steamed cake (a.k.a. Mah Lai Goh), a dim-sum favourite
I have recently been enamoured by steamed cakes. I'm really falling in love with the fact that you can eat the quiveringly tender slices of cake without frosting. It so appeals to my sense of frugality and is a lot friendlier for my waistline.
The best thing of all about steaming your cakes instead of baking them is that you can re-steam leftover slices as you need them (about 3 minutes will do) and you have a wobbly-melt-in-your-mouth fresh cake again. I like to put a few slices on a heat-safe plate, place that on my steaming rack and by the time I have the milk in the glasses and on the table, my daughters have fresh cake again. I prefer steaming on the stove to the microwave; however I imagine you could simulate the same sort of thing in the microwave too for a few seconds. The thing about the microwave though is that after it cools down, you might have a dry slice of cake.
I'm assuming that this cake is called "Mah Lai Goh" because "Mah Lai" is Cantonese for Malaysian and "Goh" means cake. I have no idea if the cake originates in Malaysia but if you know, please do tell. All I know is that it is ubiquitous in Cantonese Dim Sum restaurants. Each restaurant has its own version. Chinese don't use fresh milk in any of their desserts. It's always evaporated milk. This recipe is pretty convenient because most of these items are readily found in the average pantry at any time. The ingredient list is short too.
This particular recipe has been fiddled by me to the point that it hardly resembles any of the recipes I've researched. Instead of using evaporated milk (which of course you can use), I use canned coconut milk. You have to use brown sugar because it gives it the rich caramelly flavour. The only problem I have encountered on occasion during my trials is that the flour may not get incorporated properly and you may have little pockets of unmixed flour. You must take care not to deflate the batter when mixing in the flour mixture. I sift the flour mixture over the batter and use a large balloon whisk and a gentle touch. You must work quickly yet be thorough in your folding.
I like to have my steamer all ready and heated up while I'm folding the batter and pouring it into the prepared pan. Though this cake is certainly yummy, I'm still partial to that Hot & Steamy Chocolate Cake I made before. My girls prefer it and I have to admit, chocolate rules my world (and of course theirs--it must be genetic). This Mah Lai Goh is a nice change of pace though...CAKEBRAIN'S MAH LAI GOH (Malaysian Steamed Cake)
3 large eggs3/4 cup brown sugar3 oz coconut milk (or evaporated milk)1 t. vanilla extract1/4 cup melted unsalted butter1/2 t. baking soda1 cup all-purpose flour1/2 t. baking powder Spray an 8" round pan with Pam and line the bottom with a circle of parchmentBeat 3 eggs and brown sugar in a mixer on med-high speed for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, prepare your steamer. [I used a wok with a steaming rack]. Preheat the steamer by bringing the water to a boil with the lid on.Add the coconut milk, vanilla and melted butter to the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute.Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Resift the flour mixture over the prepared batter. Using a balloon whisk, gently but quickly fold in all the flour so that the batter does not deflate; yet all the flour is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Lightly cover the pan with foil [I slightly tent it] and place the pan on the steaming rack. Cover with the wok lid.Steam for 30 minutes over high heat. CHECK THE WATER LEVEL PERIODICALLY to ensure that you don't boil away all the water. Add sufficient hot water to maintain water level just below the bottom of the pan. The pan should never be submerged, of course!Remove pan and cool the cake; slice and serve.Leftovers can be wrapped in an airtight container. Re-steam leftover slices for 3 minutes on high before serving.