Sunday, September 6, 2015

My Mother's 2015 birthday cake

Another year, another birthday. There are 7 basic birthday cakes that I have to bake every year. Hubby's and my parents, plus hubby and the two kiddos. Note that I say basic....there are miscellaneous ones that pops up occasionally as well. I believe there are many home bakers like me out there that has the same duty yearly. Don't get me wrong, I love baking for these important people in my life. But sometimes it can get pretty challenging when it comes to trying to please a big group of people. Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot 9 days old...yeah. :P So after cracking my head, I finally made the decision to go with a totally new flavor which I have never attempted to use in a birthday cake. Pandan Gula Melaka. Specifically, the cake consist of Pandan Gula Melaka cake, sandwich a layer of light cheddar cheese cake (to counter the sweetness) and frosted with Gula Melaka mascarpone cheese frosting and lastly coated the sides with shredded coconut cooked with gula melaka syrup. 

It never occurred to me to bake a coconut or pandan or Gula Melaka flavoured cake for my parents. It was always the obvious choice of fruit flavours. I guess I have to start somewhere right? After the whole cake was assembled, I definitely see parts where I can improve on. For starters, I can replace the mascarpone cheese with cream cheese instead , which will be more stable at room temperature, though might taste more jelut. :P 

I will still be posting this up for my own future references. If you would like to try this recipe, please bare in mind that it is my first time baking this as well, so please keep an open mind. And if you want to substitute certain ingredients, please go ahead by all means, but remember that the results might not be the same as mine.

Ingredients for Gula Melaka Pandan Ogura cake (makes an 8")
Pandan milk extract
6 pandan leaves, snipped
80 ml evaporated milk
  • Snip the pandan leaves into smaller pieces and add evaporated milk together into the blender container.

  • Blend these two ingredients together and sieve through a fine gauze cloth. Reserve the mixture for later use.

Egg yolk Batter
60 g gula melaka +20 ml water 
  • Cook these two ingredients together till the Gula Melaka is completely melted and mixture is slightly thicken. Set aside to cool slightly to be used later.

5 egg yolks (~70-73g)
20 ml coconut oil
80 g cake flour
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the egg yolks in. Follow by the pandan milk extract and the coconut oil.

  •  Whisk well to combine all the ingredients. Then add in the warm melted palm sugar syrup. It is important that it is still warm. Once it cools down, it will become thicken and very difficult to blend into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Lastly, sift in the cake flour and whisk it well so that all is well combined and smooth.

Egg white Batter
5 egg whites (~160-165g)
70 g caster sugar
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Preheat the oven to 155C with a water bath set up inside the oven. Grease and line with parchment paper a 8" by 3" round cake pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the egg whites. Beat the whites till foamy. Gradually add in the sugar as it continues to beat at medium fast speed. Add in the fresh lemon juice before you add the last of the caster sugar in. 


  • Continue to beat till stiff peaks. 
  • Gently fold in the whites to the egg yolk mixture in 3 separate portions. Do not overfold and deflate the whites.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Wrap the base of the pan with thick aluminium foil if it is the removal base type.


  • Bake in the preheated oven with the water bath for 55-58 minutes till the tester comes out clean or the cake springs back when gently pressed.
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting it to cool. It is NORMAL that the cake shrinks a little when it slowly cools down, so please don't freak out.
Yay! No cracks! I guess the low temperature and the water bath helps. And loving that nice colour tone. 

As for the cheddar cheese cake, I merely halved the recipe that I usually baked which you can find the recipe here. I baked it in a 8" by 2" round cake pan this time round also in the water bath at 155C.

Ingredients for Light Cheddar Cheese Cake

3 slices of Cheddar Cheese
50 ml fresh milk
50 g unsalted butter 
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites (preferably cold, place in fridge after separating)
50 g caster sugar 
50 g cake flour
  • For instructions and steps on how to bake this, please hop over to here
  • Slice the Pandan Gula Melaka cake in two equal thickness discs. Let the 3 cakes discs cool completely while you prepare for the frosting.
Gula Melaka Mascarpone Cheese frosting (to frost an 8" by 4" round with 3 layers cake)
60g Gula Melaka finely chopped
2 tbsp water
500 g mascarpone cheese
  • In a saucepan, heat up the water and chopped Gula Melaka. Cook the mixture until all the palm sugar has melted. Let cool.
  • In the mixing bowl, add the mascarpone cheese in and beat it till light and smooth.
  • Slowly drizzle the warm Gula Melaka mixture into the whipped cheese.
  • Whip the mixture again till smooth and creamy. Bare in mind mascarpone cheese is lighter then cream cheese. So if you opt to use mascarpone cheese, please prepare to handle a much softer frosting. Else you can always go with cream cheese, which is more stable in room temp but will be more dense in taste.
  • Chill the frosting in the fridge for at least an hour before use. 
Assembly of the cake
Gula Melaka grated coconut for deco:
100 g finely chopped Gula Melaka
5 tbsp water
250 g grated coconut (I used Heng Guan brand)
I used Heng Guan brand because it was readily available at the supermarket. But if you have access to freshly grated ones, go for it.
  • In a saucepan, again heat up the palm sugar and water till the sugar melted completely.
  • Add in the grated coconut and stir in to cook and let it slowly absorb the palm syrup.
  • Let the coconut mixture cool completely and then chill in the fridge till you are ready to use it.
  • Place the first layer of the cake on the cake board which you will be using. Remember to line the sides with parchment paper which can be removed after frosting.
  • Frost about 1/5 of the palm sugar cheese frosting on the first layer. Spread it evenly over the top.
  • Place the light cheddar cheese cake layer over the top.
  • Trim off the baked brown top. Personally I feel it doesn't give a soft mouth feel if I leave the "crust" on the cake. But if you like it, by all means, leave it on.
  • Next, spread another 1/5 of the cheese frosting over the trimmed surface.
  • Lastly, place the 2nd Pandan Gula Melaka cake over. Again, you can trim away the crust on the cake or leave it on. I choose to trim. :) Then frost the whole cake with the rest of the cheese frosting. Notice that the frosting is not very smooth...not sure why it is slightly cuddling. But I suspect is the fat separating. Anyway, do try to work fast as the mascarpone cheese is rather unstable in room temp.
  • Once the cake is nicely frosted, let it chill in the fridge for an hour. Once it is cold enough, bring it out and coat the sides with the Gula Melaka shredded coconut. Make sure to give it a light squeeze every time you grab some shredded coconut.
  • Once done, chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serve. Enjoy!

The cake turned out great. It was fragrant, soft and delicious. Everyone in the family enjoyed it. Only someone complained the gula melaka shredded coconut was a wee bit sweet, else it was all compliments. Yay! And most importantly, my mum likes it too.  
Another shot of that last slice I salvage from the birthday party haha. :P Love the natural colour from the pandan and the soft texture of this yummy cake. Frosting was light and yet creamy sweet to satisfy anyone. :9 

If you ever do try this out, let me know how you like it. ;)

Happy baking guys!

4 comments:

Edith C said...

Happy Birthday to your mom.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Edith!! ;)

Angie Schneider said...

The cake looks splendid! Happy belated Birthday to your mom.

syazwani nordin said...

In KL, this is the new trend...Honestly speaking, whatever you baked or cooked, it looks absolutely amazing and obviously you make me drool!!! That's not good....hahaha