Friday, April 1, 2011

Chinese White Sugar Cake ( Pak Tong Koh 白糖糕 )

 This cake or 'kueh' gives me kind of some nolstalgic feeling. It's like going back to old times..imagining myself wearing a cheongsam , hair tied up in a bun, sitting on those old antique wooden chairs that are yet elegant in style, marble tables, probably hearing some sounds of ringing bells from the trishaw nearby and enjoying the cake. Ha! Probably i watched too many old chinese dramas when i was young and yeah, i hear about this cake a lot in those dramas. This is just one very old traditional kueh. I've made this kueh several times, each time a different recipe..some turned out to be quite tough, some smell yeasty, some with very little honeycomb effect..etc. The one that i'm showing now is okay but still not too satisfactory . The sweetness is alright, the texture is's not tough ,it's smooth and springy but i just wish there could be more honeycomb effect...or maybe it's my mixing skills..I still think that the ones that i usually get from outside looks much prettier. So this is not the ultimate recipe yet..

Recipe taken from Homemade Dishes by Patsie Cheong)
Ingredients A
230gm rice flour
150ml water

Ingredients B
180gm castor sugar
380ml water

Ingredients C
1/2 tsp yeast
2 tbsps water

Ingredients D
1/8 tsp oil
1 drop of alkaline water

1. Bring(B) to boil and pour it into (A) mixture. When cool, add in (C). Allow 2 hours for fermentation.
2. When tiny bubbles form all over the surface, add in (D) and blend evenly. Pour batter into a steaming tray about 1 inch thick and steam for 25minutes. ( i used 6"x6" square tin )

You can also hop over to My Kitchen Snippet and Table for 2 or more for more on this white sugar cake. The honeycomb effect on their cakes are beautiful , using different recipes.


  1. Heehee, it's great that a little desert can bring so much nostalgic feelings! I think I have a couple too, I would remember myself as a chubby little gal running around with my dog in the back yard in the old house. Not so elegant huh, lol! Anyway, let me know when you find the pefect recipe, I also want to try...see can transform into a more elegant memory / illusion, heehee! Tks!

  2. You are right about this dessert. When I was small, sometimes my dad would buy this from town and I love the sweet chewy texture of this kuih. Have not made this in years, the one I made was fermented for 8 hours, did not know where is the recipe now! Got to dig out my old files!

  3. i have yet to get my hands on this, have to try one day. Thanks for sharing.

  4. you're so cute hahah it already looks good enough to me. sometimes we can't beat those commercially sold cos they have all the fancy machinery to help in the mixing.

  5. i know my mum like this! you made it sooo nicely! (: (:

  6. this is one of my favorite steamed chinese kueh!

    This recipe needs only 2 hours for fermentation huh? alkaline water is lye water yeah?

  7. my childhood fav dessert! yummy!

  8. The surface of your kuih looks so smooth & nice. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Btw, if we're back to older days I think you don't even want to make kuih. Cause before you can cook you must start up the fire first... with woods! hahaha... So, do you think you still want to go back in times? Have a great weekend.

  9. This recipe came at a perfect time! I'm going to "shao mu" soon and instead of buying the cake, I shall make this since it was my grandfather's fave when he was still around :)

  10. Very long didn't come across this type of kuih liao!

  11. Hi Lena,
    Your Pak Tong Koh look nice & soft, very nice, how wonderful of you and TQ for sharing.

  12. Oh I can imagine u in the cheongsam and a bun :)
    You'd look fabulous!!
    I think there's too little yeast, try it with more yeast.

  13. Ha ha great description of your kueh memories. It is usually the smell of this kueh this will bring me to my childhood. Ate this a lot for breakfast :)

  14. hi bee, i think the version that wendy made was good and that needs long fermentation process. Maybe i'll try that one day.

    hi kitchen flavours: 8 hours is still tolerable, i think the next time i make this must use one recipe that takes long fermentation hours.

    sonia: oh really..i hope youwill make this kueh one day so that i can also learn from you

    jean: i dont know but the ones that i usually get are pretty good..dont know what's their secret recipe..

    jasmine: thank you , my mum too is quite fond of this !

    alan: yeah 2 hrs..shortcut version..for impatient people like me. yes, u right, the alkaline water= lye water.

    jess..i actually love eating kuehs..all sorts of kuehs..unlike most of the kuehs are made using coconut milk, i still enjoy eating this.

    kristy: haha! maybe got to find and chop the woods first before even start to think of cooking..half dead already by then!!

    janine: great to hear's not a bad idea to make kuih for his birthday since it's his fav!

    hey pete: pasar malam!

    delphine: thanks so much! appreciate your comments!

