THE bahulu gulung, also known as kaya Swiss roll or Hainanese kaya roll, is usually available at old kopitiam eateries, alongside the butter cake, kaya puff and other Hainanese confectionery.
A good kaya Swiss roll is a rare find these days as many old-timers have passed away and the tradition of making this sweet treat is not carried on by the next generation.
While the Swiss roll from other regions may be filled with fruit, jam, whipped cream and/or buttercream, the bahulu gulung is truly Malaysian because it is filled with kaya.
Make sure you use the freshest kaya you can get for best results, or better still, make your own.
Bahulu gulung was the first cake that my sister baked when she studied home science in secondary school.
I had to retrieve her old textbooks in order to find this recipe.
Without any oil or baking powder in the batter, the cake’s light and fluffy texture is achieved by whisking air into the eggs.
It is important to whisk until the eggs turn almost completely white.
This is where a stand mixer comes in handy.
While it usually takes about 15 minutes with an electric hand mixer, or about half an hour by hand, it is just five minutes with a stand mixer.
When the cake is done, it needs to be turned out onto dusted parchment paper and rolled while still hot. This extra step creates creases in the sheet cake so it won’t crack as it cools down.
After the cake is filled, roll it into a tight coil and wrap in parchment to cool completely.
Kaya Swiss Roll (Bahulu Gulung)
3 large eggs
85g castor sugar
85g all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp warm water
1 tbs icing sugar
1 tbs cooking oil
1. Preheat oven to 225°C.
2. Line 25x38cm (10x15inch) baking tray with parchment paper and grease with 1 tablespoon cooking oil.
3. Whisk eggs with castor sugar until white and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 15 minutes with a hand mixer.
4. Sift flour and gently fold into egg batter in small batches. Add warm water in the last batch and fold in until well incorporated.5. Pour batter into a baking tray and spread out evenly into the corners, levelling the top.
6. Bake in centre rack of the oven for 8 minutes until top is lightly golden.
7. While the cake is baking, place parchment paper on a damp towel and dust with icing sugar.
8. When the cake is ready, remove from oven and turn over onto the dusted parchment.
9. Peel off bottom parchment and trim away any jagged edges if necessary.
10. While the cake is still hot, pre- roll cake to prevent cracks.
11. Unroll the cake and spread kaya all over it.
12. With the help of the parchment paper, roll cake again into a tight coil. Keep cake wrapped in parchment to cool.
13. Cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) slices and serve.