Anise after 4 minutes then set aside to cool off. Mixed well the sifted flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl then set aside.

Third, put into a mixing bowl the butter and make it smooth then add the egg yolks and mix well. Then add the oil, coconut syrup, and the condensed milk and continue mixing them well.

Last, add the mixed flour then whisk until they look just incorporated enough without overdoing it. The pour the batter into the molders or in any way you can do it.

Having preheated your over at 350F, bake your prepared product for about 20 minutes. Try if a clean toothpick comes out clean when sticking into one of them. After cooling them off for about 10 minutes, brush over them margarine or butter then sprinkle over with fine white sugar and set aside till cool enough and ready for consumption.

Yes, that is it!

Argao Traditional Torta

Now, if you want to know a little about how Tortas are being cooked in Argao Town area, let me show you some.

In this town, there is one popular homemade Argao Torta baker by the name Jessie Magallones. She has been preparing and running her small Torta business for many years. She runs her business at home, and still, she is using her traditional baking methods. This is precisely the reason why visitors and tourists alike prefer her style more than the commercialized quick way of baking tortas.

By ‘traditional’ we mean that she prepares, bakes and uses the older ingredients which were not available some time ago.

For example, she uses a Tuba Wine (or coconut wine) that can act a yeast of the flour. Yes, it takes longer to use it – around 4 hours to make your dough grow, whereas you only need a few minutes when you use baking powder. It is the taste that makes a difference! Tuba is not really strong if it not over a week old and you won’t get drunk when eating Torta as they comprise only a small amount when mixed into a dough.

Then, instead of using the commercial oil (such as Canola oil), they use lard (young pig’s fat or ‘mantika sa baboy’). The egg yolks should also be from native chickens (manok nga Bisaya) and not from the hybrids.

Last, they use the clay oven (Hurno Nga Yuta) when baking the Torta which again makes the taste different from other Tortas baked in metal ovens.

Tortas go well with another traditional drink that can also be readily found in Argao – the ‘Sikwate’ or hot chocolate drink made of dark cocoa.

By the way, you can find Jessie’s Homemade Torta place in Barangay Canbanua, Argao Municipality, Cebu.

Getting to Argao Municipality

It only takes about two hours from Cebu City to get to Argao Town. From Cebu’s South Bus Terminal, you can take a bus going to Argao. A V-Hire (Van) is also available and could be faster than a bus.

By the way, if you are coming from Mactan International Airport Terminal 2 (Terminal 1 is now only for domestic flights), you can call a taxi for Cebu South Bus Terminal that takes more or less an hour (assuming there is a heavy traffic).

If you want to stay longer and explore deeper Argao, you can rent for overnight (or longer) some apartelles or resorts. See more available places worth exploring through this page.

Thanks and I hope you will enjoy Argao’s famous Torta.
Have a wonderful day!

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