Puteri Jendol to Puan Sri: Kuké Desserterie's Asian-rooted cakes make a royal impression
October 22, 2021
A cake called Rasa Sayang, infusing pandan into fluffy Japanese-style cheesecake, layered with gula Melaka cream cheese and real coconut flesh. Another with ripe, juicy pineapple bits, as tasty as the jam of a Peranakan pineapple tart, with toasted coconut flakes on top, as tempting as a tropical island getaway.
Kuké Desserterie turns cakes into a celebration - not only of happy times but of a heritage, harnessing Malaysian and Asian ingredients and techniques to make world-beating cakes, modern-minded but classic-spirited, timely yet timeless in an age where dessert fads fade faster than a cake-topped freakshake.
Kuké (pronounced koo-kay) isn't about kooky cakes. Each creation conveys meaning, conjures memories, conceived by Malaysian husband-and-wife team Inn and Corina. She bakes and concocts the flavours; he runs their business and central kitchen in Desa Sri Hartamas.
The couple have steadily built their reputation over six years, starting Whipped Cakes at home in 2015 with nine varieties of cake before rebranding into Kuké Desserterie in 2020, now offering more than 30 cakes for delivery. Fun fact: Kuké is not merely a portmanteau of 'kuih' and 'cake' but a personal tribute to two friends, 'KK,' who've spurred and supported their journey.
There are many things to love and respect about Kuké's cakes.
Kuké understands why people enjoy cakes, what makes a cake great. Its cakes are playful and joyous, the kind that brings a smile to everyone's faces and cheers them up instantly. Its cakes encourage you to eat till the final forkful, made with memorable, reliable ingredients.
The Puteri Jendol is all that: Fat, fragrant layers of gula Melaka sponge and pandan sponge, sandwiching a thick centre of gula Melaka whipped cream, cendol jelly and red beans, crowned with coconut frosting.
It's the elements of a childhood chilled treat transformed into a tender cake, made textured with smooth, soft green jelly droplets and nutty red beans. Each distinct layer is delightful on its own or together with one another, without tasting artificially flavoured, with a natural aroma that shines pure and clear.
The Hitam Manis reinterprets another relatable Malaysian staple, the bubur pulut hitam, reinvigorating it into something we've never exactly had before.
This comes closest to Kuké as kuih and cake, like a Nyonya kuih refashioned into a delicately luscious cake, not too sweet despite its Manis moniker, with black glutinous rice blending in lightly with bamboo charcoal sponge, striped with gula Melaka cream cheese frosting. Moist but not mushy or too cakey, baked fresh daily so it's never dried out or overly hardened.
The Puan Sri Special helps us live our best tai-tai life, encapsulating the pleasure of snacking on cheesecake and sipping a latte in a cafe.
This is indulgently sumptuous, one of the richest of Kuké's cakes that we've tried - caramel coffee cheesecake with a crisp Oreo base, topped with whipped cream frosting, caramel and candied almonds, punching through with tons of taste and texture, miraculously without being too cloying.
Hunky Monkey is the one that kids will relish, a nutty take on chocolate banana cake, with bits of banana in a tall, dark and handsome slice that could replace a breakfast cereal, blanketed in chocolate frosting plus a nuthouse's worth of salty almond brittle for heaps of full-bodied crunch.
Throughout its lineup, Kuké makes whatever it can from scratch - that includes the jams, pulut, caramel and brittles in all of the above, ingredients of integrity, free of preservatives.
Kuké also does its best to elevate KL's coveted crowd-pleasers.
The Saint is worth sinning for, a burnt cheesecake that merits the custardy calories, with that marvellous melty middle in a voluptuously velvety dessert that does decadent justice to this caramelised, crustless favourite, attaining that alluring balance between burnished top and barely-set centre.
The Triple C is a triple threat of carrot cake, cheesecake and coffee, cohesively coalescing in a marbled marvel, with carrot cake for its base, cheesecake in between, and coffee cream cheese frosting to finish. If you can only order one cake but want to cram as much as possible into the experience, try the Triple C.
Five Shades of Chocolate is fifty shades of cacao domination, for customers who believe there's no such thing as too much chocolate. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, defiantly deep and dense with dark chocolate cake, chocolate cheesecake and chocolate brownie chunks in chocolate frosting - may be overkill for some, ecstasy for others.
Prefer your chocolate balanced with fruit? The Cherry Bomb is perhaps less forceful and more elegant than Five Shades of Chocolate, sultry but soothing with chocolate sponge and ganache in bittersweet frosting, with cherries bringing their nectarous uplift to the ensemble.
All in all, Kuké is a cake maker whose entire repertoire we hope to eventually sample - customers can order cake slices on kukedesserterie.beepit.com and whole cakes on kuke.my