Kaya Bundt With Dark Chocolate Frosting

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Things have been taken a step up. In thought, and in action. From trying out crazy buffet restaurants, to understanding which camera is the most accurate (iPhone, Snapchat, Instagram or something else? Help, which tells the truth?) and why, to Kim and Trump having negotiations just this morning, in a luxury hotel right here on our little red dot Singapore. Why not do the same in the kitchen? Like this, like now.

Making my own kaya was an intrepid effort, but by no means terribly intimidating. Kaya has always been one of my favourite spreads ever. Simply spreading the stuff on my toasted, buttered crumpet this morning was some beautiful nostalgia. I just had to recreate a vegan version. A few years ago, with so many amazing nonya kayas out there, I never felt the need to make my own. Although this vegan recipe, which I adapted from an online source, needs a little tweaking, the final product turned out more than fine, with the right gloopy texture, a strong coconut taste, perfect for soaking into crevices, into the porous, crusty craters of white toast, on a crumpet (this morning’s gala).

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So you’ve got the kaya. Then it’s simply a matter of mixing wet with dry, the kaya going into a smooth homogenous mixture of butter and sugar all nicely creamed together, some flax eggs (or normal eggs, whatever floats your goat), and added coconut extract for punch and pizzaz. Once that’s done, you make a damn good, deep and dark chocolate frosting to literally ice the cake in flavour, texture, and colour. Experiment with the baking time too– mine needed 45 minutes in total although you may only need 40 or so minutes. I even used some edible flowers to decorate but I’m posh that way (ok no, I’m supporting a sustainable urban farming movement. The owner propagates edible flowers and breeding pollinators in the middle of bustling Orchard Road here in Singapore… how cool is that??).

The cake is dense, moist yet fluffy. Behold some robust coconut breath in each sturdy bite. The icing stays strong even in this terrifying heat and humidity, so you can be well assured you don’t have to worry about a schmozzle when you drizzle it on your beautiful bundt.

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Kaya bundt cake with chocolate drizzle (makes one medium bundt)

Ingredients

For the kaya bundt cake:

400g kaya, homemade or store-bought (make your vegan version, I found a good recipe here– mine turned out tasting a little too much of soy due to all that tofu, but the texture and taste was still nonetheless on point)

350g cake flour, or plain flour if you don’t have cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp coconut extract (optional, I added it for amplified flavour)

200g each of vegan butter (room temperature) and sugar (sub: normal butter if you’re not vegan)

2 flax eggs (sub: whole eggs), made by mixing 2 tbsp ground flaxseed with 5 tbsp room temperature water)

For the frosting:

40g icing sugar

10g cocoa powder

1 tbsp tahini (optional, I added for creaminess and a hint of sesame flavour)

5-6 tbsp almond milk

60g dark chocolate

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Make your flax eggs by combining the ground flaxseed with water and setting it aside to gel up. Grease and flour a bundt pan. I coated the inside of my pan with coconut oil, then floured it by adding a tablespoon of flour into the pan and then jiggling the pan around so the flour is mostly coating the oiled inner surface.

In a large bowl and with a spatula, cream the room temperature butter with the sugar. I find a spatula makes it nice and easy. Cream together until the mixture is homogenous, pale and fluffy. Add the flax eggs, coconut extract and kaya, and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

In a separate medium bowl, briefly whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Tip this into the large bowl containing your wet ingredients, then mix all together gently, until everything is smooth and evenly incorporated. Spoon dollops of batter into the greased and floured pan, continuing to do this until all batter is used up. Bake the bundt in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs.

While the bundt is baking, make the frosting. Chop up the dark chocolate, tip into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the chocolate is all melted. In a separate bowl, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together, then add the tahini (optional) and milk. Add the melted chocolate and mix until you get a thick but runny consistency. Once the bundt is done, let it cool down (don’t tip it!) on a wire rack for at least a half hour. Drizzle the chocolate frosting over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds for decoration.

 

 

 

One Bowl Banana Coconut Mini Bundts

 

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Sitting here at midnight, only thinking about the transience of so much. Day by day, shadows work their way around my feet. Before I’ve even come to terms with fact that term time is almost up, people in other unis have started summer, champagne bottles are being popped. Hyperactivity everywhere.

With all the frantic house-hunting and exam stress (and worrying over the efficacy of actual study technique), there’s comfort in the close strong bonds you know you always have with loved ones, and the smell of something warm and sugary rising in the oven. I knew I had to use my one precious, scratched mini bundt pan at some point before the end of first term. I hauled all my stuff from Singapore for a reason, right? Yeah, it’s been a while, but mea culpa.

Before I move on, a few things that’ve caught my eye this week. I do feel more inclined to share what I read regularly on this platform, which is pretty much everything nutrition/science-related:

Fascinating

Darya keeps linking the best, most informative and relevant articles

‘good science writing is not just about about turning over conventional wisdom about complex things.’ So much yes.

Love this man. A great retelling

And now.

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The fluffiest, softest mini cakes you will ever make, stuffed with mashed banana, topped with a coconut milk icing.

