Growing up, we often had huat kueh (as we call it in Teochew) when there was a Chinese religious holiday of some sort. [Apologies for the lack of real information, but my family is Buddhist in name but my brothers and I and our parents never knew anything about Buddhism because our grandparents also didn’t know. They just did what their parents did in terms of praying, but never knew the significance of anything.]
The name huat kueh translates directly as ‘prosperity’ cake, and hence, it is a common sight during Chinese New Year. Chinese families believe that they bring good luck and good fortune. The cake must split on the top, which signifies ‘smiling’, and only cakes that ‘smile’ can be used. Sometimes, cakes that ‘smile’ but are ugly, are also not used.
Anyway, I like huat kueh a lot, and would always make my grandmother make some. Believe it or not, it tastes great freshly steamed with a tiny spread of butter on top. 🙂 One good thing about this cake is that it keeps really well. Steaming it slightly will bring it back to it’s original texture.
Note: My huat kuay is moh beng (pimpled) because I mixed the batter too hurriedly – take your time and you’ll be fine. 🙂
- 3 cups water
- 3-4 oz palm sugar (or substitute with brown sugar)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- pinch of salt
To make the palm sugar solution, shave palm sugar, then dissolve the palm sugar in water and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
When the sugar has dissolved, remove the solution from heat and let cool.
When the solution has cooled, add the eggs and coconut milk.
With a sieve, sift 3 cups of self-raising flour into the coconut milk/egg/palm sugar solution. Mix to combine.
[optional] Run the batter through a wider sieve.
Pour the batter into a 9×9 baking pan (ungreased).
Steam in a steamer for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from steamer, let cool, then slice and serve.