Steamed Cake (a.k.a. Bolu Kukus)

I finally did it, yaayyyy!!!!
Another traditional Indonesian snack. There's nothing special about this, the texture is soft and dense (just like any other steamed cake) but it also brings back memories.

But what made me so happy is that this is the first time I finally make it 'smile' :). In case you don't know (which I'm sure many of you don't), although this is a very simple cake, it's not easy to make them 'smile'. There even a thing called "The curse of bolu kukus" (bolu=cake ; kukus=steamed), seriously, no kidding. There have been so many people failed making this cake, including me :(, I made it at least four times in the past but never had any luck. Usually the batter just rised and just like any other cake, it formed a dome on top, instead of crack and divide itself into a couple of sections.

Unfortunately, there wasn't anybody at home when I opened the steamer top, to share this special happiness, hahaha...but there is a special joy inside of you that makes you want to jump up and down when you open the steamer with a mixed feeling between curiosity, fear, and find that all of them are opened. By the way, I didn't jump up and down though. I was about to, but then I wonder what if the neighbor saw me (there's a glass door behind the kitchen)? I just smiled when I saw those cute little things had happily rise and opened :). So yaay!!

Per request from some people, here's the recipe for this steamed cake:

Steamed Cake (Bolu Kukus)

250 g sugar
250 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs
200 g coconut milk (or substitute with regular milk)
10 g emulsifier
vanila powder/extract or other flavoring
food coloring (optional)
  • Prepare your steamer. Don't put too much water in it as the boiling water can splash into the batter. Boil the water on a high heat. Wrap the lid with large kitchen towel so that the water won't drop into the batter as well.
  • Mix all of the ingredients above into the mixer bowl, except the food coloring. Beat for about 10-15 minutes if using heavy duty mixer (such as Kitchen Aid), or approximately 20-30 minutes if using hand mixer. Beat until the batter is light and a little thick.
  • Divide the batter into the number of color you want to have. Color each batter with the desired coloring.
  • Take the individual steamed cake mold that has been lined with either parchment paper or muffin cup liner. Fill each mold with batter until almost full (more than 3/4 the height of the mold). Alternate the color to get a pretty color.
  • Put them inside the steamer (be very careful as the steam can REALLY burn your hand). It is recommended that you don't put the batter in double layer even though your steamer can accommodate that. The upper layer will have some condensation the water will drop to the bottom layer. If you have leftover batter, it can wait until the first batch is done.
  • Steam for approximately 10-15 minutes. DO NOT open the lid before 10 minutes!!
  • Be ready to see them smiling at you :)
  • Coconut milk contains fat, and therefore will make the cake moister compared to milk. You won't taste the coconut milk in the finished cake though.


Breadpitt said...

haha, i knows how it feels when u finaly get somethin right after few times of failure. i even scream sometimes , lol!

Unknown said...

Berrr... mau dong resep bolu kukusnya... :P

Anonymous said...

Hi Bertha,
Do you where I can buy bolu kukus mold in USA?

Anonymous said...

sopholowwhat is the emulsifier you mentioned in the ingredients? i'd like to try this recipe but I wonder what is emulsifier. thanks

Anonymous said...

where do i get emulsifier? thanks

Bertha said...

anonymous: In SJ, I can find it at Asian supermarket. It might be hard to get depending on where you are. But you should be able to make it without it if you beat it until thick.