Gula melaka in angmoh sweets have been in vogue for some time now. And we can see why. The slightly smoky, caramelly richness of gula Melaka goes so well with butter, milk and eggs. Like in this comforting loaf cake. Light, melt-in-the-mouth, and brimming with the complex flavour and aroma of palm sugar tempered with salt. Be sure to use pure palm and not coconut palm sugar — the latter doesn’t have the sultry maple syrup-like quality of the former. Note that this is a fragile cake batter, so make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before using (too cold and your batter might curdle irreversibly). That said, some curdling is bound to occur when you mix in the eggs and milk. When that happens, don’t panic, the addition of flour should cure the curdling quickly. And then you’ll have made your very own ‘modern Singaporean’ gula Melaka cake without having to schlep to some hipster café to buy one.
Makes 2 small loaves of one large loaf
226g cake flour, sifted
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
3 large eggs, at room temperature
170g unsalted butter, slightly softened
200g grated gula Melaka
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup milk, at room temperature
For the salted gula melaka drizzle:
2 tbsp water
80g gula Melaka, chopped
a large pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter and flour two small or one large loaf tin.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter, gula melaka, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light and fluffy. About 5 mins.
Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, taking about 2mins to add them all in. The mixture will start to curdle at this point. Don’t fret — adding the flour should fix that.
On low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Again, the mixture might look slightly curdled. This is okay. Don’t over-mix in your attempt to stop the curdling — that might result in a tough cake.
Spoon batter into loaf tins and bake for about 40 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes emerges clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 mins, then remove from tins and leave the cakes to cool on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, make the drizzle. Place the water, gula melaka and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring, until the gula melaka is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and drizzle over the cakes while syrup is still warm. Allow cakes to cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week (allow to stand at room temperate for about 30 mins before serving).