Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Kek Sugi / Malay-style Semolina Cake

Kek Sugi (or Malay-style Semolina Cake) is one of Mom's favourite cakes. Despite being a great cook, she told me that she felt less confident about making this particular cake because the recipe warned that the cake might sink if not prepared correctly. Since I am always up for a baking challenge, I thought that I would give it ago. Boy, was she excited. It was also an opportunity to try something that I would not bake in Sydney for myself because of the high fat content and it also uses 15 egg yolks! I am still thinking about what I will do with the rest of the egg whites. An Aussie Pavlova maybe ... hmmm, too easy... maybe something more challenging ...macaroons? ( ..shiver .. don't think I'm ready for that ) ... stay tuned.

This recipe comes from a series of Malay cookbooks called "Minta Ampun Sedapnya" (loosely translated to mean "Goodness Gracious, absolutely Delicious". These are a compilations of traditional Malay and Malay-inspired recipes contributed by Malay women of Singapore. These recipes have been tried and tested, then compiled by Asmah Laili, a former broadcaster turned renowned cookbook author, who is dedicated to keeping our Singaporean Malay food heritage alive. Mom and sis know her personally and Mom has all of her cookbooks. Last week, Mom gave me one of Asmah cookbooks (Vol. 5) that was written both in English and Malay (yeah!) so I can continue my Malay cuisine learning journey when I am back in Sydney.

Kitchen and tasting notes:
I made half of the recipe and baked it in a 9.5" x 5.5" loaf pan. Mom has been raving about the cake all afternoon. :-) I'm glad that the cake didn't sink and that it met her expectations. I thought that the cake was delicious - buttery, moist and with a tender crumb. The ground almond adds a nice texture to it too. But I can only have it in small doses because it's a very rich cake. It's best eaten at room temperature.

Kek Suji
- Malay Semolina Cake -

Translated from “Minta Ampun Sedapnya”, Vol 1
Recipe by Hjh Fatimah Bte Md Ibrahim Marican

500g butter*, room temperature
15 egg yolks
2 egg whites
320g cater sugar
230g ground almonds/almond meal
3 tbspn all-purpose flour, sifted
340g fine semolina
1 tbspn vanillin or vanilla sugar

*tinned butter (e.g. Golden Churn brand found in Singapore/Malaysia) was recommended.

Day before baking:
- Beat butter and the semolina till well-blended. Cover and leave it for at least 14 hours but no more than 24 hours.
- Toast the ground almond in a dry non-stick frying pan for about 2-5 minutes and cool before storing in an air-tight container.

The next day:
- Beat butter-semolina misture till pale and fluffy.
- Beat egg whites till stiff and fold this gently to the butter-semolina mizture. - - - Beat the egg yolks with the sugar (add sugar gradually) till pale and the sygar has disolved. Fold this into the semolina mixture.
- Add ground almond, flour and vanilla sugar and fold them in quickly but gently till well combined. The recipe recommended that this step by done by hand but I used a spatula.
- Immediately pour the thick batter into the buttered cake tin (11” x 8”). Smooth the top before baking it in a preheat oven (150°C) for 1 hrs 15 mins. Do not open the oven door during this time.
- After removing the cake from the oven, leave it in the pan for 10 mins before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

I love the rustic feel of this cake. It would be lovely as a dessert or even as an appetizer with meats and cheeses. Thanks for sharing!

Eva said...

Hey you're one busy blogger these days! Being already engulfed in wedding preparations I can only stare at the screen drooling over all your culinary adventures! Come home soon! I need someone to help me choose a dress!!

Greg said...

15 egg yolks???? 500g butter??? WOW! That's one rich cake. I'm afraid it would be too tempting for me to make this now. I'm trying to drop my holiday weight!

Coffee & Vanilla said...


More delicious things from you mom ?? :) It looks very good... yummy.

I just moved all my bookmarks to google reader so I should be more up to date with recent posts on your blog :))))

Have a great day, Margot

Lydia said...

How could anything with 15 egg yolks be bad??? I have got to try this recipe! Thanks to your mom for sharing it.

Kevin said...

This cake sounds really good! I have not tried baking with either the semolina or the almond meal. They both sound interesting. That is a lot of eggs!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your cake looks so moist and rich it calls for a cup of tea to go with it. When my egg whites pile up I either make an angel food cake or something from my low-fat cookbooks.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

My goodness, 15 egg yolks. It does look great.

I know someone who when dieting has egg white omelettes, sounds pretty bad to me but it could make up for the fattening cake right?
Macaroons sound better!

Margaret said...

A very unusual and interesting cake method. The list of ingredients isn't something I've come across before.
I would love a small piece to try. Mx

The Cooking Ninja said...

15 eggs ... reminds me of the steamed egg cake that my mom always makes ;) ... Your cake looks like my quatre-quarts :)

chemcookit said...

This looks really good! And I never had anything like that, I'd love to try it!

Em said...

You will be happy to know that your grocery bags include semolina ;-) hehe

Nora B. said...

Susan, I never thought of serving it as an appetizer, that's a good idea.

Eva, I am busy no just in the kicthen. Still trying to work on my thesis as much as I can. But my family has so many food requests! I will be back soon, don't worry, I'll be there to help in any way I can.

Greg, the cake was VERy rich. I only made half the recipe, so I didn't have to crack so many eggs. :-)

Margot, she is the one who is making me bake these days when I thought I was taking a break from the kitchen.

Lydia, I never baked with so many egg yolks before but now I discovered that it does taste good.

Kevin, I love baking with almond meal. It adds a richness and texture to baked goods. You should give it a try.

Lynn, too your advice and made angel food cake. :) Thanks for your suggestion.

Amanda, I think I will need a bit more time before I tackle macaroons....

Margaret, the method was rather unusual but I followed anyway since I knew that the recipe has been tried and tested. A small piece is all you need :-)

Cooking Ninja, I'll have to look up stemed egg cakes.

Marta, it does taste good, very different from anything I've tried before. I'm glad that I gave it a go.

Em, coooool! Thanks :-) But I won't be making this cake in Sydney though, only if requested by mom. The amount of butter just scared me!

WokandSpoon said...

Oooo, sugi cake - another blast from my childhood!!! I love this!

winedeb said...

Nora that cake looks awesome. My grandma and I used to make one similar that was loaded with fat also. It used alot of sour cream, flour and tons of butter. But oh, so great! And to top it off she make a strawberry syrup with whipped cream to top! I am full just thinking of it!
I just love how you and your mom are so busy cooking and baking. Now you also have another cookbook to bring home and share the goodness of it with us!

Big Boys Oven said...

this is greatI was looking for this recipe and you got it babe! tq

tigerfish said...

Maybe reserve the egg white for a gigantic tiramisu or something?!

You work very hard even back in Singapore for a visit. I would just become lazy and stop all the cooking if I were back!:P oopsy doop!