Now with blogging comes honesty. I’m not kidding when I add the ‘you will ever make’ bit, because they really truly are.  I just can’t kid when it comes to this sort of thing. Despite its ease and speed, this recipe has yielded the softest cake texture I have attempted by far. Stuff of cloudy dreams. I hate overhyping something, but the excitement is all too real right now. THE absolute best bit?

It’s all made in one bowl, just a bit of mixing, no elbow grease or sweat or fiddling whatsoever. No worrying about whether you have to ‘make time’, because you will have the time.

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These little cakes really are quite special. Perhaps it’s the irresistible fluff factor, or the mashed banana in the middle, making it a triple-layer banana hit. Probably both, not forgetting the slightly balmy, creamy addition of coconut. The next time I make these, I’ll add more coconut extract for an extra exotic kick. The delicacy of the crumb in this cake deserves the trueness of flavour.

You definitely don’t need a mini bundt pan for these, and can do the same thing in a mini muffin tin, or spread the batter in a square tin and bake for the same amount of time, then cut little squares/whatever your wild heart desires out of the final product.

And if you’re in the mood for more…

Feeling like cookie butter?

Or perhaps a little lemony?

Clearly I’ve run out of humour.

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One Bowl Banana Coconut Mini Bundts with Coconut Icing (makes 12-14 mini cakes)

Ingredients

For the cakes:

60g soft, unsalted butter

1 1/2 mashed bananas (should amount to a half cup)

an additional 2 mashed bananas for the filling

225g (1 cup) white sugar

2 eggs

60ml each of coconut cream and coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

190g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour mixed with a half tsp of baking powder (alternatively, use self-raising flour)

quarter teaspoon of salt

 

For the coconut milk icing:

2-3 tbsp coconut cream (or use coconut milk)

75g icing sugar

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and butter your mini cake/bundt/muffin tin. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and mashed banana together in a microwave to add a little caramelised effect to your already-ripe bananas, around 20 seconds. Pour contents into a larger bowl (makes mixing a bit easier later on), then add all the other ingredients for the cake, except for the 2 mashed bananas which you need for the filling afterwards.

Spoon a tablespoonful of batter into the bottom of a well in your tin, add a teaspoon of mashed banana in the middle, then fill the rest of the well with batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes (mine were fine at 18). Whilst they are baking, mix the icing ingredients in a bowl and set aside. It’s hard to test for doneness due to the moist banana filling, but a little poke into the sides with a wooden skewer should reveal a mostly clean tip. A few moist crumbs clinging to the tip are fine; these cakes are pretty fragile and need to rest in the tin for a good 20 minutes before removing anyway.

If using a mini bundt pan, use a serrated knife to cut the tops off (these make wonderful little snacks). Loosen the edges with a blunt knife (just use a normal dinner knife), then tip the pan over to remove the little cakes. You don’t need to do this if using a normal muffin or cake tin. Drizzle with the coconut icing and top with coconut flakes. Fragile, sugarplum fairy-esque teatime treats await.

 

 

Mini Lemon Bundts

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Lemon’s taking up all the oxygen in the room. It’s a good thing. If you’re as obsessed with the ingredient as me, that is.

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FYI, I cut the tops off the guys before removing them from the pan just for the picture; it’s twice as efficient to remove them with their domes first (I may be dim but not toooo dim)!

There’s something so endearing about each mini bundt I popped out of the pan. This recipe yields exactly 12 light, springy, lemon-filled balls of sponge. Sponge of medium density, of average sophistication, of half-cake-half-gooey-sponge pleasure. The secret lies in the use of plain yoghurt, which made the little cakes moist but not doughy, and sufficiently dense but well-risen. I adapted the recipe from Nigella’s cookbook, and it’s my personal go-to for something simple, light, lemony, and pleasing. See the tops I cut off? Oh goodness, please save those. The tops boast the sugary, browned crusts, sharp and bit stiff when bitten into, giving way to the most pleasurable, mildly sweet and lemony bite. Coo for crust. These have it all.

Mini Lemon Bundts (makes 12 4-inch wide mini bundts)

150g all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

75g melted, unsalted butter, cooled slightly

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

2 eggs

110ml natural yoghurt or sour cream

large pinch of salt

125g white caster sugar

For the icing: 170g icing sugar, one teaspoon vanilla extract and the juice of one lemon (do this to taste)

Preheat the oven to 170C. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a measuring jug or smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, lemon zest, juice and yoghurt. Pour the wet into the dry mix and slowly mix everything together, transferring from a wooden spoon to a spatula. the batter should a little thick, of spoon-dropping consistency. Make sure that there are no lumps or streaks of flour at the bottom. Grease your mini bundt tin and pour the batter into the molds. Bake in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the buns in the oven, make the icing. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. The mix should be thick and runny, not too opaque, and  won’t harden after a few seconds of stirring in the bowl. If you need more liquid, add more water, drop by drop. Once the bundts are done, remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Pour the icing on once they’re cool; it’s actually fine to do so when they’re still a little warm because the heat will help the icing along down the sides.

