This butter cake recipe is well-loved by Kok Weng’s wife and friends.
As founder and owner of KW Chan Medical Clinic and Surgery, Chan Kok Weng’s schedule was always full before the pandemic. To relax, he tests out new recipes he finds from the World Wide Web.
“I think I have a discerning palate and good culinary skills,” says Kok Weng.
Where did he learn how to cook?
“On my own,” he continues. “Although my mum is a good cook, growing up, I was never in the kitchen.”
Despite being self-taught, Kok Weng loves experimenting and trying out new ideas. In fact, this butter cake recipe was scoured from the Internet, according to him.
So what of the taste? “My wife, Elaine [Lim-Chan], loves butter cake and so this is the perfect recipe to share. The flavour is spot-on, exactly the way I (and she!) like it — soft, buttery, and moist. This is truly baking out of love, since it is really for her, although all the people who have tried the cake love it, and have asked me to bake more.”
To enjoy this butter cake, Kok Weng suggests eating it warm with coffee, tea or a very dry white wine.
Here’s the recipe.
230g salted butter, room temperature, preferably Golden Churn Tinned Butter or
230g unsalted butter (+ additional ½ teaspoon salt)
4 egg yolks
150g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
200 gm all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
60 gm fresh milk full fat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
50g castor sugar
- Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced) and position rack on the lower third of the oven
- Line one 8′′ x 8′′ light coloured baking pan with baking paper
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Slowly add the sugar in and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped egg whites to a separate bowl and set it aside until needed
- In the same stand mixer bowl (without having to clean it), attach the paddle attachment to the mixer, mix on medium-high till the concoction of butter, sugar (remaining 150 gm) and salt becomes creamy, light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times in between the beating process to ensure the butter is evenly mixed and nothing sticks to the bowl
- Scrape the bowl again and with the mixer beating on medium, add the egg yolks, one a time ensuring it’s fully incorporated before adding the next yolk
- Add vanilla extract and mix to combine
- Sift half of the flour mixture into the bowl and beat on low until incorporated (do not over mix)
- Add the milk and beat on low until fully incorporated
- Sift in the remaining flour and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is fully incorporated and gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture. If you notice your meringue has started to deflate during the period that you were making your yolk batter, just use a whisk to revive it back to stiff peaks. (I just use the whisk attachment to give it a good fluff)
- Gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two batches until all the egg whites have been incorporated
- Transfer the batter to your lined baking pan and use a spatula to smoothen the top. Give the pan a few good “bangs” on your bench top to get rid of any big bubbles
- Bake at 160°C for 40 to 45 minutes rotating the pan halfway to ensure even baking. If this is done right, there shouldn’t be any cracks on the surface and and you shouldn’t have to adjust the temperature of the oven, the cake should come out nice and golden
- The cake is done when a skewer down the middle comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool fully. For a flat top with the classic grate marks, cool the cake inverted on the wire rack (do not remove the baking paper from the base of the cake as it cools to allow the steam to remain trapped within the cake for a more “moist” result)