I have to admit that I have never tasted this cake before even though I’m from Sarawak. Together with Kek Belacan, these cakes seem to have sprung up and became very popular around the mid/late nineties in Sarawak just after I have left the country. So although I kept hearing the names of these cakes mentioned to me, I have not got the opportunity to taste them.
The Batik Cake to me looks very similar to the Hedgehog Slice from Australia and New Zealand. Although Hedgehog Slice is more like a chocolate biscuit in texture and less like a cake. As far as I know, Batik Cake is supposed to have a soft and fudgy texture. After consulting numerous recipes from the net, all the recipes for Batik Cake seemed to be slightly different from each other in terms of ingredients, some even got fried peanuts that has been ground, or Nestlé’s Nestum, the breakfast cereal very popular in South East Asia. But the technique was the same for most of the recipes, to cook the mixture on the stove top until it thickened into a custard, almost like making a ‘chocolate/milo kaya’. So it amused me no end when most of the recipes I found asked for creaming of the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then to cook it with other ingredients, and stirring all the more, on the stove. This makes no sense as cooking and stirring the creamed butter would just melt it again, losing all the air that you beat so hard in the first place into the mixture. It would make more sense if the cake mixture is then baked or steamed, instead of cooking on the stove, which would keep the cake fluffy in texture. Then again, fluffiness is not what we want in this fudgy cake, is it?
So armed with the knowledge of the most commonly found ingredients in various recipes needed to make this cake, I concorted my own basic recipe, and made it like I was making a ‘kaya’, but I cooked it straight in the saucepan instead of the double-boiler method which I always used for making kaya. The resultant custard was not as smooth, but that did not matter as it would become fudgy after firming up in the refrigerator. The cake turned out very well luckily, with a very soft fudgy texture and quite a strong chocolatey flavour. It remainded me of fudge icing though not as sweet, or even the soft undercooked centre of some chocolate cakes, or the centre of the melting chocolate puddings that had set after cooling.
These are Malaysian produced Marie biscuits with their packagings.
Makes one loaf
100g (3/4 cup) milo *
25g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder *
125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
190g (3/4 cup) butter, cut into large chunks
200g (1/2 tin) sweetened condensed milk
110g (1/2 cup) white granulated sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g (1 packet) Arnott’s Marie biscuits
* You may adjust the amount of milo and cocoa powder to your taste, for example 1/2 cup milo and 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
This is the Arnott’s brand Marie biscuits I used.
1. Roughly break each bisuits into quarters, set aside. Line the base and two long sides of a 23cm x 9cm x 7cm deep loaf tin (or other loaf tin with a capacity of at least 5 cups or 1.25L) with baking paper, lightly grease the inside of the tin so the paper sticks to the tin, extending paper 2-3cm above edge of tin. Grease or line both short sides with a small piece of baking paper.
2. Slowly add boiling water to milo and cocoa in a saucepan, stirring vigorously until it is smooth. Add butter, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla to the saucepan.
3. Place over moderate heat and cook, stirring all the time with a whisk or a spoon, until you feel the bottom starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
4. Turn heat down to low, and continue to cook, stirring without stopping, for about another 20 minutes, or until a thick custard forms.
5. Transfer the thick custard to a large mixing bowl, add quartered biscuits. Mix until all the biscuits are coated with the custard.
6. Transfer mixture to the prepared tin. Press down firmly so there are no air pockets in the mixture. Bang the tin on the bench a couple of times to settle the mixture, fold the paper extensions over the top and press down to even the surface. Then let cool to the touch.
7. Cover with cling film and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
8. When the cake is firm, use the paper extension as handle to pull the cake out of the tin (you might need to loosen the paper from the sides of the tin first by sliding a knife between the paper lining and the sides of the tin). Slice and serve with coffee or tea.
Taste: Fudgy chilled cake
Consume: Best within 3-4 days
Storage: Store in airtight container in the refrigerator
Recipe References: -