Experimenting with kaya: Kaya muffins

Today, Sweden celebrated its National Day. I decided to celebrate in a spontaneous way. I decided against going to the city to celebrate it. Instead, I celebrated the day Googling market statistics for my work, watching Nadal winning the 5th French Tennis Open, and baking.

Today, I baked kaya muffins. For the unfamiliar, kaya is made up of coconut, egg, and screwpine leaves, and it’s really popular as a spread on bread in Malaysia and Singapore.

It’s extremely difficult to find kaya in Sweden. I got mine from the Asian market in Liverpool, UK. Anyway, I baked 4 batches of muffins today, resulting in 31 muffins.

It was a fun experiment in discovering the science of baking. Of how baking powder can neutralise the acidity of natural yoghurt so that it can be used for substitution of milk. Of how to keep the kaya filling from sinking to the bottom of the dough. It was interesting.

My first batch looked good, but to my despair, the kaya filling sank to the bottom. I repaired them by placing them into paper cups.

In my second batch, I put more dough in the base, less kaya filling and they turned out well. A little of the kaya started spewing out of the muffin tops like molten lava flowing out of a volcano, but better up than down, I say. I was pretty satisfied with this batch.

In my third batch, I blended kaya into the dough and topped the muffins with desiccated coconut. It turned out like any other normal muffins.

After baking three batches, I vented out my frustrations to my Italian corridormate who gave me a useful piece of advice. She recommended me to sift a thin layer of flour on the dough before inserting the filling. Her method, she says, work on heavy fillings such as chocolates or apple chunks. And, that was my fourth batch.

I modified a recipe taken from this blog. As I didn’t have fresh milk, I replaced it with natural low-fat yogurt and baking powder.

250 g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
200 g caster sugar

3 eggs
150 ml natural yoghurt + 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 150 ml fresh milk)
160 g corn oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
100 g kaya paste


  1. Sift flour and baking powder into sugar. Mix into (C).
  2. Put 1/3 of the batter into greased muffin pans and add in 1 tsp of kaya paste. Then put more batter to fill about 85% of the cups
  3. Bake at 180’C for about 20-25 minutes

I have not tested my second, third, and fourth batches, but I guess they looked good enough to share with my corridormates, colleagues and batchmates :D.


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