Thursday, January 28, 2010


She must have been about 17 or 18 and I about 4 or 5 because I remember standing in my grandaunt's kitchen having agreed, with a nod, to a cookie or something when my young aunt had asked me if I wanted a snack.

Kneeling in front of me she tried to coax and bribe me out of my shyness so that I asked for it by speaking up. I couldn't. 

So I simply stood there, blinking, head down, tongue tied while I felt my lips pursing up, hoping she would give it to me still because I really, really wanted it. And of course she did. 

That was my first memory of my Aunt Montel.

Thirty years on I found myself coaxing recipes from her instead. Recipes that she would not normally share because those were her trade secrets. 

Food was a constant in her home even at the oddest hours.  I think she was born with a whisk and a wok in each hand and landed feet first in the kitchen.She was a foodie in every sense of the word.

Sadly, she passed on a couple of months ago, a little too early. She will be missed by those who knew her through food and by us, her nephews and nieces, because she never did have children of her own, her husband having died a day after their wedding. And she, never having remarried since.

But she did not depart in vain. I have kept a couple of her treasured recipes that I had pried from her over the years. And of course the memories.

So when Ju, The Little Teochew, emailed and asked me if I had a sugee cake recipe that I could share with her my Aunt Montel came immediately to mind. 

I searched for the brown tattered exercise book where I had scribbled the recipe. It was nowhere to be found. Then I remembered that I had had it typed out, printed and filed safely between plastic covers in my old recipe file. I wiped the years of dust off and emailed Ju.

And now Aunt Montel's sugee cake is going to be famous-amos because I'm blogging about it in synchrony with Ju, The Little Teochew, the first person I am sharing it with. And, strangely, with the rest of the world as well.

I'm quite sure my aunt would have proudly and happily consented and I'm quite sure too that she is now happily reunited with her husband.

I knew Ju was going to bake it as beautifully as she always does and make my aunt very proud.

She did a spectacular job!!! Just look at that cake!!

Ju did however make some adaptations to the original recipe and please credit Ju, The Little Teochew adapted from Cherry on The Cake, if  you decide to follow her adapted recipe. 

Thank you Ju! I think this makes Ju and I related no?   :)        

~ wipes tear~

The original recipe...............

250 gm butter, softened
250 castor sugar
125 SR Flour
1 tsp baking powder
125 gm semolina flour
50 gm cashews, ground
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp buttercream essence
5 eggs plus 1 yolk, the whole eggs separated

Preheat oven to 150 C,

Stir semolina flour, Self Raising flour, baking powder and nuts together in a bowl and leave aside.

Seperate all the eggs. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Add cold milk, vanilla extract and buttercream essence and mix well.

In another bowl beat egg whites till stiff. Fold in flour mixture into creamed mixture. Then fold in beaten egg whites gently until well mixed.

Bake 150 C for 50-60 mins until skewer comes out clean.


~ I used a rectangular 6x9x3 inch pan

~ I reduced sugar from 250 gm to 220 gm

~ I did not beat the eggs separately and it still turned out ok

~I used ground almonds instead of ground cashews

~If you don't have buttercream essence use brandy instead or rose essence

~ I increased the vanilla extract from 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons

~ I have seen recipes where a pinch of cinnamon is added. Just a thought.

~ Tent the cake batter with foil because the high sugar content makes the cake brown too quickly

~ For topping I used almond slivers, Gently sprinkle them over the cake batter before putting it in the oven

Hop over to Ju's for more photos!!!!!


Duchess of Tea said...

Darling you have a deliciously lovely blog and a new follower…me. I will return often to visit with you.

Love & Hugs

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Zurin, thank you again! It's my honour and privilege to be the first to bake using this recipe. Truly it is! This lil collaboration has been fun, hasn't it?! :)))

Quinn said...

Zu, the link doesn't work, wanna check again? The link I'm talking about is the one ...please credit with adaption......

Zurin said...

Aww gee thank you sweet of you!! :)))

Memória said...

You and Ju are too cute! There's a lot of wiping tears going on over there hahaha. Thanks for sharing your aunt's recipe with the world.

Federica Simoni said...

wow wow che meraviglia!!! complimenti per questa delizia!! un abbraccio!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Indeed, this is a rather brilliant collaboration! I can imagine the fun you girls have over this...:)

3 hungry tummies said...

This is the second time I'm see this cake today! What a wonderful cake!

La Table De Nana said...

First at Ju's then here..I am so happy to see you are finally related:) Great family..

Zurin what a nice story.. "a whisk and a wok.. now that could be a new quote of the day.."

Thank you for sharing the cake recipe and your story..Sorry about the passing of your aunt..Yes she must be happy you are sharing a nd yes she must be with her beloved..:)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I have not tried sugee cake before, but it almost look like a butter cake for me. Thank you for sharing.

Irene's Footprints said...

2 posts at the same time. Wonderful fun baking!

Nat said...

