Sunday, March 20, 2011
Steamed Egg Cake ... or as I used to call them in Teochew - Kueh Nerng Kor - was one of my favourite snacks growing up. I remember being exceptionally happy whenever there was a festival. Festivals = larger-than-usual cakes. My grandmother would usually include - among LOTS of other food - this Steamed Egg Cake as prayer offerings. I would be busy playing with the other kids in the 'hood ... but once I got the green light to eat, I would abandon play and greedily wolf the cake down.
Sometimes I would get a cup of Ovaltine to go with it, sometimes a warm glass of freshly brewed barley water. And I would be happy. Those were simple pleasures ... along with collecting stickers and playing five stones, zeropoint and carrom. *wistful smile*
I suppose my love for cotton soft cakes was cultivated from very early on. This Steamed Egg Cake has a very fluffy texture (it is a sponge cake after all). It gets its volume from the air that has been beaten into the eggs. If you beat the eggs long enough, you will definitely get a cake that is light and soft ... and yes, without any need for leavening agents (see Christine's post).
The eggs should be beaten till they are very thick and pale. How pale? It's like the colour of vanilla ice-cream ... a very faint off-white. The batter should be really viscous and creamy ... almost like gently whipped cream. Get these right, and divine fluffiness is yours to devour.
BUT, in keeping with tradition, I do know that people used to add some cream soda (or 7-up) to the batter, to ensure a good rise. I believe it was not easy to find baking soda at that time, so carbonated drinks was the perfect solution. Plus, cream soda has vanillin in it ... which flavours the cake and masks some of the "eggy" smell. Clever, eh?
While I am not one to buy carbonated drinks, I sometimes get free Sprite with pizza deliveries, so I get the perfect excuse to make this Steamed Egg Cake. :)
I personally adore the taste and smell of eggs. If you don't share the same fondness, vanilla extract does the trick, so just add a couple more drops.
- 220g eggs excluding weight of shells (about 4 large eggs)
- 210g caster sugar
- 230g cake flour or top flour (sifted 2 or 3 times)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp cream soda or 7-Up or Sprite
1. Whisk the eggs till frothy, then start adding sugar a little by little, to ensure it is well-incorporated. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until the batter becomes very pale, thick and creamy. This takes time, and there is no shortcut. Meanwhile, heat up your wok, pot or steamer until you get a gentle boil. Do make sure it is large enough to fit the cake tin and has ample space for the batter to rise and the steam to circulate.
2. Fold in the flour in thirds, alternating with the soda, and ending with flour. Once there are no streaks of flour, stop.
3. To steam, either pour the mixture into a bamboo steamer lined with greaseproof paper or use a 6 or 7-inch lined baking tin. Pop it into the wok, pot or steamer - then cover - and steam on high for 30mins.
4. Once done, place the cake on a rack and allow to cool before slicing.
And here's what you should get:
To reheat on the second day, steam gently for 2 or 3 mins, and they'll become pillow soft all over again.
So tell me, did you grow up eating this cake too?
I am submitting this post to International Incident Nostalgia Party, hosted by Penny aka Jeroxie.