Monday, May 14, 2012

Topo Map Love Cake / Kek Alunan Kasih - Butter Cake # 1

Recipe tried in March 2011

When Roz of Home Kreation said this cake looked like a map, it reminded me of the topographic maps that we used to learn in Geo class. I remember reading the contour lines, and how to calculate the temperature difference between the lines. And how I enjoyed the first 10 questions in PMR’s Geo paper, there were all related to the topo map. Hence, I added the topo word into the name. The actual translation of the name should be "Waves of Love Cake"

What was your favourite subject back in school?
To your dismay (*ahem), mine was not home science (never studied this in school, but only “Living Skills” with home science elective, haha, not a true HS paper).

Mine has always been Geography.

To me, Geography is alive. The countries, the earth’s surfaces, the rivers, the mountains, the distribution of flora and fauna, the volcanoes, the weather, the climates….. are all relatable to me. I can never read history the way I could read geography. History is distant, cold and maybe I don’t like reading history in BM (I’ve nothing against the language), but Geography spells differently to me. It is taught in the same language, but it just feels alive.

I remember my PMR exam. I did my Geography paper in less than 30 minutes. When the first 30 minutes was up, I just stood up and walked out of the hall, much to the horror of many. Those who came out later, asked me whether there was something wrong, and why I came out so early. I just smiled and said, nothing wrong. My Geo results has never been any less than an A. But it all ended after PMR. For Form 4 Science stream, Geography was not in the option of subjects, but History was made compulsory!!! How I hated it.

I never ever did ok for history and was on the brink of failing it for SPM. P8, Muahahahahaha!
Geography, how I love thee. May this cake be an ode of my love to thee.

Topo Map Love Cake (Kek alunan kasih)
As Seen on Home Keation
Original source: Pn. Mastura Yasak

250gm butter
250gm sugar
5 medium eggs
300gm cake flour +1 tsp baking powder
125ml evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pandan paste
Cocoa powder for creating the topo lines (I used approximately 3 Tbsp)

1. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition.
3. Sift half the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined.
4. Mix in the evaporated milk until well combined.
5. Sift the balance of flour into the mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
6. Divide the batter to two. Mix vanilla extract to one part and pandan paste to the other.
7. Preheat oven to 160(fan)/180C. Prepare a 8 inch pan, lined at the base.
8. Spread 1/2 the pandan batter (or vanilla whichever you prefer) into pan. Level it.
9. Evenly sift a thin layer of cocoa powder over.
10. Very very gently dollop half of the other colour over and gently level it. Repeat the sifting of cocoa powder.
11. Repeat layering with both colours, with the final layer clean (no cocoa powder on top).
12. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This is my 2nd attempt. The pandan paste is from a different manufacturer.


  1. What can I say? The cake is so nicely layered. Talking about fav is the "Lapisan Hutan" I can elaborate lots of far 88% is my highest score for Geo.

  2. Looks soft. My fav subject is lukisan..the rest of subject I 'sei pui' for the exam :0P

  3. I have never heard of this cake name before. It is so beautifully layers and then I can even see the black outline inside too. Was it good? Guess I have to make it to taste it.....

  4. haha, history also my worst subject. For STPM history mock exam, I skipped it entirely and stayed home.

  5. Wendy, always admire how well you manage your blog. Now again such a lovely edible creation. Thanks for sharing the idea. Will try.

  6. This is absolutely amazing..Beautiful. Thanks for sharing the recipe :-)

  7. Beautiful and awesome . I will defenitely try out this one day.

  8. Soooooooooooo pretty!!! I love the combinations for yellow and green. Been seeing this cake at most of the Malay blogs and bookmarked it for the longest time but have yet to bake it. My fav subject is Geography and hated History. I failed it too ha ha...

  9. Beautiful cake - looks very fine and buttery.

  10. this cake is beautifully done! love the yellow and green. l love Geograhpy too is part of the daily life :)

  11. So pretty! The layers and colours are so well defined.

  12. Nice! Nice! Another wonderful recipe bookmarked! :)

  13. I made this before using HomeKreation's recipe but mine came out not so good. Yours looks wonderful.

  14. So nice & beautiful colour too.

  15. I love Geography but hate history...can't remember what I scored for both...keeekkekeek too long ago ! this cake looks did you get the contour look since you level them for each color ? A bit puzzled here :p

  16. Wow, lovely cake! Beautifully layered.

  17. love the green shade! So pretty to look at :)

  18. Your cake looks lovely. First time I look at the picture, I thought, wow how did she do that ? Thanks for sharing.

  19. hate geography! hate physics! hate chemistry! eh..i dont have any favourite subject! haha! maybe PE is my favourite one. This is a very attractive looking cake, it does look like a map in terrain view! NOt only that, i see that the texture is also very fine!

