Food & Drink Magazine

My "Very Singapore" Merlion Kuih Bahulu / Kueh Bahulu

By Zoebakeforhappykids @bake4happykids
Me baking these merlion kuih bahulu?

Am I patriotic Singaporean?
I ask myself this question with a nervous chuckle. What do you think?


kuih kueh bahulu

My "very Singapore" Merlion kuih bahulu

I love Singapore because it is the place where I grew up with the most wonderful memories.


When I know that Grace, Life can be Simple is hosting Asian Food Fest (AFF) with Singapore theme, I know that my Merlion cake mold is FINALLY going to be handy... LOL!
I know. I know. I have to clarify here that Kuih Bahulu / Kueh Bahulu is far less for being the most iconic Singapore food.
I know. I know too that Kuih Bahulu / Kueh Bahulu is not an essential Singapore food like Singapore Chilli Crabs, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow or Wonton Mee. However, in the shape of Merlion (an iconic Singapore mascot), I reckon these Kuih Bahulu are surely Singapore enough.
Strangely, the Kuih Bahulu recipe that I'm using here seems to be not the typical all-crispy kind as only the area of the kuih that is exposed to the oven heat is nicely browned and crispy but the rest is NOT being golden but amazingly moist and fluffy!!! Some typical Kuih Bahulu can be dry and even hard to swallow and these are definitely NOT!!!

Why this recipe??? Honestly, I chose this recipe because it is the first hit when I Googled for "kuih bahulu recipe"... LOL! According to Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover), these kuih bahulu are made with traditional methods like adding fizzy drink to aerate the batter and also adding heated sugar and flour to make the batter. Like Sonia, I don't really know the rationale of heating the sugar and flour but like choose to follow recipe adapting these most traditional ways.I have to warn you that these super light and slightly crispy little kuih bahulu can be super addictive to eat as I can eat like five in a flash especially when they were freshly baked from the oven!

My grandma told me before that adding fizzy drink helps to aerate some cake batter. Totally agree!

Another traditional practice: Both flour and sugar have to be heated before adding into the cake batter. I'm sticking to this method. Yes to re-invent the wheel!!!

It takes 20 minutes to beat the batter until fluffy. Then, stir in fizzy drink before the addition of flour.

Brush the moulds with canola oil

One mold can bake 7 mini bahulu but I can eat 5 in a go... Ops! Gotta stop eating!!!

kuih kueh bahulu

These are the surviving bahulu but not for long. 

kuih kueh bahulu

Notice that they are brown on their bottoms but golden throughout?

Nevermind!!! As long as they are amazingly moist and fluffy!


Here's the recipe that I have adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover

(The most major modification that I have done is to use 3/5 of Sonia's recipe to bake smaller quantity of kuihs. That's all!)

Makes 35 small kuihs plus 6 larger merlion kuihs

3 large eggs, 80g each, cold from fridge
90g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
100g all purpose flour
2 tbsp fizzy drink (I used regular Sprite)

Cooking oil, preferably canola oil, for greasing

Pre-heated oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Place sugar in a shallow ovenproof dish and place in oven for 2 mins or until sugar is well heated throughout. Make sure that the sugar is removed from the oven before it starts to melt.

Meanwhile, combine salt and eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer attached with a whisk attachment. Beat mixture with a high speed for about 2-3 mins or until it begins to look fluffy.

Reduce beating speed to medium high. While beating, add the heated sugar gradually and continue to beat for 20 mins until mixture has triple in volume and also look thick and pale. Reduce the beating speed to low and beat for another 3 mins.

While beating the egg mixture, place flour in a shallow ovenproof dish and place in the oven for 2 mins. Set aside to cool. 

Reduce the beating speed to the lowest speed. Add fizzy drink and then, sift in the cooled flour into the egg mixture. Mix gently with the very low speed until mixture is well combined and smooth. Do not over mix.

Change the oven setting to 200°C with no fan. Brush oil on Bahulu mold and place it in the oven to heat for about 2-3 mins. Remove the mold from the oven, spoon mixture into heated mold. Bake for 11 mins (no fan) at middle rack or until golden brown.

Remove mold from oven and use a skewer to prick the cake out of the mold. Allow the bahulu to cool on a wire rack completely. 

Grease the mold again. Place the mold in the oven for 2-3 mins and use the pre-heated mold to bake the remaining bahulu. Repeat this cycle until all the batter is used up.

Tip: For crisper bahulu, Sonia has mentioned that the Bahulu can be baked at 180°C for an additional 5 mins but I didn't do that.

Store them in an air-tight container when the bahulu are completely cooled.

Happy Baking


I'm submitting this post to the Singapore event of Asian Food Fest (AFF) at here organised by Wendy, Table for 2 and hosted by Grace, Life can be Simple.

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