There was much a buzz when Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, given our colonial roots and heritage – it was really no surprise that this buzz would also hit Malaysia. I remembered my co-workers talking about it nonstop with the tv in the pantry area showing the wedding. Of course the most important part of the wedding to me was the food! Lots of yummy delights were showcased.
One in particular stood out which was the Royal Wedding Biscuit Cake:
Apparently it’s a childhood favourite of the Prince and he requested it to be served as an alternative to the official wedding cake (which I believe was a fruit cake. Yucks I hate fruit cakes with a passion!!!). When the commentators were describing the cake it sounded awfully familiar to a certain Malaysian cake called “Kek Batik” (Batik Cake). I’m really not sure why it’s called Kek Batik, perhaps it’s because the biscuits pieces are reminiscent of a batik pattern? Who knows. A little Googling here and there showed that yes they were indeed the same cake! The difference is in the flavouring ingredients which have been adapted to suit Malaysian tastes (and also economic costs since Chocolate and Nuts back in the day were really expensive).
The differences are as follows:
Calls for teatime biscuits, chocolate and nuts of some kind.
Calls for Marie biscuits, Cocoa Powder and Milo Powder (contains no nuts).
I decided to see if I could marry the two. My initial recipe experiments showed that the British version lacked that familiar taste that I like from the Malaysian version and was way too firm but the pure Malaysian version lacked the richness and chocolateyness that the British one had. After several experiments, when I was about ready to give up, I stumbled upon an Australian Recipe (from the Junior Masterchef Cookbook) that uses Digestive Biscuits and Golden Syrup. Aha! The Golden Syrup was the very thing I needed to thin the chocolate without losing the consistency and flavouring! Also the use of the savoury Digestive Biscuits was quite ingenious actually as I always find the McVities Teatime and Marie biscuits far too sweet. So I incorporated those elements it into my next test and voila, I found the Kek Batik that had all the key components that I’d been searching for. Absolutely Malaysian in taste but still having the richness that the British one has.
A note on the chocolate:
I prefer to use semi-sweet or cooking chocolate because it’s less sweet and more chocolatey in flavour than Milk chocolate. I wouldn’t use dark chocolate because it gets a bit too bitter and while I suppose you could use couverture chocolate, honestly it’s a bit of a waste since you thin the chocolate out with Golden Syrup anyway. I’ve used semi-sweet and couverture and found the difference to be marginal and I preferred semi-sweet (or maybe the couverture chocolate we get in Malaysia is nasty, I’m sure if I used a Varlhona it would taste delightful? Who knows.)
A note on the nuts:
You can use any nuts that you fancy but I find that pistachios (which is called for in most of the British recipes) mixed with the chocolate and biscuits are absolutely heavenly. Almonds didn’t really make much of a difference in taste and Walnuts were really interesting for texture.
Hope you guys enjoy it!
Kek Batik Prince William (sorry couldn’t resist with the name!).
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra
1 tsp salt (if butter is not salted)
20 digestive biscuits (each biscuit cut into 4 quarters)
300g semi-sweet/cooking chocolate (chopped into pieces)
230g ( 2⁄ 3 cup) golden syrup
45g (1/3 cup) roasted pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
45g ( 1⁄ 3 cup) roasted walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsps of Milo powder (100% ghetto but 100% Malaysian!)
Cocoa powder, to dust
1. Melt the butter till it liquifies then mix the Milo powder till you get a chocolatey butter liquid. You’re gonna find the Milo powder to be clumpy when you add it to the butter so just add some muscle power into your whisking and whisk it over medium high heat.
2. Next add to the chocolatey butter liquid, the semi-sweet chocolate and golden syrup and melt everything together until smooth. Don’t let the liquid boil or the chocolate will burn so keep an eye on the fire. Add some salt to taste if your butter isn’t salted. Salt is a good thing when it comes to baking, don’t be afraid of it. 🙂
3. Meanwhile, mix the biscuits and nuts into a large bowl.
4. Add the chocolate mixture to the biscuits and nuts. Mix it evenly (but not too hard as you don’t want to break your biscuits). It’s gonna be really sticky at this point so just put more muscle power into the mixing (goodness you can get quite a workout from baking this cake!).
5. Put into a loaf tin (25cm X 18cm lined and greased so you can easily pop the cake out). Using a wet spoon to press the cake down into the loaf pan so there’s no air pockets and you create an even surface.
6. Put 1-2 hours in the fridge to firm out.
7. Take out the kek batik out of loaf tin and than sprinkle cocoa powder. You can also sprinkle Milo powder if you like it a little on the sweet side.