  20. I love your close up picture - so clear that I can see the soft texture. haha... me too, I scored A in my spm for geog - I love the subject because not much reading compared to sejarah!

  21. Double wow! The green color captured my attention. I'm going to make this to impress my friends ( if it turns out good, that is ! )

  22. Angeline,
    Luckily I only do objective paper only for PMR, kekeke.

    I also wondered what I study last time, now all throw down the drain also

    Good, try it.

    Wow, u got guts!

    thanks, and I hope you will like this

    thank you

    Sheoh Yan,
    hope the one day is near ;)

  23. Gert,
    It's even more colourful and pretty in Malay blogs, I hope to see ur version one day.

    Yummy Bakes,

    Ah Tze,
    Even more alive when you travel and see all the things that you have learnt before, right?

    the sifted cocoa powder acts like an outline, defines the layers very nicely

    Veron Chia,
    Hehe... will I see this very very soon?


    Hmmm...I made this twice, both turned out good.

    Yeah, Pn Mastura's idea ;)

    Mary Chey,

    Yeah, dunno why. I tried very hard to level it, but it still came out with contours.

    kitchen flavours,

  24. Anne,
    Not all pandan paste gives this shade, right?

    phong hong,
    it's really interesting right, they way the lines come about

    no wonder u look so athletic la, LOL

    thanks for this recipe,
    I'm just PMR, not so high yet

    Experimental Cook,
    The layering is quite forgiving as long as you don;t mess up the cocoa powder.
    Hope ur friends like it

  25. What brand do you recommend for pandan paste and color? My kids love rainbow color cake, I know it is not healthy. But the color really cheer them up including the eldest kid,my husband. Maybe I can bake rainbow cake when their birthday

  26. This cake looks amazing! Really an outstanding one! I love the tight crumb too, it cuts so neatly!

  27. Hi Wedny, I love this cake color combi :P I will bake this soon.. haha already printed the recipe. Nowaday hot hot will jelly, pudding and kuih. ;P
    Cheers, Jamie (fan-cy)

  28. shenny,
    Supermarket brand, Nona will be a good choice.
    The 2nd cake, in the step by step is made using a pandan paste bought from bakery supplies shop and looks sooooooooo fake.

    I think the evaporated milk helps to make the crumb nice :)

    Yawoh, very very hot leh, and wet too
    Very "sup yeet"

  29. Its a beautiful cake!. Just a thought.Can we achieve the green coloring by using pure pandan juice and if so how much water and pandan leaves do we need to achieve the beautiful green

  30. that really does look like a map! that's beautiful! in fact it also reminds me of those coloured sand that you buy in little bottles when you go on holidays because of the beautiful curved lines of alternating colours you get. (:

  31. Small kucing,

    U have to make it really concentrated, check out my concentrated pandan extract post.

    Shu Han,
    Yeah, like those coloured sand too!

  32. Hi Wendy, I'd tried to make this cake last night. I used green food colouring with a few drop of mint essence to replace the pandan paste because I don't have it. The cake was so nice that my collegues enjoy very much. Thanks for your wonderful recipe & kindness to share.

  33. How cool is that?? Your cake looks amazing! I'm definitely going to try something similar to this recipe! <3

  34. You are incredible not only your ideas but your photography... where do you find the time?

  35. Wow! 'Ho lang' wor Wendy! Would love to try this.

  36. Chiew Seong Ling,
    thanks for the feedback, I'm glad you liked this cake. Mint sounds fantastic.

    This recipe is quite versatile to play around with ;)

    photography don't take much time, editing does :)

    Passionate aBt baking,
    hope u will like this

  37. A very genius idea to make a butter cake into a fabulous looking cake! You have once again inspired me to try this out one fine day. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Wendy

    Again, you've produced the most beautiful creation! Your cake looks absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  39. Now I know why my Kek Alunan Kasih didn't turn out that nice. It's because I hated Geography subject back then. Adoi, don't know what's with Geography and myself, I just can't like that subject! But then, my result during SPM is much better than my SRP's! Credit lagi. And guess what, my other two siblings love this subject. Oh oh... am I the adopted one then? Ahahahahhaaha.....

