PETALING JAYA (THE STAR) - When it comes to culinary creations with repurposed ingredients, there is a long list of contenders: Cheese sushi, doughnut burgers, chilli chocolate to name a few. But this one probably takes the cake. Literally.
Readers, meet the nasi lemak cake.
Love or hate the idea, one cannot deny that it pushes the boundaries of culinary creation.
This particular savoury nasi lemak cake can be credited to Tiana Kitchen, run by 27-year-old Jennifer Yap and her mother Tatiana, 46, home-based caterers who set up shop in Damansara last year.
They chanced on their business concept when they saw an image on Facebook showing a nasi lemak cake, and decided to try making one using a family recipe for Ms Yap's son's second birthday in September last year.
Curious to see whether they could sell the cakes, she started marketing the product and a few months later, began receiving many daily orders.
While admitting they were not the first to come up with the idea of nasi lemak cake, she explained that they were among the first to start a business specialising in this delicacy.
But what separates Tiana Kichen from the original image they chanced upon? The selection of flavours and toppings.
"Flavours, because we do not only make the plain version, with typical anchovies and peanuts. We enhance the recipe with prawn petai, squid petai, and other flavours," she said.
She said that all ingredients for their cakes are made from scratch and do not contain any artificial flavouring, colouring, or preservatives.
"One day we can make a maximum of 15 cakes. Especially on weekends, we normally accept 15 cakes. That's the maximum we can go," she said, adding that they do not accept orders beyond that to maintain the quality of their cakes.
Nasi lemak is a local dish where rice, infused with coconut milk and pandan leaves, is traditionally served alongside spicy chilli paste, roasted peanuts, anchovies and boiled egg with various side dishes such as fried chicken, fish beef rendang or squid.
Although nasi lemak is a popular breakfast choice among Malaysians, some food connoisseurs believe you can enjoy the dish any time of the day.
Each nasi lemak cake is made with a nasi lemak base and layered with hard-boiled eggs before being topped off with a spread of sambal and a selection of garnishing. To keep everything in place, the cake is tied with a cucumber "belt" border.
For extra picky eaters, the cakes can be custom-made to order.
A browse through Tiana Kitchen Facebook page's comment section showed that although the nasi lemak cake may be an unorthodox idea, customer response has been strongly positive.
For now, the cakes are available in the Klang Valley area. Delivery can also be arranged. Orders can be made three days in advance through the Tiana Kitchen's Facebook page. Each cake serves five to six persons.
Ms Yap says she plans to open a Tiana's Kitchen in Kota Kinabalu, her home town, soon.
The standard Nasi Lemak Cake with ikan bilis and kacang sells for RM58 (S$18.40) while special ingredients will incur extra charges.