She must have been about 17 or 18 and I about 4 or 5 because I remember standing in my grandaunt's kitchen having agreed, with a nod, to a cookie or something when my young aunt had asked me if I wanted a snack.
Kneeling in front of me she tried to coax and bribe me out of my shyness so that I asked for it by speaking up. I couldn't.
So I simply stood there, blinking, head down, tongue tied while I felt my lips pursing up, hoping she would give it to me still because I really, really wanted it. And of course she did.
That was my first memory of my Aunt Montel.
Thirty years on I found myself coaxing recipes from her instead. Recipes that she would not normally share because those were her trade secrets.
Food was a constant in her home even at the oddest hours. I think she was born with a whisk and a wok in each hand and landed feet first in the kitchen.She was a foodie in every sense of the word.
Sadly, she passed on a couple of months ago, a little too early. She will be missed by those who knew her through food and by us, her nephews and nieces, because she never did have children of her own, her husband having died a day after their wedding. And she, never having remarried since.
But she did not depart in vain. I have kept a couple of her treasured recipes that I had pried from her over the years. And of course the memories.
So when Ju, The Little Teochew, emailed and asked me if I had a sugee cake recipe that I could share with her my Aunt Montel came immediately to mind.
I searched for the brown tattered exercise book where I had scribbled the recipe. It was nowhere to be found. Then I remembered that I had had it typed out, printed and filed safely between plastic covers in my old recipe file. I wiped the years of dust off and emailed Ju.
And now Aunt Montel's sugee cake is going to be famous-amos because I'm blogging about it in synchrony with Ju, The Little Teochew, the first person I am sharing it with. And, strangely, with the rest of the world as well.
I'm quite sure my aunt would have proudly and happily consented and I'm quite sure too that she is now happily reunited with her husband.
I knew Ju was going to bake it as beautifully as she always does and make my aunt very proud.
She did a spectacular job!!! Just look at that cake!!
Ju did however make some adaptations to the original recipe and please credit Ju, The Little Teochew adapted from Cherry on The Cake
, if you decide to follow her adapted recipe.
Thank you Ju! I think this makes Ju and I related no? :)
~ wipes tear~The original recipe...............
250 gm butter, softened
250 castor sugar
125 SR Flour
1 tsp baking powder
125 gm semolina flour
50 gm cashews, ground
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp buttercream essence
5 eggs plus 1 yolk, the whole eggs separated
Preheat oven to 150 C,
Stir semolina flour, Self Raising flour, baking powder and nuts together in a bowl and leave aside.
Seperate all the eggs. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Add cold milk, vanilla extract and buttercream essence and mix well.
In another bowl beat egg whites till stiff. Fold in flour mixture into creamed mixture. Then fold in beaten egg whites gently until well mixed.
Bake 150 C for 50-60 mins until skewer comes out clean.NOTES FROM JU, THE LITTLE TEOCHEW.....
~ I used a rectangular 6x9x3 inch pan
~ I reduced sugar from 250 gm to 220 gm
~ I did not beat the eggs separately and it still turned out ok
~I used ground almonds instead of ground cashews
~If you don't have buttercream essence use brandy instead or rose essence
~ I increased the vanilla extract from 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons
~ I have seen recipes where a pinch of cinnamon is added. Just a thought.
~ Tent the cake batter with foil because the high sugar content makes the cake brown too quickly
~ For topping I used almond slivers, Gently sprinkle them over the cake batter before putting it in the oven
Hop over to Ju's for more photos!!!!!
Photos by courtesy of JU...