  40. Wendy,
    I tried this recipe yesterday and it turn out ok. Very happy with the results. Am using only 4 eggs as they are large eggs.

  41. I'm very new in blogger,I'm late, but hope its not too late to joint all the wonderful blogs. Wow! impressive to see your sharing. Wonderful recipe,your are doing all it so well.My admire.

  42. Lovely cake taste great too. I made this cake few days ago and instantly it spread like a virus among my Indonesian foodie blogger friends. Thanks to you...

  43. Hi Wendy,

    I have a 9inch pan. How do I have a add the ingredients & eggs portion correctly? Please advise. Thanks.


  44. Yvonne,
    Jack it up by 20%.
    Meaning use 6 eggs,, 300gm butter and you can calculate the rest.

  45. Wendy...I made it today with low protein flour as you suggested, and it turned out great. It taste and look great. The texture is much softer...thanks so much!

  46. Hi Wendy.. Your cake is really wonderful. Could I use 8 inch round pan? Could I substitute evaporated milk with just fresh milk? Thank you..


  47. Imelda,
    Should be fine, cake will be taller. Even a 9 inch round is fine.
    If you used fresh milk, the texture will not be as fine. U can see the picture of my recipe's source, she used fresh milk.

  48. How to prepare pandan paste?

  49. OOps... sori it is me Nicole Wong again. Like this cake alot. Very pretty.

  50. Hi, Wendy,
    Do I need to add the baking powder if I use self- raising flour? Thanks!

  51. I tried your recipe n it was a success at first attempt. Thnks!,

  52. Hi Your cake is absolutely beautiful. I am dying to try it. Can I reduce the sugar as I do not like very sweet cakes. Would 180g of sugar still produce a cake as lovely as yours?
    Does the evaporated milk give it a different taste from FRESH milk?


  53. Susan,
    Evap milk will give it a finer texture.
    You can reduce the sugar if you like.

  54. Hi Wendy,
    I cannot get your lovely cake out of my mind. I have made it twice and it did not turn out neat like yours, but it tasted very nice. Can you please tell me how to spread the layer of batter after the cocoa has been sifted in? Once the cocoa powder is sifted, the next layer is very hard to spread evenly, as the batter is quite thick and not easy to move it all round the cake tin without disturbing the cocoa. After sifting in the cocoa, my next layer of batter sticks and is difficult to spread it out. How THICK is each layer of batter? Is the batter meant to be quick thick or runny? Is batter thin enough to be poured onto the layer of cocoa. Also I do not appear to have enough batter to make 4 layers.
    Please help as I just simply adore this cake of yours. It is divine to look at and to eat.
    Thanks, Susan

  55. Susan,
    I did it just like in the pictures. You need a gentle hand at it.
    Divide your batter properly in the beginning, weigh it if you need it to be totally equal. I can't measure how thick it is as I can't stick the ruler in.
    The batter is as shown, thick. It's is not pourable. If you pour the batter in, it will break the cocoa powder layers.

  56. looks sooo nice i hope i can make one that turns out as good :]

  57. Hi Wendy, I baked this cake today. Wow this is definitely a wonderful cake to show-off in front of friends! A bit of effort but is worth it. Thanks for this recipe.

  58. Iris,
    thanks for the feedback.
    hehehe, they must have complimented you a lot!

  59. I baked " map " this morning ! It's nice & difference map ! Thanks a lot share those recipe !

  60. 250 gm it too sweet? Can i reduce to 200gm?

  61. Anonymous,
    Sweetness is always an individual matter

  62. hi wendy, i fell inlove with all of your cakes! this one was the first one i tried, and it was fantalicious! except that my cake wasnt as neat as yours! am planning to make another one soon!
    love it! thank u thank u!

  63. hi ,looks great, do you know from where we can buy pandan paste in sydney?

  64. swapna,
    Sorry ya, I do not live in Sydney. I will not know.
    Maybe you can ask someone who does, like your neighbour or your colleague or your friend who also lives in Sydney.

  65. Hello, I was wondering since you level the cake, why wouldn't the layers be straight lines?

  66. Thanks for the recipe, I'm going to try today.

  67. Thank you for sharing your recipe! Can I substitute matcha powder for the pandan paste? Or do you have other ideas for coloring the green layer? I live in a rural area that does not carry those lovely ingredients.

  68. Myra,
    Just use a bit of green food colouring since Pandan is not a common ingredient at your place.


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