  15. I think these look beautiful!never mind not so many holes as long as tasty...:)Cheers! I love your lemon chicken dish by the way

  16. One of the things I miss most is certainly Asian chewy kueh...I remember eating something similar quite often when I was much younger...

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  18. Hi Lena

    Thanks for posting another great recipe :-)


  19. I think these days it is hard to find a place that sells nice 白糖糕. The taste seems to have differed from what I ate during my younger days. Just my thoughts. :)

  20. I have never tried this cake before, but I think it must be delicious. I've never baked cakes using yeast before either. Maybe I should put my hair up in a bun and wear my cheongsam and start cracking at these. :)

  21. wendy: ha! maybe like 'ah por'. The next time i make this, probably i'll use your recipe, the aunty yochana's one.

    hi gert: whenever i see stalls selling them, i cant help myself to get a piece of that!

    hi jeannie: yeah i know, we shldnt expect too much..cheers!

    cooking gallery: i'm sure you can also make this much simpler than bentos!!

    BFAQueen: hi! thanks a lot, will hop over to your blog!!

    thank you ron and have a nice day!

    hanushi: oh really? then you shld try making some..there are actually quite a number of recipes out there

    crustabakes: haha! i wld like to see you in cheongsam too!

  22. Haven't had pak tong koh for some while...I wish I could have a few slices now :-))

  23. My goodness! I havent eaten or tried making this in years! U are inspiring me to make some!

  24. dear angie, i think it's not easy to get pak tong koh where you live but i know that you can make this very well too!

    hi daphne: please do..i wld love to see your version of pak tong koh !

  25. Hi Lena,
    For your Pak Tong Koh, is the ingredient B (sugar & water) after boiling directly pour into A mixture at boiling point. Do we have to mix ingredient C before adding into the cool mixture? The alkaline water only 1 drop. TQ so much.

  26. Hi Lena,
    Sorry, I forgotten to ask, do I need to oil the steaming tray, also can I add a drop colouring to it. TQ.

  27. hello delphine: yes, you pour (b) into (A) at boiling point to cook the rice flour mixture. Only add in (c) after that mixture has cooled down or else it will kill the yeast. just a small drop of alkaline water will do, actually i was hesitating earlier whether to include this or not but just afraid that the kuih may turn out very soft. I did not grease the steaming tray, you cld lighly grease if you problem. yes, you can add colouring to it if you really want but pak tong koh supposed to be white, haha! you can also replace the white sugar with brown sugar if you want a brown pak tong koh. Hope this helps.

  28. Lena,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me & your prompt reply. Yes, Pak Tong Koh suppose to be white, but my aunty want a little of colouring for Cheng Ming this week. TQ.

  29. Hi Lena,
    I failed in my Pak Tong Koh, do not know why, it is rather wet after steaming, I steamed 40 minutes cos 25 minutes it is wet in the centre. I could not get a dough when mixing Ingredient A and it looks as if water not enough. I think I have to try again. I am disappointed. Ha! Ha.

  30. hi delphine: as far as i can remember, you will not get a dough after mixing in ingredient a, just stir and mix the rice flour with the water and add in ingredient B , the mixture is quite watery. From there, just let it ferment by itself, it may takes slightly more than 2 hrs ..just wait till bubbles form all over the surface. Let me know the outcome if you're doing that again.

  31. Thanks Lena, will let you know onces I try again, I will.

  32. wow, you do know traditional dessert making. I am amazed.

  33. I tried your took mine about 40minutes to cook...and somehow, the honeycomb effect is only on the bottom half of the kuih with the top part smooth, besides...the kuih is rather soft instead of crunchy....
    Do you have any idea what might went wrong?

    For the adding of ingredient C, do you mix the yeast and the water, then only pour into the mixture or you add them one by one directly into the mixture?

    Also, do you stir the mixture after adding ingredient C?

    One last one. My steamer is rather small, so I have to steam in 2 batches. Will that affect the 2nd batch which waited around 40 minutes after the last step to get steamed?

  34. hello yeong seong, i mixed the yeast and the water together to dissolve the yeast and after adding that, yes, i stir the mixture.

    no, i dont think it will affect the 2nd batches tho i never tried steaming in batches. You stir again the fermented batter before pouring into your steaming tin. Sorry i do not know why you hv a very soft texture, can i know did you add in the alkaline water? as for the honeycombe effect, as you can see, i also did not get a very nice honeycombe effect but you can try ferment it longer.

  35. Thank you for replying....

    Yes, I did put the alkaline water and it was like a few small drops...maybe my alkaline water not effective? earlier I made kuih kosui, it also came out soft...

    i will try to ferment it longer the next time..