I have received a request for a prune cake recipe but she did not specify which type of prune cake she is looking for. Well, I knew prune cake is not common in Singapore and West Malaysia but it is very common in Sarawak especially during the Chinese New Year seasons. It was sold at quite a high price just like other cakes during the season.
I am contemplating whether I should share a baked prune cake recipe or a steamed prune cake recipe. After taking consideration that she may be a Sarawakian reader, i believed what she is looking for is a steamed prune cake that is dense,moist but sinfully rich.. Therefore I designed the recipe based on my intended denser texture and taste I am familiar with.
On second thoughts, though cake steaming is very common in Sarawak and most Chinese New Year cakes are steamed instead of baked, but it usually take long hours of steaming. If you think that cake steaming is just very basic of steaming , it is not quite correct as cake steaming need practises . For the first few attempt, your cake can be a rather ugly with water dropped on the cake and wavy cake surface. Unless you are Sarawakians , most house chefs are not willing to invest in the time to prepare the cake though delicious. Therefore, I have used some of the batter and baked in the oven and see if it works for those readers who do not wish to steam cakes.
The outcome was terrible. It cracked terribly and this recipe just does not suit baking method. The crust was very thick due to long hours of baking. Not only that, the texture was also different as too much water vapour was lost during the process. The cake was drier that the steamed version which is moist and delicious. Therefore, I will not share the baking method and insist to use the steaming method.
However, if you still prefer the baking method, you can refer to this recipe: Dates/Prunes Fruit Cake (黑枣蛋糕）. This recipe is very suitable for baking and you can refer to the picture above. Texture wise, baking version of course is fluffier due to different recipe but taste wise, it is very close to the steamed version.
If you are wondering how is the texture? It is dense and moist and rich in flavour. I seriously believed Sarawak method of steamed cakes is originally influenced by the western style of steamed puddings but tailored to suit local taste buds using local ingredients readily available.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: An 8’ cake
- 5 eggs
- 250 grams of butter, melted
- 250 grams of preserved prunes
- 220 grams of brown sugar
- 30 grams of condensed milk (substitute with 30 grams of brown sugar)
- 250 grams of fresh milk
- 250 grams of plain flour
- 3 tablespoons of chocolate emulco or browning paste or molasses*
* Browning paste is for colouring purposes. It is very unique in Sarawak and can get it in bakery. If you cannot find such paste, you can either omit it and yields a lighted colour cake. Taste will be the same.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Blend the melted butter, eggs, fresh milk and preserved prunes until it forms a thick emulsion. This step can be by passed if your prunes are very fine and you can use hand to mash it easily. In that case, just put mashed prunes, melted butters, eggs and fresh milk in a bowl and use hand to stir until well mixed.
- In another bowl, sift in the flour and add the brown sugar, make a well in the centre and pour the liquid ingredients. Stir until smooth and well combined.
- Heavily greased an 8” steaming or baking pan. As a precaution, line with baking paper too.
- Bring a pot of water capable of at least steaming one hour to a boil. You will need to gradually add in more hot water when the water level is low.
- Transfer the cake batter to the steaming pan, level it and cover the cake pan with a piece of clingy wrap of aluminium boil. Leaving adequate space for cake expansion. Cover the lid of the steamer with a piece of cloth to further avoid water condensation and drops to the cake but this is optional.
- Steam the cake under medium heat for at least 1.5 hours to 2 hours.. Timing will depend on your heat used and the ultimate test is to insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and comes out clean. If times permit, you can continue to steam the cake for another 1 more hour. The longer the steaming of the cake, the cake texture will slightly be different and can be kept much longer.
Generally, if you are a Sarawakian, when you looked at the texture of this cake, you will know that it is a nice piece of dense but moist cake. You may drool and whenever I saw Facebook posting on this type of rich cake, i will have the urge to prepare one. My whole families loves this but we seldom prepare this if not because of Chinese New Year because this type of cakes need patience to prepare and rather calorific. Even if we prepare, we do not eat the whole cake in one day, we will freeze some of the cake and eat it may be one month or two months later when we have craving. When serving guest, the cake was cut into almost small bite size pieces and most guest will just eat a piece of two among other goodies… Lastly, during Chinese New Year in Kuching, what we are looking for is usually the cakes served and most families will have different types of cakes.. We will go round house by house to try the cakes and other goodies.. That is the joy of Chinese New Year visiting, eat different cakes at different houses..
Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have nice day. Should there be any imperfections in my blog layout, bear with me and I am trying hard to rectify it. In the event that you are a follower of Guaishushu at http://kwgls.wordpress.com, please do follow this new blog Guaishushu1 at http://www.guaishushu1.com.
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