Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gula Melaka Huat Kueh (椰糖发糕) ~ Palm Sugar Prosperity Steam Cake

Huat kueh (发糕) is really part of my childhood memories. I remembered my mom buying for us whenever there's Pasar Malam (night market) near my house. The piping hot huat kuehs were soft, moist and somewhat chewy. They are also a staple item on the prayers table during festivals. 'Huat' means prosperity and thus, we Chinese really love the connotation of this steam cake.

As we grew older, while these huat kuehs remain a staple on the prayers table, we don't really eat them anymore. Nowadays, my mom buy them from neighbourhood cake shops and they are pretty hard, nothing like the ones we ate last time. So they normally ended up in the dustbin after prayers.

And the story goes that my mom left a huat kueh on top of the fridge after prayers and totally forgot about it. By the time she suddenly remembered it, it was 4 weeks later. Much to her amaze and somewhat disgust, the huat kueh still looked the same as it was 4 weeks ago with no signs of mold or ants eating. Food that doesn't decay or ants touching them after so long normally raise an alarm bell. It made her wondered how much preservative or weird stuff they put into the huat kuehs to keep them this way.

After sharing with me this story, I thought perhaps it's time for us to make our own huat kuehs and at least we know what we put inside these cakes. And late last night, I chanced upon this recipe that used gula melaka (palm sugar) & coconut milk which I already have inside my fridge. The steps looked simple enough, so I started my first attempt at making these huat kuehs in the middle of the night.

This recipe called for self-rising flour which I did not have at home, so I made my own using all-purpose flour. According to a few websites, self-rising flour is essentially flour with baking powder and salt already added to it.

Another small hiccup happened half way through my preparation, I realised after mixing half way that what I had was coconut cream and not coconut milk so my batter was very thick. Based on the photos on the blog where this recipe originated, it looked much watery. I added more water to my batter to thin it.

According to my mom, if the huat kuehs opened/cracked up nicely after steaming, then it is considered successful. And perhaps lady luck is on my side, even with the small hiccup, my first attempt resulted in a rather nicely cracked up cake (or at least for one of it).

Recipe adapted from Guai Shu Shu 

*I have halved the recipe and yield two 7cm by 5cm(H) cupcake cases.

These cakes are steamed in the steamer.


125g self-rising flour #
70g gula melaka (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml coconut cream
80g water
1tbsp oil 
Red coloring (optional)

 # I made my own self-rising flour by whisking together 116g of all-purpose flour, 1+ 1/3 tsp of baking powder and 1/8 tsp of salt

How to do:

1. Melt the gula melaka in coconut cream and water, stirred till well-mixed. I used water bath as I am afraid I might burn the gula melaka and I don't have a microwave oven.

2. Sifted the self-rising flour and baking powder into the gula melaka mixture. Add the oil and stirred till well-mixed.

3. Place the cupcake cases into the steamer and pour the batter into the cases till about 95% full. I placed the cupcake cases in the steamer first as they are rather flimsy so it will be difficult for me to move them after pouring the batter in. 

4. Use a lighting greased knife or scissors to cut a cross sign on top of the batter. I believe this is to help with the cracking.

5. Steam in the steamer using high heat for about 30 minutes or till the skewer comes out clean when insert into the middle of the cake. 

For prayer purposes, we always have a red dot in the middle of the cake. This is optional as it does not affect the taste of the cake.

And here we are, my first huat kueh 'smiling' nicely at me:

:: Gula Melaka Huat Kueh ~ 椰糖发糕 ::


Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House


  1. I love gula melaka huat kueh too, but I seldom try it in Belgium bcos my steamer is not hot enough. Yours look lovely, they were very nicely huat, which means you will have a prosperous year ahead !

    1. Hhehe... yeah! Looking forward to a prosperous year! Wishing that for you too, Miss B!

  2. how many mls is 80g of water? thanks

    1. Hi Chee BL,
      For water, g to ml is 1 to 1.
      So 80g is 80 ml