Gula Melaka Sponge Cake

Gula Melaka is an all time favourite which I have baked many many times, mostly as chiffon. I have used and improved this recipe over time in terms of the ratio of dry and wet ingredients and the addition of an extra egg white. I find this recipe most stable, very consistent in texture and of course very yummy.




This sponge cake is dry baked (no waterbath/ bain marie) or steam bake, yet the top is smooth with no crack. I also baked it at a rather high temperature of 170 deg C throughout, with no adjustments, for only 40 min (no slow bake at long durations). So I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth top, soft and fine crumbs cake that resulted. The difference, if I try to pinpoint, is the placement of a cup of water at a corner of the oven to try to keep temperature even, and also the use of an unlined, ungreased loose bottom cake tin. Hope everyone who tries this recipe can get the same beautiful outcome.




Recipe (7″ cake tin, loose bottom, ungreased, unlined)

  • 85g – 90g Gula Melaka (shaved or chopped)
  • 75g coconut milk
  • Few Pandan leaves (optional)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 g cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 95g cake flour or top flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 5 egg whites
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar.


1. Melt Gula Melaka in coconut milk, together with Pandan leaves, under low heat. Stir till all the Gula has melted. Sieve once to improve impurities. Set aside to cool.



2. Whisk egg yolks till light. Add salt and whisk further. Pour in oil in a steady stream while mixing to get a thick mixture like mayonnaise.


3. Pour in melted Gula Melaka mixture in a steady stream while mixing.


4. Next add in sifted flour and baking powder, fold gently with hand whisk till combined. Set aside.


5. Whisk egg whites till large bubbles, add cream of tartar. Continue beating and add sugar progressively. Beat till firm peak.


6. Mix 1/3 meringue into egg yolk mixture to loosen.


7. Pour the mixture back into the remaining meringue and fold gently with spatula till no white streaks can be seen. Pour into a loose bottom ungreased and unlined cake tin. Bang sharply against counter to release big bubbles. Run a satay stick on the surface to release more bubbles.

8. Bake at second lowest rack at 170 deg C for 40 min, till no squishy sound and skewer comes out clean. Place a cup of water at the hotspot of the oven to prevent cracking.


9. Overturn to cool completely before unmoulding.





18 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanne Lim says:

    Hi! Why my cake unmould by itself about 10 minutes later after I overturn it to cool down?


    1. oladybakes says:

      Is your tin ungreased and unlined? It should also not be non stick.


  2. Wei Li says:

    My cake fell out despite using an unlined/ungreased tin with a loose base


    1. oladybakes says:

      Is the tin non stick? Also cake may not be fully baked.


      1. wl says:

        Hi, thanks for the reply, the tin was aluminium, and not non-stick and apart from the “damage” and warped appearance of the cake, when sliced through, seemed to be cooked through and had no “squishy” or damp sound so aside from the inability of it to stay in the pan upside down, it was actually a nice cake with a soft texture…


  3. Leslie says:

    May I know what can I use to substitute coconut milk?


    1. oladybakes says:

      Nothing I can think off.


  4. Phy says:

    May I know what is loose bottom tin? Can I use a springform cake tin?


    1. oladybakes says:

      Springform is usually non stick. Try not to use non stick. Can Google for a pic of loose bottom tin.


      1. Phy says:

        Oh I have those! Ok will try. Thanks!!!


      2. Phy says:

        I used a bigger sized tin so it’s not as tall. The base won’t unstick though. Probably I will line with parchment at the base for next try!


      3. oladybakes says:

        Some bakers encounter a concave bottom when they lined the bottom. Hence the recommendation here is loose bottom, unlined and ungreased for maximum height and flat bottom. Run with a knife to release. But if you are not too bothered by these, it’s ok.


  5. Carin Soon says:

    Hi, instead of using cream of tartar can I use 1 tsp fresh lemon juice?


    1. oladybakes says:

      Ive heard it’s possible, just that I have not done it myself.


  6. CARIN SOON says:

    Do your mind share with us what is the height of this 7″ cake tin?


  7. Liyin says:

    Hi, what egg weight do you use usually? 60g, 65g, 55g?


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