Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake ~ Mah Lai Goh黑糖馬拉糕

Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake ~ 黑糖馬拉糕  Mah Lai Goh

What is steamed Malaysian sponge cake? Why is it called Malaysian but not Taiwan or Korea? I really don’t know, dear! It just one of my favourite dim sum in a Chinese restaurant.

One of the more common version is after British rule over the Malay Peninsula, retain the habit of afternoon tea, eat cake, but commonly found in coconut milk than milk on the Malay Peninsula, the oven is not easy to find, so used coconut milk instead of milk and using the steam method instead of using the oven to make a cake.

The Malaysian sponge cake has loads of method to make. I tried a few of them for testing. Some of them not rising successfully to my expectation. Or some of them was too sweet. And the following recipe was the one that came closely for my looking for.

It will take a little bit of time to prepare the starter dough. But the result will tell you the time consuming is worth it. The starter dough I keep in the fridge for over 24 hours, it is a bit more of time because I like it more active in the cold fridge.

To get a smooth batter, an electric whisk is the best tool that you need to have.

Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake ~ 黑糖馬拉糕 Mah Lai Goh

Ingredient for the starter dough 麵種:   (麵種 This quantity can make 2 x 5″ bamboo steamer)

  • 80ml Plain flour
  • 40g Lukewarm water
  • 3/4 tsp Active dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Brown sugar or coconut sugar


  1. Combine everything to form a soft dough then set aside in a container with a lid on, keep in the fridge for 24 hours. I keep mine 36 hours. Until double up its size.  Remove it from the fridge, leave in the room temperature for half hour before you use.

Ingredient for the Main dough:

  • All of the above starter dough, cut into pieces
  • 70g Coconut sugar or unrefined brown sugar
  • 70g Molasses sugar or raw sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 40ml Evaporate Milk
  • 40g Grape seeds oil
  • 40g Self-raising flour
  • 10g Skimmed milk powder
  • 10g Custard powder
  • 8g Baking powder without aluminum
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda


  1. Sieve the self-raising flour, baking powder, milk powder, custard powder and bicarbonate of soda, set aside.
  2. Place the eggs, the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Snip the starter dough into small pieces and add to the eggs mixture.
  3. Whisk the mixture by using an electric whisk to save your arm, Whisk until it turns thick batter around 3 minutes.
  4. Add the evaporate milk and oil, continue to whisk until smooth. Then add the flour mixture into the batter and keep whisking to a thick batter.
  5. Cover the batter with a piece of cling film, leave in the room temperature for an hour.
  6. Prepare two bamboo steamers or other containers, line with baking parchment and grease with oil. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Pour the batter into the bamboo steamers and steam over medium-high heat for around 25 to 30 minutes until cook. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake to test the cake is cooked.


  • The cake must be put into the steamer with boiling water.
  • The sugar quantity has been reduced to 70g, you can adjust to 80g if you have a sweet tooth.

4 thoughts on “Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake ~ Mah Lai Goh黑糖馬拉糕

    • Hannah, such so sorry I felt. Because I missed seeing your comment! Looks like steamed cakes only popular in South-East Asia. You should try it. They’re so moist and spongy than the baked cake.

    • I think you said it right. Eggs are the essential ingredient to make this kind of cake fluffy and spongy. But it will be so gladful if you can change to vegan. Please let me know. 🙂

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