Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Secretive Cake

I named this Secretive Cake cos every blogger who made this cake did not share the recipe. There are several names to this cake - Seri Kaya Sarawak Cake, American Midnight Cake and even Kek Belacan. My friends have been giving me recipes on this cake and i have found that the ingredients are pretty much the same and the cake is steamed instead of baked. It has to use a browning sauce to make the cake black. When i got the first recipe, i tried making with gula melaka and it did not turn out black but more like Ma Lai Koh color. Then i made again using coco caramel and mollasses, still not black enough and this time the cake really looked like Belacan. This 3rd trial, i used 2 tbsps of Thick Caramel Sauce from Yuen Chun, longivity brand and the cake is dark enough.


6 ozs(1 1/2 sticks) butter

1/4 cup fine granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

140 ml condensed milk

1/3 cup Kaya

1/4 cup Horlicks

2 tbsp Thick Caramel Sauce/browning sauce


Grease a 8 inch round cake pan and line base and sides with baking paper. Allow the baking paper to extend over the top by 1 inch if using the shorter tin.
Sieve flour with baking powder.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one by one, until well combined.
Beat in sweetened condensed milk and serikaya until well mixed.
Stir in Horlicks until well combined.
Fold in sieved flour. Finally stir in vanilla and browning essence.
Pour batter into prepared tin. Cover the top loosely with a piece of aluminium foil.
Steam over high heat for 30 minutes.
Fill up with more hot water if the steamer is low on water after 30 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium and steam for another 60 minutes, or until cooked (if you wish to keep cake without refrigeration, then it has to be baked for a longer period, perhaps up to 4 hrs and the cake can last a month). Remember to replenish steamer with hot water whenever it is drying up.



thenomadGourmand said...

wahhh..w a title like tat, must try this recipe!

Little Corner of Mine said...

This cake is delicious. If you want a black cake, try using Hershey's special dark cocoa powder. Everything I baked using this turned out black.

Unknown said...

little corner of mine

this is not a choc cake, so cannot use cocoa powder

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily

This cake is so interesting. Will it turn out very sweet as you use sugar, condensed milk, kaya and horlick all together? i just bought the last jar of kaya from a store two days ago. and i have all the ingredients except the caramel sauce thing. can i substitute with something coz i don't want to store the sauce as i don't use it for other purposes?
and how do you make the white colour cream on the cake? i have never tried to make the cream.
thanks for your time.

yeou-lee (Australia)

Family First said...

You are right! Every darn blogger who blogged about this dont wanna share this recipe .. like as if god-sent! You are so nice & generous in sharing this. THanks!

Unknown said...


it is actually not too sweet. I have cut down on the kaya and horlicks as too much was overpowering.

I too do not have the browning sauce and i used thick caramel sauce - dark soya sauce. the cake is just as delicious without being black. The first one i did was like ma lai koh color.

the white cream is Dream Whip and it comes in a packet which is beaten with 1 cup of milk and i added 2 tbsp of icing sugar for flavor.

Emily said...

Oh Lily! Now I know dark soya sauce as thick caramel sauce!! Learnt something new today.

Thanks for the recipe! intriguing!

Anonymous said...


the thick caramel sauce is dark soy sauce? the dark soy sauce which we use to cook meat? that's a bit salty one, right? i thought caramel is sweet taste?
to obtain the black colour, what about the dark brown sugar? will it give the black colour?

i am not sure if they sell that Dream Whip here in the supermarkets. if not, can i do it with fresh cream or something?

Thinking of doing it this weekend....heheheh, can't wait.

by the way, do you know is there any difference between using butter and using margarine in baking corn flakes cookies?


Tuty said...

Did you use home made kaya or store bought? I know that the store bought one is thicker (due to some modified starch) than the home made one. I wonder if it makes any difference.

Thank you.

Unknown said...


margarine which has a melting point only a degree or two above butter will produces a cookie that spreads slightly less than the butter ones. Cookie using shortening spreads less cos shortening has a higher melting point.

fresh cream is superb.

perhaps the slightly saltiness in the dark soya sauce complimented the sweetness in the cake. I have tried with ABC kicap manis but it is not dark enough. since you are in sydney, buy the Queen's browning sauce.

Unknown said...


i always make my own kaya, it is so easy and fresh using the microwave.

Anonymous said...


good morning :) waking up in the middle of the night here in australia to breastfeed baby and feeling hungry afterwards, so I sat down and ate some biscuits and found that you have already read your blog and made the kuih siput. you really like cooking and baking :)

I am living in a country town, Armidale, about 500-600Kms from Sydney. But I will have a look around in the local supermarkets here for the queen's browning sauce.

