I chose S. E. Asia as the theme this month because I wanted to make something for my husband K. I am near the end of my pregnancy and K has had to put up with quite a bit from me over the past 8.5 months, so I wanted to say thanks and to show him a little gratitude. K loves desserts….and what better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach!
K is from Singapore and because we have not been able to go back for a visit for a while now and won’t be able to visit for at least another 6 months he has really been missing the foods from his home, so I figured I would try to bring a little bit of S.E. Asia to Sydney :)
Unfortunately, August is a winter month in Sydney, so a lot of the beautiful tropical fruits which are available year-round in S.E. Asia are not readily available. Anyways – I did what I could and used coconut and pineapple as my key ingredients this month to make a pineapple and coconut layered sponge cake.
The layered sponge cake was inspired by the layered kuehs (cakes found in S.E. Asia) which are readily available in Singapore. The kuehs that I have seen are made of flour, sticky rice flour or gelatin, but what I find unique about these cakes is that most kuehs consist of many thin layers. Whenever I am in S.E. Asia I fill myself up on all the different types of kuehs that I can find and love eating the kuehs layer by layer. I do not have the skill to make the fine kueh layers … so my rendition is more of a traditional sponge layered cake.
The base of my recipe is a sponge cake and the filling is a home-made pineapple jam cooked with star anise and cinnamon. The pineapple jam recipe is an adaptation of the jam balls used in pineapple tarts, another traditional Singaporean/Malaysian food that K grew up with. I also made some pineapple tarts, but didn’t have the proper tart mould, so just made small round tarts.
The layers of the sponge are lightly soaked in a coconut cream and the top of the cake is a mixture of icing sugar and coconut milk powder.
The end result is a fluffy sponge filled with a slightly tart pineapple jam and a hint of coconut flavor. The cake can be served on its own or is also delicious with coconut ice cream!