Mummy, i successfully promoted your blog for the 2nd time to some good friends whom I believe will appreciate your blog. So what do i get in return lar?

Btw, never that knew about Nen Montel's sad story...

Nat said...

Btw, Julie & Julia is not out yet, which is strange. Merryl won a Golden Globe for that movie.

We must watch it.

Linda said...

Zu I just love this post from beginning to end....
The cake looks wonderful and the story is as well!

MaryMoh said...

What a touching, sad story! I believe it revives all sweet memories of your aunt writing this post. Love the cake...looks very moist and delicious.

ann low said...

I just told Ju, I wanted to bake this too. Hope that I can find time doing it.

Nadia said...


waah i didn't know that either about nen montel..she's the one we visited before I went to the US, right?

were you shy when you were younger, mummy? that would explain a lot of things about me and the kids if that was the case least won't make me feel so strange.

and btw i LOVE the collaboration with Ju. very nice!! blogging in another form lol

Cookie said...

You 2 are a lovely bunch!

Thanks for sharing the heirloom recipe...

Tasty Trix said...

I am so glad I found this blog through Ju - it's beautiful! I am looking forward to learning a lot from you!

fimere said...

ton cake est bien moelleux ça doit être délicieux bravo
bonne soirée

Unknown said...

I have seen your recipe just now, on the blog of Ju
This cake is so wonderfull, so tasty and I said to Ju how your two blogs was so sunny and warm !

penny aka jeroxie said...

Bookmarked. Making it this weekend. Thanks to Little Teochew for recommending this site too.

ICook4Fun said...

Thanks Zurin for sharing your late aunt recipe here with us. I've been looking for a sugee cake recipe who use less egg yolk and butter. Coming from you I am sure it will be great. I am going to bake this once I come back from KL.

2 Stews said...

What a wonderful story. I followed along envisioning it all. Her legacy lives on....through many, now.

Thanks for is even more special with the collaboration between you and Ju.


Unknown said...

This looks like a great cake. I have added it to my ever growing list of recipes to try. Your aunt may have passed but you have this wonderful memory of her.

Anonymous said...

More sugee cake!! The more the better. Haven't had this cake for ages and I still remember the richness and sweetness of it. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Irene's Footprints said...

Hi Zurin
If I don have buttercream essence or rose essence, could I use more vanilla essence? I didnt know there is such buttercream essence thou.


Mary Bergfeld said...

What a lovely tribute to your Aunt. Her cake sounds delicious and the photos are wonderful. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

susan said...

This is my first visit! I came over from Mari's at Once Upon a Plate. What a wonderful haunting story and deicious recipe! Thanks for sharing Aunt Montel's recipe. I am sorry bout your loss. She evidently left a big impression.

Ninette said...

With the exception of the semolina flour, this looks very much like it could be Filipino. I don't know what buttercream essence is ... where do you get that? I was really moved by your story. I love your Aunt Montel too. They always say that what you do may leave a lasting impression, and her act of kindness to a shy girl has not only touched your life but all of us who benefited from hearing about it.

Su-yin said...

Lovely story, and a lovely cake. I actually don't know if I've had something like this before, but I think I'd really enjoy this cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe. x

Nadji said...

Delicious cake.
I'll try to do it.
See soon

Marysol said...

Aw Zurin, what a bittersweet story (passing tissues around).

Your tribute to your aunt Montel is very sweet, and I'm certain her loving spirit is smiling down on you.

The cake is not only striking, but I'm certain, delicious as well.

Karina said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I will be following your blog.

pigpigscorner said...

I saw this on Ju's blog! Looks so pretty. I've never tried it before though. Sounds really good with all the butter

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Love the the top......Your aunt did well!

MEGAN said...

Oh man, that sounds (and looks) amazing. What brand of SR flour do you use?

[Rhiannon][Wretchdz] said...

Your blog is wonderful and I loved how meaningful this one was.

Divina Pe said...

Recipes do make a wonderful story and the legacy has been passed from one generation to another. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Priscila Benjamin said...

I just baked the cake and it turned out really well...Base of the cake turned really brown so did the there anything I should avoid??

It was wonderful! Thank you so much for the recipe dear.

Lots of love

Priscila Sinnathamby

Zurin said...

Hi Priscilla,
thnx for dropping by :)

in answer to your question...perhaps you cld lower the temperature next time. I hope that helps :)

Priscila Benjamin said...

Sure dear. Thank you once again! =)

I also saw in your recipe that i should have placed a baking sheet which i didnt..My bad the next time i would do that. =)

Cheers Priscila

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your lovely blog. What a beautiful feast for the eyes!

I tried out your recipes for your aunt's Sugee Cake and I'm pleased to report that it is the best recipe I've tried so far. For me, My test for a good Sugee Cake is to eat the cake after it has been kept in the fridge at least 2 days after baking it. If the cake turns out rock hard, that does not pass muster. And so many have not cut it so far. Until yours came along.

Thank you for sharing your recipes. I'll be revisiting your blog often.

Happy blogging!


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