Food

Singapore Flavours – Sweet Creamy Bandung Cupcakes

These cupcakes not only look sweet, they taste sweet too, but that’s bandung in a nutshell. Most of us Singaporeans grew up drinking bandung, a drink made up of rose syrup and milk. Sweet and creamy, it appeals to every kid in us and when mixed with ice, perfect for our hot, humid weather.

For these bandung cupcakes, I wanted 2 things, rose flavour and creaminess, so I went for a rose-flavoured sponge cake with vanilla custard and rose-flavoured swiss meringue buttercream. Not to toot my own horn, but I think it worked perfectly. The rose flavour in the buttercream is really reminiscent of bandung – taste of nostalgia.

Ingredients

Vanilla Custard

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 (80g) egg yolks
  • 1/3 (75g) cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon (16g) corn flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7g) unsalted softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Rose sponge cupcake (adapted from Joyofbaking) – makes 19 cupcakes

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large (20g) egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup (35g) sifted cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons (30g) corn flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) plus 1 tablespoon (15g) granulated white sugar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon rose flavouring/rose water*
  • touch of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 or 2 drops of pink gel colour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

Bandung Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold (cut into cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon rose flavouring/rose water*
  • 1 or 2 drops of pink gel colour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

* For greater authenticity, you could use F&N Rose Syrup, but you’d need more than 1 teaspoon and it’ll end up making the sponge/buttercream rather sweet. Wouldn’t really recommend that.

Method:

Vanilla Custard

  • Heat milk in heavy saucepan until hot, but not boiling
  • Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn flour and salt until smooth
  • When milk is hot, pour 1/3 to the egg yolk mixture, whisking the mixture all the while to prevent yolks from cooking (put your bowl on a damp cloth to prevent it from moving)
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to mix well
  • Keep whisking/stirring until mixture thickens to a dropping consistency, about 6 – 8 minutes. Don’t let it boil. Remember to scrape the edges of the saucepan to prevent the mixture from burning there.
  • If lumpy, force the custard through a fine sieve. If not, mix in the vanilla extract and softened butter
  • Cover the surface with plastic wrap or wax paper to prevent skin from forming and chill in a fridge for at least3 hours, overnight works as well

Rose sponge cupcake

  • Preheat oven at 230 degree celcius and prepare cupcake liners in muffin tin
  • Separate 2 egg yolks from the white
  • Add 2 whole eggs  and the additional egg yolk to the egg yolks
  • Beat egg yolk mixture with sugar until pale and thick (ribbon stage)
  • Sift cake flour with corn flour
  • Add the flour mixture to the beaten egg mixture in halves, sifting the flour in
  • Add in rose flavouring, vanilla extract (I added the vanilla extract to give greater depth to the flavour) and pink gel colour. Set aside
  • Beat egg whites till bubbles form, add in cream of tar tar
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of sugar when whites become frothy
  • Beat until stiff peaks form
  • Add 1/3 of egg white mixture to loosen up egg yolk mixture and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 8 to 10 minutes
  • Set aside to cool

Bandung Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Place egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof mixing bowl over a bain marie or a pot of simmering water (water should not touch the base of the mixing bowl). Whisk till sugar has completely dissolved (there shouldn’t be any grittiness in the mixture)
  • Transfer bowl to mixer and whisk on high speed until meringue is thick, glossy and is no longer warm (if it’s warm, the butter will melt when it’s added to the meringue)
  • Once meringue is cool, add in butter a bit at a time, ensuring that the butter is properly incorporated with the meringue before adding in another batch. Keep adding until all the butter is used up (in some cases, the buttercream might look like it’s splitting, don’t worry, just let it continue beating, it’ll eventually become become thick and glossy again)
  • Beat in rose flavouring, pink gel colour and salt till well-mixed

Assembly

  • Pipe custard into sponge cupcakes using a filling tip and a piping bag. You can cut a hole in the cupcake and spoon in the custard, but a filling tip makes the job so much easier. Besides, it’s fun to feel the sponge plump to with the custard
  • Pipe on buttercream
  • Voila, Bandung Cupcakes in pretty pink

Bonus – DIY Cupcake Stand

Because I didn’t want to spend money on a cupcake stand and I don’t really have the space to keep multiple cupcake stands, I made my own. Get 3 different sizes of cake boards, decorate it how you want it. Glue plastic wine glasses to the boards to create the layers. Cheap and fast.

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