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home > Malaysia and Singapore > Malaysian Chinese Cakes 




Cakes and Cookies in Malaysia and Singapore

Malaysians and Singaporeans often prepare or buy traditional cookies to be served or given as gifts during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali or other festive holidays.

For Chinese New Year, the most important cake is the Niangao/ Nian Gao/ Nian Kueh or in Penang Hokkien, it is called tnee kueh.

Other traditional cakes and cookies prepared and servered during Chinese New Year or Ramadan are kueh kapit (love letters), kueh bangkit, kueh bulu, pineapple tarts or jam tart and peanut biscuits.

jam tart biscuits for the festive season

Other Chinese cakes prepared during Chinese festivals includes:

Mid-Autumn Festival - Moon cake, mooncake biscuits

Offering to deities - common cakes prepared are ang koo kueh, mee koo kuih, bee koo, etc.

Kueh Kapit or 'love letters' is a popular biscuit served during Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Puasa.

Kuih Kapit or Love Letters recipe at myFood domain

Kueh Kapit

Kueh Kapit

Chinese New Year home favourites

It is a tradition in Malaysia and Singapore to make or buy a variety of cookies and cakes for Chinese New Year. Friends and relatives invited to the house are often served a variety of these cakes and cookies. New Year cookies are also given as gifts to friends and relatives. These cakes and cookies are served to  make cookies traditional Check out some of our Chinese New Year home favourites below:

Tangerine cookies  (an alternative to pineapple tarts)

Unbaked tangarine cookiesIngredients

Pineapple Filling:

2 pineapples

180g rock sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder



300g plain flour

50g custard  powder

1 tablespoon milk powder

180g butter

70g icing sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolk (for egg wash)

Cloves for decoration



To make the jam fillings: (Prepare filling to cool before starting on the pastry)

Cut pineapple to pieces and finely grind in a food processor. Place pineapple, rock sugar and cinnamon in a pot and cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until liquid is evaporated. Leave jam to cool .


Cream the butter and icing sugar until fluffy and beat in the eggs.

Sift in the flour, custard powder and milk powder into the butter mix, until the dough holds together.

Divide pastry into small balls (about 2-3 cm diameter)

Preheat oven to 190 deg C

Flatten each pastry ball and put some filling in the centre. Wrap up and shape into balls. Arrange all the balls on a lined baking tray.

Brush the pastry balls with beaten egg wash and stick one clove on the top.

Back for about 12 minutes.



Orange Cookies


120g butter

120g castor sugar

grated rind of 1 orange

2 tablespoon orange juice

1-2 tablespoon thick orange syrup

1 egg yolk

a pinch of salt

Sieve these dried ingredient together:

1 cup self-rising flour

30g plain flour

30g rice flour

Orang cookies by mymalaysiabooks


1. Preheat oven to 180 deg. C.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until soft, add orange rind salt.

3. Fold the sifted dry ingredients into the cream mixture. Add the egg yolk and orange juice and orange syrup.

4. Put the mixture into a cookie press and piped it onto a greased tray. Bake the cookie for 5-8 minutes or till golden brown, at a temperature of 180 deg.C or 350 deg.F.



Kueh bangkit


300g tapioca

4-5 pieces pandan leaves

1 egg yolk

20g margarine

140g icing sugar

120ml coconut milk

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

kueh bangkit Malaysia by mymalaysiabooks


1. Preheat oven to 165 deg. C.

2. Fry tapioca flour with pandan leaves over a low flame until fragrant, discard the leaves and set aside to cool. 

3. Sift the cooled tapioca flour and icing sugar in a bowl.  Add the margarine, egg yolk and coconut milk.  Knead the dough until it is pliable.  If you are using a cookie press, push some of the dough into the cookie press tube.  Press the dough out in the pattern you had selected.

Otherwise, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2 cm thick.  Cut out into long strips and then into individual pieces.

Arrange on parchment lined baking tray.  Bake at 165C for 15 minutes.


Kueh Bahlu / kuih bahalu/ kueh bulu


4 egg

100gm sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

100gm wheat flour  

(To prevent the cake from moulding fast, try frying the flour in a non-stick pan before use)

1 tablespoon tapioca flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Kueh bulu

Kueh Bulu / Kuih Bahulu


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until stiff and add the vanilla essence.  Continue to beat until mixture turns pale and thick.
3. Sieve wheat flour and tapioca flour together with baking powder in 23 batches into the egg mixture - fold in the flour.

4. Lightly grease bahulu moulds and spoon in batter to fill up to slightly below surface-level.  Lightly grease the mould (to prevent the bahulu from sticking).

5. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 8 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bahulu from the moulds

6. Cool on wire racks before storing in airtight containers.


Steamed Nian Gao


300 g glutinous rice flour, sieved

300 g brown sugar

300 ml water

3 tablespoon golden syrup

banana leaves for lining tins

4 or 5 round tins, 10 cm-width


Tnee Kueh tradition

Tnee  Kueh (Nian Gao/ Nian Kueh) is a sticky sweet snack made of glutinous rice and sugar. It was traditionally offered This  was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God to ensure that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake and hence cannot report on the family's bad deed to the God of all Gods (Yu Huang Da Di). Today, you can buy Nian Gao from the supermarket or sundry shops but some still prepare it traditionally. In Malaysia and Singapore Nian Gao that is sold or home-made is mainly steamed and without any fillings.


1. Mix glutinous rice flour and water into a smooth paste. Add brown sugar and mix well until sugar is dissolved. 

2. Line tins with banana leaves or bamboo leaves  (cut so that it is higher than the top of the tin and folded down to wrap around the edge of the tin). Secure the lining with strings.

3. Pour the paste mixture into the tins, and steam in the pot on low heat for about 8 hours. note: Place a muslin cloth on the cover so that the water condensation will not drip into the cakes. The cake will turn reddish brown colour when cooked.

4. To serve: The cake can be eaten soft when fresh or hard after a few weeks. Freshly made cake that is hot can be rolled into a ball with a chopstick or fork and dip or coated with some freshly grated coconut. If it is cool and slightly hardened, cut it into pieces and eat as it is or steamed to soften it and served with grated coconut. In Malaysia and Singapore, the hardened cake is cut into thin pieces and deep-fried together with sweet potato or yam.


Ribbon Biscuits

Rippon biscuits - Chinese New year cookiesIngredients
150g plain flour, sifted
25g margarine

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g castor sugar
1 egg

Put sifted flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Rubb in margarine and add egg to combine. Knead into a dough and leave aside to rests for about half an hour.
Roll out the dough to about 1mm thickness or use a pasta roller. Cut the dough into long 5cm wide strips. Place the two strips together (on on top of the other lengwise) and into strips about 1.5cm width. Make a small cut or slit in the centre of each strip.

For each pair of small strips, push the top end of the strip into the slit twice to form a twisted ribbon. Do the same for the rest of strips of dough.

Deep-fry the ribbon dough in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain and set aside on absorbent paper then store in an airtight container.

Other Malaysian recipes


Other Chinese Kueh

Chinese moon cake - mooncakes for Mid-Autumn festivalThe Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, dates back over 3,000 years to China's Zhou Dynasty. The Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, in the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September)

Mooncakes are cakes or pastry-like tarts traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Tradition mooncakes are shaped like pie or tarts, round or rectangular measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. The filling is usually made from lotus seed paste or other beans and may contain salted egg yolks. Moon cake biscuits, flatter than the Chinese moon cake, are also commonly made of the same pastry crust and are are shaped into figurines or animals. These biscuits may or may not contain any fillings


Plain Mooncake Biscuits


Moon Cake BiscuitsIngredients

Golden syrup

1.2kg sugar

1 litre water

1 lime, squeeze out juice,

1 tbsp maltose

Mooncake biscuit dough

300g superfine flour, sifted
200g golden syrup

tsp bicarbonate of soda

  tbsp alkaline water

50g corn oil


Egg glaze (combined)

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

Pinch of salt

A little thick soy sauce (for colour)


Prepare Golden syrup: Put all ingredients, except maltose, in a pot. Boil until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and cook until syrup turns a light golden colour. Turn off the heat and add maltose. Stir to dissolve and leave to cool.

Mooncake biscuit dough:

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the golden syrup with bicarbonate of soda, alkaline water and corn oil. Add sifted flour to ingredients and mix into a dough and knead well. Cover with cling film and leave it aside for about 3 hours.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C

2) Divide dough into small portions and make into a small ball. Lightly dust balls with flour and press into mooncake biscuit moulds. (For biscuits with filling: Wrap dough with a little lotus seed paste and press into a small ball)

3) Grease a baking tray. Knock out the biscuits from the mould and place on the greased trays. Bake biscuits for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Leave to cool slightly. Brush with egg glaze and bake again for another 5-8 minutes or until golden brown.

4) Remove from oven and leave to cool. Biscuit should be soft, do not keep in air tight container.

More recipes at: my Home recipes

Peranakan Food and Recipes: myNonya Recipes

Malaysian Kueh and Cakes Recipes: my Kueh Recipes


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