I first tasted tape or tapai in Bandung, Indonesia. My friend R’s mum loves tapai singkong, also known as fermented cassava or tapioca. According to R’s mum, the tapai from Bandung is very nice and sweet. I had a bite and it was an odd taste, sweet with a slightly sour aftertaste and a strong alcoholic smell.
Recently I learnt you can make cakes from tapai. I got so caught up with this idea of making cake with tapai, I proceeded to make my own tapai from scratch. It is truly simple. Just peel, wash and steam tapioca until cooked. Then crush a ball of yeast and sprinkle all over the cooked tapioca. Wrap up in banana leaves and leave it at room temperature for 3 days. Then you get tapai.
However, the quality of the tapai depends on the quality of the yeast. My tapai was not sweet enough, probably because I did not add enough yeast and maybe because the yeast I used was chinese wine yeast I bought from the medical hall. The amount of yeast is supposed to be 0.1 grams per 100 grams of tapioca. I didn’t see this youtube video until after I made my tapai.
So this is my tapai, from day 1 to day 3.
No one shows tapai unwrapped at day 1 and 2. When I unwrapped at day 1, I was shocked at the hairy look. I showed R the picture and she said “Woman, your tapai got beard!”. I almost wanted to throw the tapai away but R told me to wait and see how it is at day 3. By day 3, the beard was gone. The smell was normal and I bravely took a tiny bite. It was not sweet and did not have a strong alcoholic smell. I placed all the tapai in a airtight container into the fridge. It stayed there for another 2 weeks before I made this cake.
On the day I made this cake, I tasted the tapai again. It was definitely sweeter than before with a stronger alcoholic smell.
Fermented tapioca cake with cheese (adapted from iloveicookibake)
- 300 grams fermented tapioca (tapai), mashed
- 4 tbsp condensed milk
- 200 grams unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200 grams castor sugar
- 6 eggs
- 250 grams plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 grams grated cheddar cheese
- 50 grams grated cheddar cheese for topping
- Line a 8 inch square pan. Preheat oven to 170 C.
- Sift flour with baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat tapai, condensed milk, butter and salt until fluffy and creamy.
- Beat eggs with sugar until ribbon stage.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add in tapai mixture.
- Fold in dry ingredients in a few additions.
- Fold in 100 grams grated cheddar cheese.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
- Take cake out and spread cheddar cheese topping evenly.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, until a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool completely before slicing.
The taste of the tapai is not strong. There is just a subtle hint of it as you chew. The cake is moist and denser in texture than a normal butter cake. I brought a few slices to R and her mum and they say the cake is nice. My dad thinks the cake is a bit hard though. Perhaps the egg separation method would be more ideal to make this cake. I think when making a cake with tuberous roots mashed in, the cake tends to turn out harder.