kek buah kukus

Merry Christmas! 🙂

I’ve never tried steaming a cake for 6 hours before.

Now I have.

steamed fruit cake2

Meet kek buah kukus, or steamed fruit cake. This is an expensive cake to order, since it takes 4- 6 hours of steaming before it is ready.

My first impression on reading this recipe is the same as anyone else’s.

“Wow! No way! Why does it take so long?”

The long steaming time is to ensure the cake will last longer. The cake is moist and thus easy to spoil. I’ve read somewhere of someone who steamed for just 1 1/2 hours. By the end of the day, her cake grew mold.

I added alcohol to my dried fruits. Hehe. I cannot resist. Use orange juice if you do not want alcohol in your cake. I was too tired to manually squeeze out 120 ml of fresh orange juice.

Kek buah kukus (adapted from Azie Kitchen)

  • 525 grams dried fruit mix
    • 150 grams organic dried raisins
    • 150 grams organic dried sultanas
    • 100 grams organic cranberries
    • 100 grams organic apricots, cut into small pieces
    • 25 grams organic candied orange peel*, cut into small pieces
  • 120 ml orange liqueur or orange juice
  • 450 – 600 grams castor sugar (I used 450 grams; use more if you like sweeter cakes)
  • 125 grams water
  • 500 grams butter
  • 600 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Orange syrup for soaking*
  1. Place dried fruit mix in a large pan with the orange liqueur or orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cover and set aside overnight.
  2. Line a 10″ square pan with parchment paper.
  3. Place sugar in a large pan over medium high heat. Let sugar melt and turn brown.
  4. Carefully add in water. It will splatter about. Quickly stir to combine.
  5. Add butter and stir until melted.
  6. Add dried fruit mix and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool till slightly warm.
  7. Sieve dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add into batter by portions. Combine well using a wooden spoon.
  8. Whisk eggs until frothy. Pour into batter. Mix well.
  9. Add vanilla extract. Mix well.
  10. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Cover top of the pan with a layer of aluminum foil. I covered mine with a piece of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil.
  11. Steam for 4 – 6 hours. I have read for 4 hours steaming, to steam at 2 1/2 hours at high heat and 1 1/2 hours at medium heat. I used an electric steamer so I couldn’t control the heat, but I think the electric steamer would not be as powerful as a normal stove. So I decided to steam for 6 hours.
  12. Once done, crack open a bit of the aluminum foil to let the heat escape. 10 minutes later, poke holes all over the cake with a skewer. Drizzle about 2 – 3 tbsp of orange syrup over the cake. You can drizzle more if you like your cake sweeter.
  13. Leave to cool completely before wrapping in cling wrap. Place cake in an airtight container for 2 days before slicing.

* Candied orange peel and orange syrup (adapted from Bright Eyed Baker)

  • 2 organic navel oranges
  • 200 ml water
  • 200 grams sugar
  1. Peel skin from orange. Remove most of the pith from the skin.
  2. Slice thinly.
  3. Add sliced orange peel into a pan of water. Bring to a boil. Drain and wash in cold running water. Repeat twice.
  4. Add sugar and water into a small pot over medium heat.
  5. Stir until sugar melts.
  6. Add in sliced orange peel.
  7. Boil for 45 – 60 minutes until orange peel turns translucent.
  8. Drain the syrup and keep for other use.
  9. Place sliced orange peel on a plate into the fridge. When cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

A wooden spoon is the choice of equipment for this cake. It is said steamed fruit cakes made using the electric beater will be drier. I cannot say if this is true since I do not intend to try. Since I’m expending so much effort to make this cake, it is best to follow instructions. I obediently used a wooden spoon.

Here’s how the cake looks on the day it was steamed and 2 days later.

Day 0
Day 0
Day 2
Day 2

2 days later, I sliced my cake. It seemed dry. I tasted a slice. It was slightly dry. I was quite disappointed.

The next day, I took another slice. It was moist! It tasted way better. I was surprised. It tasted so good. In fact, it was the best fruit cake I’ve ever eaten.

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