Steamed Caramel Cupcakes

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October 5, 2006
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I like the texture of these steamed cupcakes cos they are laced with the fragrant gula melaka (Malaccan palm sugar) taste and smell and it doesn’t stick to my teeth every time I take a bite. Absolutely gorgeous and a changed from normal cupcakes!

For those who are thinking “What on earth is this Gula Melaka?” here’s a little description. Gula means sugar in the malay language and Melaka is actually a state in Malaysia. “Gula Melaka” is a type of palm sugar made famous in the state of Malacca, Malaysia. It is a rich dark brown harden sugar made from coconut and caramel-flavoured sugar tapped from palm trees. It is boiled until thickens and poured into bamboo tubes to harden hence taking the bamboo segment shape. Sold in many countries and mainly used to flavour desserts.


150 gm gula Melaka (chopped)
80 ml filtered water
hot water for topping up

80 gm butter (melted)
100 ml evaporated milk
1 egg (slightly beaten)

200 gm self raising flour (sifted)
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
A pinch of salt


  1. Grease heat proof tea cups or coffee cups of your choice with butter.
  2. Caramelize shaved or chopped gula Melaka in filtered water. Put water into small saucepan, then place the shaved Gula Melaka right in the centre.
  3. Bring to boil slowly until consistency becomes thick and gluey. Careful not to burn the sugar. In place of Gula Melaka, one can also use brown sugar, follow the same process.
  4. Pour out into a measuring jug and top up with hot water until 150 ml. Stir well and leave to cool.
  5. Sieve flour, soda bicarbonate and salt together. Make a well in the centre and leave aside.
  6. Add butter, evaporated milk and egg into the cool Gula Melaka sugar. Stir well. Pour mixture into the centre well of the flour and stir consistently with a fork until mixture becomes a smooth batter.
  7. Spoon mixture into the greased cups and place into a preheated steamer for approx. 30 – 35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool, and served drizzled with some melted Gula Melaka.

Note : In order to achieve the cracked top effect, use teacups with a smaller bottom than the top opening. When steamed, the heat will push the cake upwards thus causing the crackling effect.


  1. evan says:

    wow!!! another pro looking work from u audrey! this is simply like an artwork. i love the way the gula melaka flows from the mug. and the mug….its so pretty. very “cafe looking”

  2. babe_kl says:

    does the texture like fatt koe? this one looked so unique

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, looks yummy! Very nice composed picture as well -fuchsia-

  4. Audrey Cooks says:

    Thanks again Evan, I really love taking food photos, very exciting!

    Babe, I think fatt koe has a different taste but the texture is almost the same. Fatt Koe with toddy (fermented coconut water) is lovely but the usual ones we get at our local stalls just lack that ummph and texture. Some just sticks to the teeth like play dough!

    Thanks for your encouragement anonymous! it’s a joy to be able to share what i love with all of u.

  5. evan says:

    malaysians call it fatt koe? in singapore we call huat kueh. more cantonese terms are used in malaysia than singapore i think. we mostly address local food in hokkien, dunno why. anyway its my favorite. i love teaming it with thick slabs of butter :p

  6. Audrey Cooks says:

    Yea Evan, butter goes really well with this little fellow!

  7. boo_licious says:

    Very nice pix – love the flow of sauce from the cup.

  8. Audrey Cooks says:

    Thanks very much boo.

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