First up, let me offer you some little cakes known as Kuih Bahulu. These are little sponge cakes, with a sweet crust. They’re quite similar to savoiardi biscuits (ladyfinger biscuits), although a bit cakier. Bahulu is usually eaten dunked into a hot beverage, where it soaks up the liquid and becomes melt-in-the-mouth soft.
I flicked through mum’s notes and found a bahulu recipe using only three ingredients. Sweet! Eggs, sugar and self-raising flour.
How hard could it be, since I had a proper oven and a modern beater to boot? (Traditionally, the eggs were beaten by hand). I spoke too soon. Attempt number one looked fine, but after that, I couldn’t get them out of the mould. The stubborn little cakes came out looking a bit furry, minus the characteristic crust. The hallmark of a good bahulu is this crust. The instructions didn’t say whether to oil the mould or not, and even when I did attempt some oil, it still didn’t work.
Luckily, towards the end, I worked out that I wasn’t preheating the mould for long enough. Also, when I took it out of the oven to fill with batter, the mould was cooling too quickly (it’s winter at the moment). My two final batches looked like the real thing, hooray!
The end result tasted pretty close to what I remember. I wouldn’t have minded it a bit sweeter, and I think extra sugar may help with a crustier crust, so I’ll definitely try again to see if I can perfect them. (Recipe after announcement).
Thanks for sticking around so long, here’s the announcement I promised:
Muhibbah* Malaysian Monday Blog Event.
Grab a badge!
When I first started my Malaysian Monday posts, it was an attempt to try and get Mr. Kitchen Hand to eat Malaysian desserts. This then evolved into a little bit of a weekly touch-base between myself, and my roots.
Along the way, I started getting lovely comments from fellow Malaysians / expat Malaysian bloggers. Who would have thought there were so many of us? (Actually, I shouldn’t really feel all that astonished - eating IS the national pastime.)
When fellow blogger Suresh, from 3 Hungry Tummies emailed to ask if I would like to turn Malaysian Monday into a blog event, I was definitely up for it.
So, come one, come all – Malaysian or otherwise. Join us for the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday blog event. The “rules” are pretty simple:
1) ANYONE can join in – you don’t have to be Malaysian.
2) Post anything related to food and Malaysia, on a Monday (you can do a one-off, every week, or anywhere in between). It could be about food, drink, a restaurant review, a cookbook, an interesting ingredient, etc, etc.
(Edit: Please link back to either Test With Skewer or 3 Hungry Tummies in your entry, and also include the words "Muhibbah Monday" somewhere in the post. Thank you :) )
3) Send us your name, your post(s) name and post URL by the LAST Wednesday of the month. Please write Muhibbah Monday #X in the subject line. We will pull a photo off your post to use in our round-up. (edit: Occasionally, other people may be hosting, so check back with either of us if you're not sure where to send entries to. There should be a mention on the first Malaysian Monday post of that particular month letting you know where to send entries)
4) Suresh (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) and I (its[dot]sharon[at]gmail[dot]com) will take turns to host, and we will let you know where to send each month’s entry. If you would like to take a turn at hosting, do send us an email. (check first though, see no. 3)
5) On the first Monday of every month, a round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog.
That’s about it.
Mari masak, minum, main bersama-sama! (Let’s cook, eat, drink and play together).
Muhibbbah = Goodwil
(I halved the recipe I found which originally calls for 8 eggs)
This quantity of batter made over 40 little cakes, but it depends on the size of your mould. I actually found that the batter had to sit around for a long time while the previous batch baked. The last batches were not as light as the earlier ones, so I would make this in smaller 2 egg batches next time.
125g self raising flour (I made my own using plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt added)
125g caster sugar (would add a bit more next time).
dash of vanilla extract (my own addition- to get rid of any unwanted over-eggy smells)
Preheat the oven to a moderately high temp. My oven temperature and the dial don’t talk to each other, so I pretty much have to guess and then check the oven thermometer. I aimed for around 170˚C.
Place the mould in the oven to preheat. I found that I didn’t really need to use any oil to grease the moulds if the temperature was hot enough to begin with.
Sift flour well.
Beat the eggs on high until doubled in volume and quite light in colour. It will be thick and foamy. Add half the sugar in, beat well, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until very thick. When the beaters are lifted, the batter should fall in a thick ribbon, and stay on the surface of the batter for a moment or two before sinking.
Sift half the flour over the batter and use a rubber spatula to carefully fold the flour in. Repeat with the rest of the flour. Be gentle, don’t knock the air out.
Open the oven, and slide the mould on the oven rack towards you. Do not remove the mould from the oven or it will cool down too quickly. Carefully place spoonfuls of the batter into each hollow – it should hiss lightly when it hits the pan. If it doesn’t hiss, it’s not hot enough. Aim for filling the hollows about 2/3 full.
Bake until light golden brown – for me, this took about 7 minutes or so. Remove the mould from the oven, carefully turn it over and using a skewer, prise the cakes out of their hollows. They should come away cleanly and fall out. Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days of making. Best eaten fresh because the bahulu will become quite hard the longer it keeps. Secretly though? I kind of like stale bahulu because the crust gets crustier, but the insides dry out a bit. That’s ok, just dunk into a cup of tea and it’s all good.