Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Steamed Cake (a.k.a. Bolu Kukus)



I finally did it, yaayyyy!!!!
Another traditional Indonesian snack. There's nothing special about this, the texture is soft and dense (just like any other steamed cake) but it also brings back memories.

But what made me so happy is that this is the first time I finally make it 'smile' :). In case you don't know (which I'm sure many of you don't), although this is a very simple cake, it's not easy to make them 'smile'. There even a thing called "The curse of bolu kukus" (bolu=cake ; kukus=steamed), seriously, no kidding. There have been so many people failed making this cake, including me :(, I made it at least four times in the past but never had any luck. Usually the batter just rised and just like any other cake, it formed a dome on top, instead of crack and divide itself into a couple of sections.



Unfortunately, there wasn't anybody at home when I opened the steamer top, to share this special happiness, hahaha...but there is a special joy inside of you that makes you want to jump up and down when you open the steamer with a mixed feeling between curiosity, fear, and find that all of them are opened. By the way, I didn't jump up and down though. I was about to, but then I wonder what if the neighbor saw me (there's a glass door behind the kitchen)? I just smiled when I saw those cute little things had happily rise and opened :). So yaay!!

Update:
Per request from some people, here's the recipe for this steamed cake:

Steamed Cake (Bolu Kukus)

250 g sugar
250 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs
200 g coconut milk (or substitute with regular milk)
10 g emulsifier
vanila powder/extract or other flavoring
food coloring (optional)
  • Prepare your steamer. Don't put too much water in it as the boiling water can splash into the batter. Boil the water on a high heat. Wrap the lid with large kitchen towel so that the water won't drop into the batter as well.
  • Mix all of the ingredients above into the mixer bowl, except the food coloring. Beat for about 10-15 minutes if using heavy duty mixer (such as Kitchen Aid), or approximately 20-30 minutes if using hand mixer. Beat until the batter is light and a little thick.
  • Divide the batter into the number of color you want to have. Color each batter with the desired coloring.
  • Take the individual steamed cake mold that has been lined with either parchment paper or muffin cup liner. Fill each mold with batter until almost full (more than 3/4 the height of the mold). Alternate the color to get a pretty color.
  • Put them inside the steamer (be very careful as the steam can REALLY burn your hand). It is recommended that you don't put the batter in double layer even though your steamer can accommodate that. The upper layer will have some condensation the water will drop to the bottom layer. If you have leftover batter, it can wait until the first batch is done.
  • Steam for approximately 10-15 minutes. DO NOT open the lid before 10 minutes!!
  • Be ready to see them smiling at you :)
Note:
  • Coconut milk contains fat, and therefore will make the cake moister compared to milk. You won't taste the coconut milk in the finished cake though.
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Javanese Mud Cake (a.k.a. Kue Lumpur)



This is not the common mud cake that we normally know. This is actually not a cake. It's not baked, but instead it's cooked on a stovetop using the mold specially made for this goodie. This snack is made out of mashed potato, eggs, milk/coconut milk, flour, and sugar. There is no need for mixer either. The batter is so quick to prepare, but the cooking takes the longest. Since it's cooked on a stovetop, it has to be on low heat so that the inside will be evenly cook too and the outside not overly brown.



I've never had this cake or snack when I was back in Indonesia, at least not that I remember. So, I don't know how the taste or texture should be like. I don't have anything to compare to. This cake is quite traditional in Indonesia and I've never been a huge fan of traditional Indonesian snacks (of course there are exception). I think this cake tastes good, but nothing too special about it. I was thinking of making the durian flavor, with lots of durian flesh added. yuummm....I'll make that the next time I make this cake.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Green Fondant Birthday Cake



A cake I made last weekend for one of our friend's birthday party. The birthday is actually on July 15th, but we want to make it as a surprise, hehehe... so we celebrate it 2 days early.

I wasn't planning to make anything at first but changed my mind on last minute (as usual) after a thoughtful consideration :). I was planning to make Charlotte au Poire (Pear Charlotte) since I just bought a bottle of pear eau de vie (pear clear brandy) and I also thought it's only appropriate to make this light and refreshing fruit dessert/cake in this beautiful (and hot) summer weather. But unfortunately, I didn't have the ingredients. Besides, although it sounds simple, but it's actually quite labor intensive. So I decided to make a cake that I'm familiar with so that I don't have to go back and forth reading the recipe.



So, made this 2 tier birthday cake, 8 and 6 in. Bottom tier is Indonesian classic sponge cake and the top tier is choc. sponge cake brushed with rum and kahlua, with 2 layers of rum pastry cream. The cake is then covered with chocolate buttercream. I decided to play with fondant again with a theme of green. I was tempted to put flowers on the cake for a couple of times, but I keep holding it back and remember that it's a cake for a guy! Didn't know what design I was going to make, so I decided to make a fun cake and play around with texture and shape and here's the result. It was still far from smooth of course. I had a veryyy limited time making it, and I have to sacrifice my sleep hour to make this cake :P (which resulted in flu I'm having right now).

Overall, I think it's pretty cute and not too girly too. I used to hate polkadots, whether it's for a dress/shirt or for a cake. But I give it another chance this time by combining with other pattern and I think I'm starting to accept it :)



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Friday, July 11, 2008

Princess Cake



This is a birthday cake I made for my brother three days ago. I made this cake once before in pink last year, but it was the first time making it. So, I just want to perfect it this time.

As you probably know, this is a Swedish princess cake, not the usual princess cake with Barbie and stuff. I think it was named Princess Cake because it was first served to a princess in Sweden. It has three layers of very soft sponge cakes, with three layers of filling. The bottom filling is raspberry jam, second is creamy pastry cream, and lastly, it is covered with whipped cream on the sides and to form the dome on top. Then, the green marzipan is laid on the whole cake. Basically, you get everything in one cake.

Usually, it is decorated with a flower on top, but all I have in the garden is some mini roses, so I just combined three of them and I think it looks nice too. I don't really like the green color though. I wanted it to be softer, but it can't since marzipan is made out of almonds and sugar, the natural color is light brown (not ivory). This is what I get after I mixed it with a little light green color. Maybe next time, I'll mix the marzipan with a little white fondant to get a lighter color.



Traditional Princess Cake doesn't have marzipan leafs as decoration though. I was going to put a ribbon around the bottom, but I don't have a matching color. All I have is blue, wide white ribbon, and very small assorted color ribbon. So I decided to cover the bottom with the leftover marzipan and shape it into leaves. I think it looks pretty neat too :).


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