Singapore Flavours – Cendol Cupcakes

Cendol is one of the most often eaten local dessert in Singapore. It’s a simple dessert consisting of a lot of shaved ice, coconut milk, red beans, cendol (green, jelly-like thing) and gula melaka (palm sugar). When I decided to make cendol cupcakes, I decided to go with a coconut cupcake with red beans and gula melaka buttercream, topped with cendol and kidney beans (just because kidney beans look visually prettier compared to red beans). In an ideal world, I would have made my own cendol, buuuut, buying a packet was much easier.

Ingredients:

Coconut cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 11/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup kidney beans (soaked overnight and cooked till soft with slight bite, reserve 1/4 cup for decoration)

Gula Melaka 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)
  • 6 teaspoon gula melaka syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Decoration

  • 1 packet of cendol for decoration

Method:

Coconut cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 175 Degree Celcius and line muffin tin with paper liners
  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt
  • Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy
  • Add egg and extra egg white and beat till well incorporated
  • Beat in vanilla extract
  • Fold in flour mixture and coconut milk in alternate batches
  • Place 3 or 4 kidney beans in each lined cup
  • Divide batter evenly between lined cups (fill up to approx 1/2 to 3/4 of the way)
  • Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Remove from oven, remove from muffin tin and place on a wire rack to cool

Gula Melaka 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 gula melaka syrup and salt till well-mixed (add as much or as little gula melaka as you like, just make sure that not too much is added until the buttercream becomes too soft)

Assembly

  • Pipe 2 rings of gula melaka swiss meringue buttercream on the cupcake, 1 on top of the other, to create a “nest”
  • Place a teaspoon of cendol and 3 kidney beans in each “nest”
  • Display and serve
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