hainanese butter cake

one of the best butter cakes I’ve made – and one that stood out with a fine crumb, an intensely buttery flavor, and a very clean cut.

I’m not sure about the authenticity of this recipe, but this is meant to be a hainanese butter cake, something popular in traditional coffee shops in malaysia and singapore. the hainanese are a race of chinese known for culinary prowess: white poached chicken with fragrant chicken rice balls, pork chops and curry, and this sort of butter cake.

this cake is very special, and unlike the ones I’ve posted about before which have a more distinctly-moist, yellow cake type texture. very fine crumbs bound together in a compact – but not dense – fashion, it is buttery but does not feel greasy, moist enough to stand on its own but like the best of tea cakes, has a dry enough crumb that holds up well alongside a cup of tea or coffee (as its more traditionally served). it cuts superbly well and yields to bites very neatly – the compact crumbs hold together without any elasticity.

I feel like that that’s as many adjectives that I can string together without even coming ¬†close to the beauty of this cake, so I can only say for you to try it, and let me know whether you feel the same way. this might be my favourite butter cake to date.

p.s. if you’re wondering why my pot (my mixing bowl, really) is on a rack above my oven, that’s because I baked this cake on the spur on the moment and hadn’t softened the butter yet. this worked very well for the few minutes that I spent assembling everything else!

hainanese butter cake with a chocolate marble (adapted from my kitchen snippets)

175g butter
140g sugar
4 eggs, separated
165g self-raising flour
0.25 tsp salt
25ml milk
28g milk/dark chocolate

    1. grease and line a 6″ pan (or use whatever pan or mould you want!), and preheat the oven to 160C.
    2. sieve flour and salt together. beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add yolks separately and beat after each to mix, then add milk and beat in. if it looks curdled because your ingredients aren’t all at room temperature, don’t worry too much!
    3. fold the dry ingredients into the batter in three batches, gently but thoroughly.
    4. whisk the eggs until they hold soft peaks (I may have thrown in a pinch of cream of tartar to stabilize their volume). fold this into the mix, careful not to deflate the whites too much.
    5. remove 1.5 tbsp of batter and mix it with the cooled, melted chocolate.
    6. pour this into your pan and dollop the chocolate mixture over the surface; use a thin skewer to create a slight marble. bake until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake is golden brown on top.

6 thoughts on “hainanese butter cake

  1. nicely done! maybe I’ll make this for the festive season – using the “I’m hainanese, try some of this hainanese cake” as an opener :P

  2. Pingback: butter cake-muffins | andmorefood

  3. Pingback: marble cake | andmorefood

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