Gula melaka is clearly the superior sugar — there, we’ve said it.
Unlike its white counterpart, gula melaka refers to palm sugar made primarily from the liquid collected from coconut palms, which in turn, imparts a beautiful, earthy sweetness similar to caramel, and imparts a smokey aroma to anything it’s made with.
To spotlight our love for the delicious local ingredient, we’re highlighting some of the best gula melaka desserts in Singapore that makes use of its mouthwatering flavour.
Cakes, for instance, are in a whole world of their own. The chiffon cake from Cheng’s 27 or tea cake from Violet Oon is perfect with afternoon tea, while All The Batter’s Avocado Gula Melaka Cake combines the creamy avocado with the palm sugar to make for delicious delight you’ll be hard pressed to forget.
If you, like us, can’t get enough of gula melaka, read on for our recommendations.
Here’s where you’ll find the best gula melaka desserts in Singapore:
(Hero and featured image credit: Cheng’s 27)
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If you ever had an avocado shake in Singapore, you’d know that avocado and gula melaka are a match made in heaven. All The Batter has replaced butter in their Avocado Gula Melaka Cake batter with avocado to create a super concentrated and rich consistency, complete with creamy avocado slices sandwiched between layers of cake and frosting. FYI, a vegan and low GI version of this signature flavour is available too.
Cheng’s 27 is the place to head to if you’re looking for the best Gula Melaka chiffon cake in town. Period. The springy soft slices are laced with gula melaka and organic extra virgin coconut oil, making it a healthy (okay, healthier*), aromatic treat you won’t regret having more slices of.
In sunny Singapore, a cold, creamy scoop of ice cream is truly irresistible. Want to take it up a notch? Give Sunday Folks’ Gula Melaka Softserve with Double Stacked Waffles a try. This beautifully swirled soft serve is an incredibly creamy number, laced with the palm sugar’s iconic notes of butterscotch and caramel and elevated by a smattering of sea salt to balance everything out.
Ondeh Ondeh is no doubt one of Singapore’s most loved kuehs around. This time, it gets a chocolatey spin at Lemuel Chocolate with the cheekily named Ondeh All-Day bonbon. Think a Gula Melaka White Chocolate Ganache complete with desiccated coconut and a beautiful sage green and white speckled Dark Chocolate Shell to tie it all together.
If you aren’t familiar with Kueh Keria Gula Melaka, it’s time to get yourself schooled. These addictive, crispy and starchy doughnuts are made from sweet potato, before they are glazed with a beautiful, smokey Gula Melaka — yes, we are salivating too. You’ll find ordering instructions from Keria.sg on Instagram, and walk-in purchases are also available from Tuesday to Friday, 11am – 3pm/sold out.
Sinpopo’s Gula Melaka Cake, the local brand’s bestseller, is usually what comes to mind when you think of gula melaka treats here. While you’ll be able to elevate that experience with the festive special Gula Melaka Caramel Chocolate Cake this Christmas, we’re going for something a little smaller in size: the Xmas Gula Melaka Biscuits. Crafted with Southeast Asia’s finest natural palm sugar, every crispy bite is a mouthful of deliciously aromatic, smokiness from the gula melaka.
Gula melaka is a Southeast Asian staple, so it’s no surprise that Peranakan establishment Violet Oon has it on the menu too. Her Gula Melaka Cake is a beautifully decadent butter cake that’s laced with Gula Melaka, coconut milk and rum, visually overshadowed only by a generous cashew crumble on top. While you’ll be able to find the whole cake sold online on their website, we recommend having it in stores, sliced and served with coconut ice cream, toasted coconut flakes and more gula melaka sauce.