It is good to be back on the IMBB wagon after missing the last two editions. IMBB 13 is hosted by one of my favourite food blogger, Maki of i was just really very hungry and the brilliant theme she has chosen is cupcakes.
Cupcakes, muffins or fairy cakes, I adore them all. I was having a hard time deciding what to make when I thought of the Chinese cupcakes I grew up eating. Known as huat kueh 发糕 (prosperity cake), it does not have icing and it is not even baked. However, the huat kueh is truly a cupcake as the cake is steamed in little Chinese tea cups.
A vital feature of the huat kueh is that the top of the cake has to crack open like a flower. A huat kueh that does not "bloom" loses its auspicious meaning even though it is still edible. That is probably the reason why in recent years store bought huat kueh tend to be over generous with baking powder to ensure the cakes bloom. After throwing away yet another huat kueh with a horrible chemical after taste, I decided to try making one myself. Just in time for IMBB too.
Huat Kueh (Fatt Koh)
200g muscovado or dark brown sugar
300g Hong Kong flour (low gluten flour used in Chinese pastries, substitute with cake flour if unavailable)
60g rice flour
4 tsp double acting baking powder
Bring the 400ml water to a boil and add sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolve. Leave the sugar solution to cool.
Arrange Chinese tea cups or a 12 bun ½ cup muffin tin in a wok. Add water to the wok and bring it to a boil. At the same time the tea cups will be heated up by the steam.
Sieve the Hong Kong flour, rice flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the sugar solution into the flour, using a whisk to mix. Alternatively, if you are lazy like I am, use a standmixer. Make sure that there are no lumps in the batter.
Make sure water in the wok is at a roaring boil. Pour the batter into the hot tea cups to at least 80% full. If using muffin tin, place cupcake liners in the tin before pouring the batter. Steam for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake. Do not open the lid for the first 10 minutes however or the cake may go flat.
Don't mean to toot my own horn but these home made huat kueh are the best I have ever tasted. They are fluffy, moist and have that intense flavour of muscovado sugar which I love.