Butterfly Pea Flower Angel Cake

This is my second attempt to make an angel cake (or “angel food cake”), as the first one was not properly baked. It was overly moist and sticky to touch when kept at room temperature. This time round, instead of a plain angel cake, I added some dried butterfly pea flowers to the angel cake to make it more interesting. The indigo flower is very popular in the South East Asia region, and has traditionally been used as a natural coloring for desserts and rice.  In Kelantan, Malaysia, butterfly pea flower is added while cooking rice to give a light bluish tint to the rice known as “nasi kerabu“. The blue extract is also used for coloring glutinous rice to make very popular Nyonya kueh, such as kueh salat (or known as serimuka) and pulut tai tai.

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Since last year, my mum started to plant butterfly pea flower in the backyard. The tropical vine blooms adorable blue flowers every morning. My mum would pick the flowers and dry them under the hot afternoon sun. The dried flowers can be steeped in hot water to make an amazing indigo flower tea. The tea has a very subtle flower scent. It is found to have anti-inflammatory effect, and helps improve skin condition.

Attracted by the beautiful blue hue, I tried to make a butterfly pea flower angel cake using the dried flowers prepared by my mum. Unlike flowers such as lavender, rose or osmanthus, butterfly pea flower does not have distinct scents. Therefore, I added some desiccated coconut to improve the taste. The cake must be stored in fridge because the desiccated coconut turns bad easily at room temperature.

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Ingredients (make one 7″ round cake) [Recipe adapted from Kevin Chai’s Angel Cakes]

Milk 140g
Salt 1g
Corn oil 85ml
Cake flour 140g
A drop of sky blue coloring (optional)
Egg white 240g
Cream of tartar 2g
Sugar 85g
Dried butterfly pea flowers 20-30 flowers
Desiccated coconut 40g

Methods

  1. Line the bottom of a 7″ round cake tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk milk, salt, corn oil, cake flour and 50g of the egg white until well combined.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whip the rest of the egg white with cream of tartar. Add sugar gradually and continue to whip until moderate-to-stiff peak.
  4. Fold the meringue into the milk mixture to form a smooth batter.
  5. Add in the dried butterfly pea flowers and mix well.
  6. Divide the batter into 3 portions. Spread 1/3 of the batter into the cake tin, and sprinkle half of desiccated coconut. Then, spread another 1/3 of the batter and sprinkle the rest of desiccated coconut. Finally, spread the rest of the batter and level the surface.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked.
  8. Remove from oven and cool it upside down on wire rack.
  9. Once cooled, remove cake from cake tin and serve.

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