Bolu Koja (read: bowl-loo kho-juh) is a cake with strong ties to weddings and marriages. Traditionally, there are only several instances in which it is presented: during a wedding ceremony; and presented by the bride for the parents-in-law during Ramadan month in the first year of her marriage. For the former, the cake is usually made by aunties of the bride. For the latter, it is mandated that the bride make it by herself.
Young West Sumatran girls are instructed to observe their mothers making the Bolu Koja cake, to ensure that after they got married, they would be able to show their mother-in-law that they can make it, and thus has earned the merit to marry. Nowadays, particularly for West Sumatrans living overseas, those who still wish to withhold tradition tend to take the easy way out of ordering the cake. Especially working young women, or those with young children.
The cake itself is very simple, yet tricky to make. The measurements for its ingredients still use the old fashioned way – drinking glass as measuring cups. None of the ladies interviewed would even think of re-calculating the measurements to use common kitchen scales – claiming it would be borderline sacrilegious. Therefore, the measurement for the cake would be more accurate if the measuring utilizes the 200cc drinking glass.
- 1.5 glasses palm sugar (Javanese palm sugar)
- 0.5 glass white sugar
- 1.5 glasses flour
- 2 glasses thick coconut milk (if using instant coconut milk, add as few water as possible)
- a pinch of vanilla.
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp butter or margarine
- 5 duck’s eggs
- 8 chicken eggs.
Slice the palm sugar thinly, mix along with eggs and white sugar. Add flour, vanilla and salt when they are well-mixed. Mix well, strain using a colander (palm sugar tend to have debris in it) into the baking tray. Put the 2 tablespoons of butter into the mix. Place in the oven on medium heat (about 180 degrees Centigrade or 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 10 minutes. Pick the tray out and stir the butter until it is mixed thoroughly. Then back into the oven for another 35-40 minutes. Check by sticking into the dough with a toothpick. When dough stops sticking on the toothpick, the cake is done.
Serve-able hot or cold.