Sans Rival

Sans Rival is a Filipino dessert cake made of cashew meringue layers and French buttercream. It’s chewy, crunchy, sweet and salty all in one marvelous bite. It’s worth making and sharing with your family and friends!

layered cashew cake with buttercream

As far as I can remember, this layer cake is usually reserved for special occasions like Christmas, Easter or a loved one’s birthday. With rich, creamy French buttercream in between layers of chewy meringue, blanketed with crunchy, toasted cashews. A bite will make you go Ooh La la! 

layered cashew cake in a plate

History of the Sans Rival

A well-liked Filipino dessert, like Cassava cake and Puto Flan, this cake has French origins (Sans rival meaning “without rival”). The recipe has its roots from France’s Dacquoise. Filipino students who studied in France in the 1920s and 1930s brought the recipe back and so Sans rival came to fruit.

layered cashew cake on a cake stand with french buttercream

Why is layered cashew cake delicious?

In spite of the multi-stepped preparation of the original Layer cake, I consider it an easy recipe. Once you master the meringue and buttercream, making it the second time will be a breeze!

The cake is packed with finely crushed cashew that is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Because of the creamy richness of the cake, a small portion is enough and the cake can easily feed a crowd.

And don’t get me started with the French buttercream that is just so creamy and gives the cake balance in texture.

Enjoy this rich and creamy dessert with your family and friends and be ready to share the recipe! No doubt they’ll be asking for it!

slice of layered cashew cake in a plate

Tips for best results!

Ensure that ingredients are at room temperature.

When making the sugar syrup use a thermometer. 240°F/115°C is the right temperature to remove the syrup from heat. Alternatively, when the sugar dissolves, you can dip a spoon and swipe a finger on it. If it’s not grainy and it’s sticky, you know it’s done.

Make the cake wafers a day ahead to free up some time in your hands. Place wafers in an airtight container.

To save time: When the meringue is ready, get a piping bag, scoop your meringue into it and pipe the meringue onto your baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) in the shape/size you want.

Use a kitchen scale for accurate measurements to give you the best possible outcome.

layered cashew cake with finely crushed cashew

The secret ingredient is always LOVE

You might also like:

Silvanas or Sylvanas with creamy French buttercream filled meringue. A bite of chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty goodness! It seems like an impossible baking feat, but it’s actually fun to make!

Basque Burnt Cheesecake just oozes with creaminess! Also called “Tarta de Queso”, this delicious “a bite isn’t enough” cake is just the right finishing touch after a hearty meal.

cashew cake layered with meringue and buttercream
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Sans Rival

Sans Rival is a Filipino dessert cake made of cashew meringue layers and French buttercream. It’s chewy, crunchy, sweet and salty all in one marvelous bite.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Chilling Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: sans rival, sans rival recipe
Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Mia


For meringue wafer

  • 8 large egg whites keep in room temperature
  • 1 cup cashew nuts crushed finely
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup cashew nuts roughly crushed for garnish

For French buttercream

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter


  • Pre-cut 5 parchment papers into a circle shape using the bottom part of springform pan as a guide with 8in diameter size. Pre-heat oven at 170°C, 15 minutes prior to making the meringue.

Making the meringue wafer

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a handheld electric mixer), whisk 8 egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.
  • Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peak.
  • Add the 1 cup sugar gradually while whisking until stiff peak and glossy. Remove bowl from the mixer.
  • Fold in the finely crushed cashew nuts in the meringue in three batches being careful not to deflate the meringue.
  • Add cornstarch and gently fold again in the meringue.
  • Transfer your meringue to a piping bag and pipe onto the prepared 5 circular parchment papers. Evenly distribute the meringue to the 5 parchment papers.
    sans rival piping
  • Place the meringue on baking sheets (use two if needed). Bake each meringue for 40 minutes or until the top turns a light golden brown. Baking time may differ depending on how many can fit in your oven.
  • Remove the meringue out of the oven and leave on the baking sheet until it's cool enough to handle. As soon as it's cool enough to touch, carefully peel off the parchment and trim the sides so they're even. Cool completely and cover with a clean kitchen towel before assembly.
    sans rival wafer

Making French buttercream

  • You can do this while waiting for the meringue to bake. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Do not stir! Let the mixture boil over medium heat and until the sugar melts and dissolve from the heat.
  • In a separate bowl. beat the egg yolks in a stand mixer on high speed until the mixture starts to thicken and become pale in color. Continue to beat while the sugar/ water mixture cooks in the pan.
  • Check the boiling water with sugar if the mixture is thick and syrup-like. Turn off heat and slowly pour the sugar syrup in a thin, continuous stream into the yolks with the mixer still running. Do this really carefully as to not overcook the egg yolks.
  • Continue beating the yolks until the mixing bowl is cool to the touch. Add the soften butter gradually while the mixer is still running and beat until a fluffy buttercream forms.
    fluffy french buttercream

Sans Rival assembly

  • On a cake board or cake stand. Place one of the meringue layer (smooth side down) and evenly spread buttercream.
  • Sprinkle with roughly crushed cashews (you should have enough cashews for all the layers plus the sides of your cake). Repeat the process for the rest of your layers. Make sure to put the smooth side up on the last layer so your cake looks nice and even on top.
    sans rival assembly
  • Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Garnish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining crushed cashews.
  • Chill for at least 1 ½ hours to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Serve and enjoy. Bon Appetit!



Meringue: When peeling off the parchment paper from the meringue and it still sticks. Place again in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. 
French Buttercream: When adding the butter to the egg yolks. Make sure that it’s totally cooled down or else the buttercream will be runny. If this happens, chill in the fridge for a few minutes and beat again to make it fluffy.

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  1. 5 stars
    Sanarival is one of my favorites! I thought it would be difficult to make, but thank you for this recipe, I successfully made one. The extra notes guided me through it. I followed the recipe to the t. This one has just the right sweetness. The meringue is not too crunchy or chewy, just how I like it. I appreciate your recipe, Mia. Thank you for generously sharing it.

    1. Author

      Hi Leles,
      Thank you too for trying the recipe and I’m very pleased that you liked it. Keep on baking. Cheers!

  2. 5 stars
    This is just absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I used to make this and the meringue was the challenge but your technique is much better and easier!
    I will try your ensaymada recipe next.

    1. Author

      Hi Lyn,
      Thank you for the great feedback. So happy that you liked it. Cheers!

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