Homemade Ondeh Ondeh Cupcakes, Oh Yeah!

It all started with a request from a friend to bake a cake with gula melaka and ended with my rendition of ondeh ondeh in cupcake form. If you don’t know what gula melaka is, it’s essentially palm sugar. I really wanted the whole ondeh experience, from the oozing gula melaka wrapped inside the sweet potato base coated with coconut. So I went googling and found a couple of recipes which I thought might work. First up was the sweet potato cupcake recipe from Better Homes and Garden, which I’ve adapted below.

Sweet Potato Cupcake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 500g mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon pandan extract


  • Preheat the oven to 175 degree celcius and line your cupcake tin
  • Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) together
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Mix in the sweet potatoes and pandan extract, beating until well combined
  • Add flour mixture and mix well
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for a minute and then remove from pan and cool completely


  1. The batter will be very thick and it doesn’t really smooth out while baking, so either smooth the surface of the cupcake before baking or pipe the batter into the pans
  2. I made my own pandan essence and added way more than 1 teaspoon, which also made it a nice, lovely green
  3. This is not a fluffy light cupcake recipe, it’s actually quite dense and moist, which works well for this recipe because it almost feels like kueh
  4. Makes 24 cupcakes

I love this coconut frosting from Brown Eyed Baker! I’m not a fan of normal buttercream, so when I want to do a proper buttercream, I always do the meringue buttercream and this coconut version is definitely a keeper. I halved the quantity, which was more than enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Coconut Meringue Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk


  • Mix sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl
  • Place bowl on top of a pot of boiling water and heat the mixture for about 6-8 minutes or until mixture is hot to touch and sugar is all melted
  • Pour heated mixture into mixer and beat on medium high speed until you get a white meringue
  • Reduce speed to low and add in butter slowly, beating well with each addition until glossy and smooth
  • Add in vanilla extract, salt and coconut milk and beat until smooth


  1. Keep beating the mixture!! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in Singapore where it’s hot and humid but it took forever to get my meringue light and fluffy. After adding the butter, the mixture might start looking curdled but just let it continue beating, ignore it for a while and when you get back to it, it’ll be nice and smooth and glossy


  • Make little holes in cupcakes and spoon in the gula melaka syrup and replace the top
  • Pipe buttercream on top and garnish with coconut flakes, if preferred


  1. I got my gula melaka in syrup from, where else but Malacca. If you can’t get your hands on the syrup, make your own by melting gula melaka in some water
  2. The gula melaka will seep into the cake, but if you want the oozing effect, add in the gula melaka just before frosting and serving. The denseness of the cake will prevent the seeping from happening too fast. Otherwise, the taste of gula melaka is still very present even if it doesn’t ooze.

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