Monday, 31 May 2021

We Bare Bears on Pulut Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice) Cake

My friend requested for a We Bare Bears themed birthday cake for her son's 10th birthday. She wanted the bears to be made out of chocolate macarons, but the cake with an Asian flavour of pulut hitam. So here's what I came up with! 

I used the Swiss meringue method for the macarons. Due to my busy schedule in May, I baked the macarons along with some naturally coloured dinosaur macarons. And froze the undecorated macaron shells. 

Sharing some photos of the process... 

Piped batter. I always prepare an extra set in case of butter fingers damaging the macarons. 

Baked shells are decorated with edible markers and royal icing

The macarons are filled with a ring of vanilla white chocolate buttercream and dark chocolate ganache in the middle. You may refer to this post for vanilla white chocolate buttercream. Just omit the fruit jam and add vanilla bean paste/extract. 

Here's the assembled product, looking very much like a goofy version of the Beatles' Abbey Road crosswalk 🤣. 

Quite a few people have expressed interest in my recipe for the cake. Although I have made pulut hitam chiffon sponge numerous times in the past, this is the first time I am pairing it with coconut diplomat cream and more generous helpings of bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge). I must say this is the best pairing so far, compared with my plain chiffon sponge or sponge and pudding versions. I made the coconut diplomat cream less sweet and slightly savoury to complement the sweet black glutinous rice porridge. When all 3 elements (sponge , cream and porridge) are eaten in one bite, it is really heavenly with the burst of flavours and textures. This whole cake can be made totally dairy free too, which I have done. 

To begin, prepare bubur pulut hitam the way you like it according to your preference, but with less coconut milk/coconut cream than you would normally use. If you are clueless, you may refer to this post for how I make mine. I like to use gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) as the sweetener and some pandan leaves for added aroma. You may prepare this in advance, blend it and freeze in packets of 200 to 300g. Make sure it is thawed and at room temperature when using it to make the chiffon sponge. 

You may refer to this post for the chiffon sponge recipe. You may bake it in a chiffon tin, tin with removeable base or as a sheet cake to make swiss roll. Adjust baking temperature and time according to your oven and type /size of cake you are baking. For this request, I baked in a 17cm chiffon tin with another sheet cake to cut circles to cover the hole in the middle. I used caster sugar in the meringue of the chiffon cake batter instead of granulated coconut palm sugar as suggested in my reference recipe as I wanted the cake to be as black as possible without too much brownish tinge to match the zebra crossing macaron. 

Coconut diplomat cream
Ingredients :
220g coconut milk
20g cornflour 
5g Coconut cream powder (optional but I added for extra coconut flavour) 
1/8 tsp salt
25g caster sugar or gula melaka (omit, use less or more according to taste. I omitted because I pair with non dairy whipping cream which is presweetened. Use gula melaka if you want that added flavour and don't mind the brown colour). 
2 egg yolks 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
100g whip topping (or dairy whipping cream if you wish*) 

* dairy whipping cream needs to be sweetened and stabilized if you are using. To do so, heat dairy whipping cream with some sugar to dissolve the sugar. Don't bring to a boil. In the meantime, bloom 1 sheet (2g) gelatin in ice water. Melt the gelatin in warm cream and press cling wrap on surface. Chill until firm or overnight. Use electric heating mixer to whip until firm /stiff peak before using. For non-dairy whipping cream, simply whip until firm/stiff peak with electric mixer. 

1. Place egg yolks, salt, cornflour, coconut cream powder (if using) and sugar (if using) in a heavy bowl or heavy glass measuring jug. Whisk until well combined. 

2. In the meantime, heat coconut milk with vanilla extract until steaming but not boiling. Pour warm milk in a thin stream into egg yolk mixture while whisking the egg yolk mixture continously. This is to temper the egg yolks. Pour everything back into saucepan. 

3. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat while whisking continuously. Be careful to watch the consistency. Once it starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk continuously until smooth. Place saucepan back on heat and continue stirring and cooking until the custard is able to hold a firm peak. 

4. Transfer custard into a bowl and press cling wrap on the surface. Refrigerate overnight or at least 1 h. 

5. Prepare whipped cream of choice. Remove custard from fridge and use a spatula to whip it briefly to loosen it. Fold in the whipped cream. Transfer into piping bag for assembly. 

You may assemble it as a swiss roll by coating the sheet cake with diplomat cream and piping/spooning generous amount of porridge in the middle before rolling. Make sure you cook to porridge until quite thick if you are doing thia version. 

For the layered cake version like mine, slice your sponge into 3 layers with a serrated knife. You may assemble without an acetate sheet if you don't have one. Just pipe neat dollops of cream around the circumference of the sponge cakes for an equally aesthetically pleasing look. Fill the space between sponge layers with generous helping of the porridge and some cream. Here is a photo of how I did it. 

You may fold a little blended porridge into the diplomat cream if you wish to increase the black glutinous rice profile but I was going for aesthetics that matches the zebra crossing that the bears are on. 

I topped off the cake with more coconut diplomat cream and bubur pulut hitam. 

Notice that some of my instructions are vague and with many suggested variations in this recipe as I would encourage you to adjust according to your taste preference and presentation style preference. If you are a fan of bubur pulut hitam like I am, this is THE CAKE to eat! But make sure all 3 elements are in the right proportions and start off by making the best bubur pulut hitam. 

With love,

Phay Shing 


  1. You never disappoint! So pretty and sound delicious 😋 😍 Can't wait to take your class with How to cake it. So exiting

    1. Thank you 😊. I don't have a class with How to cake it😂. That would be Susanne😊.

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