Thanks for the Julie Tan's website. Though not many baking supplies that she is offering, but I found the jelly mould that I am longing for. couldn't find it here nor in brunei (i went back during Chinese New Year). if you happen to know any other online suppliers, pls let me know. thanks so much.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't find the Dream Whip. I bought a jar 300ml thickened fresh cream instead. can you pls tell me how much cream do i need for this cake?

do i whip this cream with icing sugar only? or do i need to add anything else?

Also, the amount of ingredient for this cake serve how many people (roughly)?


Unknown said...


you are in summer so therefore it is hot. i would suggest that you add 1 tsp of gelatin to the whipped cream.

first add 2 tbsp of water to the gelatin powder and let it swell. use the double boiler method and cook the gelatin until it melts. cool before using - at room temp.

put your whisk and bowl in the fridge if you can have the space, or fill up the bowl with ice and water and leave the whisk there to chill. wipe it dry when it is cold.

Whip the thickened cream until soft peak, do not overwhip or you will end with butter. Add the icing sugar according to how sweet you want. Then add in the gelatin and stir well to combine. Your cream is ready for use. if it is too thick to ice, you can add a little cold milk to a spreading consistency.

the cake although is small is very rich and a tiny slice goes a long way. you can serve 10 - 12 easily.

Anonymous said...


thanks for your reply.
i found this website this morning, hope it helps with the dark color of the cake.


Vivien said...

intriguing combinations, this is the first i heard of such cake, interesting but from your comments, seems like this is more a rich cake instead of light and fluffy cake.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
Yes...i do agree with u this Sarawak Seri Kaya Cake recipe seems so illusive!! I was delighted when Zuraini shared the recipe ( from Delicious Cake book ) in M4M Forum last Nov for this cake -

Serikaya Cake
230g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
5 eggs

(sieved together)
175g plain flour
1 1/2 tsps double-action baking powder

100g condensed milk
150g kaya
125g Horlicks
100g black treacle/browing sauce if you have
200ml evaporated milk

1. Line and grease a 9" round cake tin and prepare your steamer
2. Beat butter and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add in eggs one at a time. Gradually add in ingredient (B) and ingredient (C) alternately until well-combined.
3. Pour batter into cake tin and cover with foil
4. Steam cake for 90 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into cake's centre.

I immediately tried out this recipe and the cake turned out really good! Soft, light, moist and yummy with a hint of kaya/ milo ( cos i subs horlicks with milo as horlicks is rather exp in Australia ) and vanilla. Here is a pic of my cake -

I shared my findings in the M4M forum - My cake is not as dark brown as i did not have the gula hitam browning sauce - this is wht makes the cake color really dark brown, Im told. Instead, I added 2 tbs Queens's Browning sauce n mix well with Lyle's Black treacle ( i think for ppl in US - can use dark mollasses to sub Black Tracle?? )

Susanna, Perth

Olivia said...

Hello Lily

This is definitely an illusive and exotic cake... combination of horlick and milo... hmm yummy.

I am wondering if we can add a little chocolate paste into it to make it a little chocolatey as well as a little more brown?


Unknown said...


you can always try and if you like the taste - then it is good.

in fact when i made it and it was not dark brown, the taste was good

Anonymous said...

Thanks for recipe. Got the Queens Parisian Browning essence from Franklins, NSW, Australia. I think you can get it from most major supermarkets. It is very cheap, less than $1 for quite a big bottle (100 mls). One of your readers is right, Holicks is very expensive here in Aust. I think it is because it is not very popular here, so volume sale is very small.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

I noticed blackstrap molasses is black & recently I had bought a bottle. Can we use blackstrap molasses for the dark effect? If can, do we need to reduce the sugar level? Kindly advise.

Thank you.


Unknown said...


i have used molasses - brand rabbit and it did not make the cake dark enough but the cake tasted just as good. you doo not have to change the recipe, just replace with browning essence with molasses

LunaMoonbeam said...

Oooh...this cake looks like fun!! we love to spread Kaya on our toast, so we always have a tin of it in the pantry. Thank you!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

wor wor, this cake is very interesting, I never eat this before, a cake with kaya, Horlicks and dark soy sauce, I just can't wait to make this to try out the taste. Thanks for your kind sharing. Ya, I also want to check out your microwave version of kaya, sound easy!

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