IF you have ever visit Sarawakian families during big festivals such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Gawai or Christmas, in the event you spotted a green colour cake, it is very likely that this is Kek Lumut. You will not be able to spot these cakes in the airport or other tourist attractions, it will only be available usually at individual homes.
This is a delicious, moist steamed cake prepared using expensive ingredients such as coconut jam (kaya) and Horlicks. It was called Kek Lumut because of the greenish colour. The cake is literally translated as “Moss Cake”, a type of greenish plant usually appeared in tiles and floors.
Do not asked me why green is chosen. I do not have the answer either and I am sure most Sarawakian also do not know the origins of this cake. But the cake displayed many similarities in term of ingredients that appeared in many of the Sarawak steamed cakes: Kaya, horlicks, condensed milk and at times, Milo, baby cereals or biscuit crumbs..
These cakes are rich in flavour and is a dense but moist cake. It needed long hours of steaming to get cooked. Due to the expensive ingredients and long steaming hours, the cake can fetch a rather high price. It can range from RM120-180 for a 8”x 8” cake. Due to its costliness, many families has prepare the cake themselves and it was only prepared during festivals to serve guest. It will too sinful if it was prepared for breakfast purposes.
The original recipe of this cake is supposed to be just one green cake without any layering. Realizing many Singaporean and non-Sarawakian readers may not even try the cake because of the colouring, I have decided to put chocolate layer. The chocolate layer has exactly the same taste except with the addition of some cocoa powder for colouring purposes.
Well, talking about colouring here is not really relevant. Whether or not you want to put the apple green colouring is up to individual. Even without the striking green, it is a yellowish delicious Horlicks cake. The green is just for colouring for purposes of calling it a “moss” cake . Today, I have decided to steam another pure green cake as a respect to the original recipe.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare an 7-8 inches diameter round cake
- 250 grams of butter
- 200 grams of Horlicks or other malt drink powder
- 120 grams of plain flour
- 150 grams of condensed milk
- 150 grams of kaya or coconut jam (Any type also can use) (加椰）
- 100 grams of sugar
- 4 eggs
- Some apple green colouring or pandan green paste
- 2 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Lightly grease 7-8 inches round baking tray. It is best to put a piece of baking paper to facilitate the dislodgement of the cake.
- Get ready a big steamer capable of steaming at least 1 hour 30 minutes. Otherwise, you will have to keep an eye on the water level and add hot water whenever necessary.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk followed by egg one by one. Beat until well combined. Add the coconut jam, stir until well combined. Sift in the plain flour and Horlicks to the butter, use a spatula to mix the cake batter until well combined.
- The following step is optional if you are steaming the whole cake without layering and colouring.
- Divide the cake into 2 equal portion by weighing scale. For one portion, add some apple green colouring (at least 1 teaspoon). Stir until well mixed. For another portion,sift in the cocoa powder, stir until well mixed.
- Transfer half of the cocoa batter to the greased baking tin, steam at medium heat for at least 20-25 minutes until a skewer insert in the centre comes out clean. Put half of the green portion on top of the steamed chocolate layer, level it and steam at medium heat for at least 20-25 minutes. Perform the same for the remaining 2 layers. Once the 4th layer is done, steam the cake again at high heat for additional 10-15 minutes and ensure that the whole cake is cooked through. During the steaming, you may need to wrap a towel on the cover to prevent water condensation and drop into the cake.
- Cool completely before dislodge and cut into serving sizes. The cake can keep well in chiller of the refrigerator. If prefer, you can store the cake in the freezer and it can keep for months in an air tight container.
- If you are steaming the whole cake, it will take at least 1.5 – 2 hours. Longer steaming will make the cake last longer. Some recipe calls for steaming of at least 3 hours.
- Do not change horlicks unless necessary. If you can’t get hold of Horlicks, try using Ovaltine or Milo. The flavour will change to chocolate but it is still a soft and delicious cake.
Introducing Sarawak steamed cake may have some problem with other readers. One of the reasons is that these cakes are not common and readers are doubtful. Well, do not doubt the recipe, my Singaporean neighbour obviously is very impressed with this soft and moist steamed cake . They have never eaten cake of this texture and also never eaten cake prepared using Horlicks. I have confidence that Singaporean and West Malaysian readers will like this uniquely Sarawak steamed cake. Remember that colour is optional and if you do not use green, may be you should just called it Horlicks steamed cake instead of kek lumut.
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