Mini Speculoos Bundts

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I’m sure a few of you would have come across the term ‘caveman diet’ in some magazine, book or newspaper article. The whole phenomenon is intriguing and sensible; we basically are advocating a reverting to our ancestors’ lifestyle in the hopes that such a change will propel some sort of advancement in human health. We’ll be healthier, have lower BMIs, stronger bones, etc. It’s all very well and good, right? In a sense, yes. The diet itself is meant to promote a healthier lifestyle. You eat more red meat, fruits, vegetables and natural whole grains, whilst reducing the amount of processed wheat and dairy you consume. You benefit from increased energy and concentration, and better blood sugar levels which don’t shoot up and down like a roller coaster like 90% of the American population. When I first came across this idea, I took it lightly, the brioche and caffeine and egg fan that I am. Heck, the usual ingredients I touch in the kitchen are refined flours, eggs and sugar. Everything which promotes slower metabolisms, obesity, impeded thinking, and heart disease. In one way or another, indirect or not. And now, despite acknowledging its benefits, my attitude towards the caveman phenomenon hasn’t changed drastically. But why scoff at something proven to be beneficial?

I mentioned one of my favourite books in a previous post– The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman. His writing is superb, impactful; I haven’t come across another book which has altered my perspective on the human body quite as much. The thing is, we as humans evolve to accommodate change. We are so darn flexible, proven by the fact that we aren’t all dead at this point in modern time. I don’t think we need to fully revert to the caveman diet because our bodies have evolved to accommodate all that is available to us. I’m not saying we should gorge ourselves on cakes and sweets all day throughout the year, but in the end, eating more red meat and completely eliminating all the pleasures of the world (you know what I mean here) won’t exactly do your mood or health a tremendous amount of good. I’m no nutritionist, but can’t we advocate balance and not rigid dietary restrictions? I personally cannot take stomach a lot of red meat because I feel as if I have a little animal cemetery cradling my stomach afterward, hence I tend to eat more fish. Let’s just not stop having the cupcake, or mini bundt, treat on the weekend. Let’s live for the balance of what us, these smart cookies, have grown to learn, tweak and love. I’m all for the (occasional) elimination of those horrid processed foods, aka anything in a packet, but sweet tooths, I’m on your side. Go ahead, bake a tray of these. I implore you!

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My mum recently bought mountains of speculoos/biscoff cookie spread for her own kitchen experiments. Yes, another reason why I love her so much. Lotus Biscuits are actually the best thing dunked into hot and milky English Breakfast tea. And there are a million things one can dip into hot and milky tea. Speculoos and cream cheese has been done before, and I love how this recipe incorporates both without overwhelming either flavour. The speculoos is the obvious flavour in the cake batter, which is on the slightly denser side to hold up the integrity of a robust mini bundt. Topped with crushed speculoos biscuits, salted caramel sauce (had some extra left over), and coconut date sugar. The cream cheese frosting and crushed biscuits are enough here; I just happened to have leftover ingredients which amped up the light and otherwise more predictable bites of speculoos heaven.

The crushed biscuits on top offer the loveliest texture contrast. The recipe itself is so simple because the speculoos spread already has flavours like cinnamon and vanilla, so the rest is just a matter of 5-minute mixing, tops.

Speculoos Mini Bundts (makes 12, adapted from Baked Bree)

58g soft, unsalted butter

140g Speculoos/Biscoff spread (a half cup)

225g (1 cup) white sugar

2 eggs

80ml whole milk

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

188g all-purpose flour (around 1.5 cups)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

quarter teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese frosting:

113g softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g icing sugar

2-3 tablespoons milk (test according to preferred consistency)

Preheat your oven to 177C and butter a mini bundt or cupcake tin. In a small bowl, briefly whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the speculoos spread, butter and white sugar. Beat for at least a minute, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mix and mix briefly to incorporatel the mix should look a bit dry but still sticky. Pour in the milk and fold in to incorporate. The batter shouldn’t be too thick or thin, and will resist ever so slightly when allowed to drop from the spatula.

Fill the cupcake/bundt molds full with the batter. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Mine were done at the 18-minute mark. Test the inside by poking in a wooden skewer. They should have risen significantly but still look smooth and golden-brown on top. Allow the bundts to cool on a wire rack whilst you make the cream cheese glaze. Beat together the icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. Add milk, a teaspoon or tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Remove the bundts from the pan once cool and using a knife, cut off the tops. This step obviously isn’t necessary if you’re just making cupcakes! The cupcake tops you get from making mini bundts are like an added bonus. I had a couple toasted for breakfast the other morning and they go wonderfully with nut butter and honey…. or the classic butter and marmalade, though the cake is already pretty sweet on its own. Place the bundts the right way up on the cooling rack, and drizzle the cream cheese glaze on top, allowing it to dribble down the sides, down the ridges formed by the cute little molds.

Optional: Sprinkle crushed speculoos biscuits on top