Malaysian Mini Sponge Cake: Kuih Bahulu, & Kuih Cara Manis

I finally got my Kuih Bahulu mould thanks to my sister, Tiara, for buying, and Alice for importing it to Vancouver!

Kuih Bahulu Mould

Kuih Bahulu is a traditional Malaysian mini sponge cake baked in special moulds of various shapes. It is especially popular in Singapore and Malaysia during traditional festive seasons because it is both delicious and easy to make! Simply putting it, it is the Asian Madeleine leaving out the butter and halving the sugar!

Here is the recipe for the original Kuih Bahulu. As usual, I had to convert it to measuring cups. I halved the recipe as this recipe already makes approximately 30 Kuih Bahulus:

4 large eggs (increased from 3 to 4. On my next attempt, I would use 5 instead)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Optional: 2 tbsp cocoa powder OR 1/4 cup applesauce
I feel that an extra egg would bring the taste closer to the Kuih Bahulu I remember as a child.
Preheat the oven and the mould to 350˚
Use the stiff peak method by whisking the egg whites first, then adding sugar and finally the yolks.
Add the vanilla extract and continue whisking for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
Sift the flours, baking powder and salt twice.
Fold in dry mixture into wet mixture in batches of 3 until well combine.
Fill approximately 1 tablespoon of batter onto each mould and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown in color. Lift the cake out from the corners with a fork and let cool. I think this cake tastes best the day after.

Poof! Fresh outta the oven!

Kuih Bahulu

Delicious Kuih Bahulu!

I packed some into a little box for Jonas’s family! They’ve lived in Singapore for a while and thought it would be a nice little gift.

A little gift for Jonas’s Family!

After making the first batch of Kuih Bahulu, i decided to get creative and try adding chocolate and applesauce flavours into the Kuih Bahulu.
Why applesauce? If you’ve been following my blog, you can see that I sometimes substitute applesauce for butter, as not only is it a healthier replacement, but it also moistens the cake. In Madeleines, butter is heavily employed and I believe that differentiates the taste in our French and Malaysian sponge cakes. I tried mixing in the applesauce (applesauce:flour is 1:4) for 2 batches of the Kuih Bahulus. This indeed did result in a more moist cake on the inside but it completely threw off the taste of traditional Kuih Bahulu! It still tasted good, but definitely not Bahulu-like.

Applesauce and Chocolate Flavoured Kuih Bahulus

Did I mention how exhilarated I got when I found PANDAN PASTE? It was definitely not an easy task here in Vancouver! I literally went into every Chinese / Filipino / Indian grocery store I saw but always walked out disheartened. I even attempted the famous T&T, Osaka Supermarket and strolled the “Asian Foods” section at Superstore and asked many staffs. Nobody knew what I was referring to. I later learned from my colleague that Vietnamese cuisines employ the use of pandan paste / pandan leaves and decided to try a Vietnamese grocery store….. And yes, now I have an abundant source of pandan leaves AND pandan paste!

Kuih Cara Manis

This is a really easy cake to make. I was surprised that the amount of sugar used is absent from all the recipes I’ve seen. “Sugar to fill” was what most of them mentioned. Therefore I had to experiment with my different batches of Kuih Cara Manis and tailored it to my liking. I also thought filling the cake with shredded coconut also added flavour to the cake! Original Recipe


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan paste
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
shredded coconut to fill

Preheat the mould on the stove with medium heat.
Whisk the egg, pandan paste and coconut milk together.
Sift flour and sugar, then fold in with coconut milk mixture.
Grease the mould then fill each mould with 1 tablespoon of batter, followed by approximately 1 teaspoon of shredded coconut in the middle.
Cover the mould with a cooking pan lid. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes or until kuih turns darker green in colour.
Remove with a fork and sandwich two kuihs together. Serve .

Cooking Kuih Cara Manis

Stuffed with shredded sweetened coconut

Kuih Cara Manis


One of the easiest kuihs ever!!! I am submitting both recipes to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.

Kueh Bahulu Assortment