UPDATED POST ON 4-11-2014
I have not bake this cake for almost one year and start to crave for this cake with unique texture.. I told my friends, I loved this cake, not a bit but a lot. It is slightly chewy and it is not as oily as those normal butter cake. I have decided to change my recipe to substitute plain flour with almond flour or almond meal. Therefore, this cake have no plain flour. Depending on the type of semolina flour that you used, if it is a product from buckwheat, this cake can be considered as gluten free.. If the semolina flour is produced from durum wheat, it will not be gluten free.
I also did not use baking powder for this cake, purely leavened by eggs . I love the dense and chewy unique texture. It is a cake good for festivals and you can use this as a festival cake by gradually infusing alcohol to enhance the moistness and flavour.. For kids consumption, I did not do intend to add in any alcoholic drink..
Please scroll down for the new Recipe 2 (without plain flour version).
In Singapore, usually one package of semolina flour will weigh 500 g and costs less than SGD2 depending on the brands. However, being a Chinese, there are not many cuisines that use semolina flour as the ingredients. I have issued a post of Indian Short Bread Cookies – Nan Khatai that uses semolina flour and ghee, it was quite well received and a number of readers who tried the recipes still have lots of semolina flour left. They are asking what shall they do with the semolina flour? That recipe only called for 50 grams of semolina flour and effectively, they still have 45o grams of semolina flour left in their kitchen shelf. I have promised those readers that I will provide a recipe of SUGEE ALMOND CAKE, a traditional Malaysian Singaporean Eurasian festival cake that also uses semolina flour …
SUGEE CAKES DEFINED
Rather surprisingly, Sugee cake is included in Wikipedia’s explanation of Singapore’s cuisines, it was written:
“Sugee cake, a soft cake made with semolina flour and a high concentration of egg yolks; served in Eurasian, Malay, and Chinese cuisine.” (Source: Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singaporean_cuisine)
Sugee cake is traditionally treated as a festival cake usually served in Kristang families both as a happy occasion cake (Christmas, birthdays, weddings) and sombre occasion such as funerals. In fact, it is also a type of cake for the Christmas. Kristang are local Portuguese descendent Eurasians in Singapore and West Malaysia. The popularity of this cake however has extended to other races such as Chinese, Malay and Indian households.
Effectively, this is a type of butter cakes made using semolina flour and large quantity of egg yolks. It had a special texture, a big chewy and unlike cakes that uses the normal flour, it is denser. Though dense, it is easy to down the throat and in fact, both my wife and me have concurred that it is another way of appreciating the butter cake. Chewy, buttery, aromatic and moist.
There are many recipes of sugee cakes in the internet, some called for pan frying the semolina flour or soaking of semolina flour in butter, some called for use of brandy or other fruits alcohol, some used less eggs and some used lot of egg yolks.. However, I have adapted the recipe from http://sg.theasianparent.com/sugee-cake-recipe-award-winning/.
Since this recipe do not vary very much from my proposed “one baking number ratio”, I have made slight modifications so that it conform with my believes of using just one number in preparing the ingredients. If you are interested to read more about my “one number baking ratio” adventures, you can refer to the following posts – Basic Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Muffins, Fruits Dates Cakes, Zebra Patterned Pound Cake and Grapefruit Cognac Pound Cake.
RECIPE 1 (PLAIN FOUR VERSION) – please scroll down for recipe 2 (without plain flour version)
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Recipe adapted from: AWARD WINNING SUGEE CAKE RECIPE from http;//sg.theasianparent.com
Make an 8’ square baking tin
250 grams of semolina flour
250 grams of plain flour (sift and set aside)
250 grams of castor sugar
250 grams of butter (at room temperature)
250 grams of eggs (use 6 eggs – see calculation below) – separated into egg yolks and egg whites)
250 grams of milk or less subject to eggs volume (balancing – see calculation below)
half cups of grounded almond
3 teaspoons of baking power (sift together with plain flour and set aside)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence OR 1-2 teaspoons of brandy or whisky
Calculation of milks required based actual weight of this illustration:
In this illustration, 6 eggs weighed about 318 grams
Milk volume = 250 g of milk – Excess volume of eggs = 250 g – (318g – 250g) = 182 g of milk
Alternatively, you can use 6 eggs and 120ml of milk as in the original recipes. This recipe have about 60 g more milk which it moister.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Pre-heat oven to 150 degree Celsius
Line a 8” square baking tin with parchment paper
Preparing the meringue (Beating of egg whites)
In a big mixing bowl, place your egg whites and beat using the machine whisk to whisk the egg whites until firm peak. Note that the bowl have to be extremely clean, dry and free of any oils.
When the volume expands, add in about 5 tablespoons of sugar gradually, beat until thick and glossy and until all the sugars dissolved. Spoon the filling into a clean bowl and set aside for later use.
Preparing the batters and folding of flours
Change your whisk to a K beater (look at the second picture for the shape). Place your remaining sugar and butter, beat until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs yolks and use slow speed to “mix” until well mixed. Eggs yolk should be added one by one and scrap the bottom of the bowl to ensure no unmixed egg yolk settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Once well mixed, put 1/3 of plain flours, semolina flours, ground almonds and fresh milk and use the slowest speed to let it “stir” for 2-3 cycles.
Repeat the same for the remaining two third dry ingredients and milks. Once well mixed, take the mixing bowl out.
Folding of egg whites
Once well mixed, use a big spoon or spatula and fold in the egg white swiftly and lightly until the batter are smooth.
Baking the Cake
Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for the first 15 minutes and turn down the temperature to 150 degree Celsius for the remaining 45-60 minutes or when the skewer inserted come out clean. When you note signs of burnt, just use some metal to cover the cake tin.
Recipe 2 (Without Plain Flour Version)
250 grams of melted butter
250 grams of semolina flour
250 grams of almond meal or almond flour
250 grams of castor sugar
50 grams of milk (optional)
6 eggs (separated into egg white and egg yolks)
2-3 teaspoons of brandy or whisky (optional)
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Mixed the semolina flour with the melted butter. Let it soaked for at least 4 hours .
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Celsius.
In a whisking bowl, whisk the sugar (leave 2 tablespoons for egg white) and egg yolk until light and pale. Add the brandy, milk, soaked semolina flour followed by almond meal. Stir until well combine and resemble a sticky paste.
Beat the egg white until soft peak with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Fold the egg white to the thick yolk batter in 3 phases. Transfer the batter to a greased 8” inches square tin and bake in the pre-heated oven of 150 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Best serve after resting one night as the cake will start to get moister. If preferred, can further infuse more alcohol and can be used as a festival cake.
As it is a very dense cake (about 1.8 kg), a crack may be inevitable… Some international members have commented that a crack signifies that it is a “cake” with character…. It is such a consolation statement to me. The crack do become smaller after 8 hours of resting. Personally, to me that is rather irrelevant to me since the cake is very tasty. It is moist because semolina can better absorb more liquids and butters than plain flour. It goes well with icing or cream or just plain with a cup of coffee.
Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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