Saturday, 14 September 2013

Chinese Steam cakes for Kids


Water                   300ml
Brown Sugar       150g
Rice flour             250g
Eno fruits Salts    2 tbsp

The children simply enjoyed spooning the batter into their assorted cupcake cases. They love to paint the batter into bright rainbow hues. Like making a magic potion, adding a small tea spoon of Eno salts into each cupcake, the bubbling starts to act. Put these into the steam, and in 15-20 minutes, its done!

The blooming like a flower effect is dependent on a number of factors:
  • The amount of Eno added
  • The height/width ratio of the cupcake, the higher, the better
This has been an interesting series of experiments for me.

I have been reading about a couple of theories regarding how to make this particular cake smile. For the Chinese, its called Fa Gao or Huat Kueh. It must blossom up like a flower to get the meaning of prosperity. However a cake that does not blossom, is edible too! Apparently there are so many versions of it, some are made with Pandan leaves extract, which can be very natural green colour. The Malays love to make this cake too, however they are not too concerned with the blooming effect.

There are some theories on how to make it bloom:
  • amount of raising agent
  • height of container must be taller than the width
  • cutting action of a knife aids the blooming
  • amount of batter must be filled to the brim of the container 
To conduct this experiment, we are using the same batter. We are varying the type of containers used, using three types of containers: aluminium cups, 2 different sizes of paper cups. We are using varying amounts of batter and varying amounts of  raising agent. No cutting action was used in this experiment.

Observation of the experiments leads to the following discoveries:
The container shape, cutting action is not a critical factor for blooming.
The blooming will still happen even if the batter did not reach the brim of the container.

The factors affecting the blooming are more likely to be:
the amount of raising agent used and the pressure on the batter.
The green cake has an unusual shape on the smile, as the cake is squashed between other cakes.
When the cake raises to the top of the container, when there is uniform pressure on the cake, it blooms beautifully like the yellow cake and the orange one next to it.

We have to get the proportion of raising and timing of putting the raising agent right. if the duration of starting to steam the cake after putting the raising agent too long, the cake might be dense as the bubbling action is over before the cake is steamed. This results in a flat cake. To get a rounded cake, the raising agent must be doing its work while in the steamer.

Good luck to anyone trying to make this cake. Leave me some comments and pictures if yours turned out well!

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