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.

 

 

 

Kaya Avocado Nut Butter Cakes

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A homemade gift goes far. In Tuesday’s case, it was my Grandma’s homemade kaya, or coconut jam, lugged all the way from Singapore when my mum came to visit just a few weeks earlier. It was the exact same recipe for the green batch of love I played around with for my kaya maple loaf cake, the recipe for which you can find on Amazon as I speak!! Whew, rush rush rush. Anyways, a throwback was in demand as I held the tubs of curdled emerald goodness. Once again, an odd combination formed the scaffold of more funny kitchen business.

I occasionally find myself refusing to go against instinct for the fast and funny. As a student, the will to carve out day-long space is for something in total artistic favour is admittedly a little impractical with coursework and intense lecture review. There is indeed worth in all that labour, and I look forward to when I can do so without a penny of guilt eating away at the back of my head. It is true creative catharsis.

So you whisk together the dry and wet, fill half your cake molds with the final batter, add a teaspoon of nut butter of choice, then continue filling, then bake. The combination of kaya and avocado was approved by my skeptical flatmate. The best bit, I personally think, is the crusty sugar outside of the whole cake. Mmmmm. Kaya is sweet and, depending on the way you make it or the brand you buy, very coconutty, as green as the pandan leaves used to flavour the homely concoction of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. Avocado pretty much substituted most of the butter in this case, so the final texture of the cake was incredibly tender but not reminiscent of your typical cupcake, which might leave a buttery crumb. Pressing this will leave your fingers dry (and beautifully scented), yet the mouthfeel is airy and moist.

As I’ve touched on before, I do enjoy eating and making vegan meals and desserts, especially after all those silencing documentaries and Youtube lectures I’ve watched on the veggie movement. Though I am not full vegan for personal and family reasons, I will now officially include vegan or at gluten-free versions for all my recipes. I only want this blog to cater to all types of dietary needs, so if any of you feel like something is amiss, please feel free to email or DM me.

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Kaya Avocado Nut Butter Cakes (makes 6-7 cakes)

Ingredients

*= vegan substitute

190g plain flour (*same weight of gluten-free flour)

a generous pinch of salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1  1/2 tsp baking soda

300g kaya (*recipe for vegan kaya below, using 1 sweet potato, 1 tsp pandan extract, 80ml coconut milk and 3 tbsp coconut or maple sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg (*1 mashed banana)

120g white caster sugar (*same weight of coconut sugar)

1 mashed avocado

3 tbsp olive oil

optional: nut butter of choice

 

Directions

*to make vegan kaya: Roast one large sweet potato (about 200g) at 200C for half an hour or until soft and mashable. Using a fork or blender (you pick the easy way out, ha ha), mix with the rest of the stated ingredients. And there you have vegan kaya! You should be able to use all the kaya you make, but weigh out 300g to be sure.

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180C and grease a 8 of your muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients excluding the nut butter and mix well. You should have a thick, green batter of easy dropping consistency. If it’s too thick, add a drop of milk/nut milk until you get the desired consistency.

Fill your cake molds halfway up, then add a teaspoon of  nut butter to the centre, then continue to fill with the batter until the mold is 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve with more nut butter, yoghurt, honey and frozen berries (trust me on this one).

Kaya Maple Loaf Cake

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If I had to choose the one local breakfast item I miss most from Singapore, it would have have have to be good, buttered kaya toast. Made complete with a steaming, frothy cup of teh tarik and half-boiled eggs. Thinking about it is already making me salivate.

Kaya toast to me is the epitome of simplicity done right– warm, charred white toast, the crusts traditionally, almost clinically removed with a sharp serrated knife, slathered thickly and unevenly with unsalted butter and a thick layer of homemade kaya. For those of you who do not know, kaya is basically coconut jam. A creamy, sweet, thick curd made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar. Some days I want butter and marmalade on my toast, others warrant almond butter, honey and banana, and sometimes it’s all about good old butter and kaya. The latter occasion has greatly increased in frequency.

This kaya loaf cake made with olive oil and maple syrup is your favourite local breakfast in one big warm hug of a loaf. It’s :

  • sweet, earthy, tender
  • such a breeze to make!!
  • got the most amazing sweet and crusty top
  • heaven in the morning
  • actually your new wake-up call

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It’s one of the most moist, dense (in a good way) and tender loaf cakes I’ve baked in a while, undoubtedly due to the texture of kaya itself, as well as the addition of olive oil, dark brown sugar and maple syrup.

The components all possess deep, earthy, sensual undertones which complement each other fantastically, the dark brown sugar providing a hint of molasses, the kaya’s almost-fluffy consistency offering milky sweetness and volume. I used nyonya kaya (couldn’t find the traditional brand on Amazon; the link I provide is the closest I could find but you should be able to find it at any oriental supermarket), but Hainanese kaya, which uses caramelised sugar and sometimes honey and is brown instead of green, would work perfectly too.

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Kaya Maple Loaf Cake (makes one standard 9×5-inch loaf), based loosely off my banana bread recipe

Ingredients

190g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

one generous pinch salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup

1 cup kaya (no metric measurement eek– you should be fine!)

2 eggs

120g (1/2 cup, packed) dark brown sugar

2 tbsp plain yoghurt (I used coconut yoghurt for extra pizzaz, but you don’t have to go that far)

120ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crusty top: 2 tbsp dark brown sugar+ 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease (line as well if you wish) a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk together everything else except the ingredients for the crusty top. Pour the dry mix into this wet mix and stir everything together well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Pour the thick, green-tinged mix into your greased loaf tin– the batter should appear quite wet and not very lumpy (like a typical banana bread batter). Mix the topping ingredients briefly with a fork in a small saucer and sprinkle evenly on top.

Bake in your preheated oven for 50 minutes, then remove and let cool for at least a half hour before slicing. Any leftovers can be stored at room temperature for 3-5 days, or kept in the fridge for a week. It’s wonderful toasted on its own, with a smear of salted butter and hot coffee.