Be­spoke batik rolls

The gor­geous Batikrolls by Nura look al­most too good to eat. Al­most.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Taste - By SUZANNE LAZAROO star2@thes­

THIS Raya, in­spi­ra­tion for many fes­tive out­fits may come from an un­ex­pected source – the dessert ta­ble.

It’s all thanks to the beau­ti­ful Batikrolls by Nura – fluffy Swiss rolls del­i­cately dec­o­rated and painted like tra­di­tional batik. The on­line cake store based in Sin­ga­pore has en­chanted dozens of ne­ti­zens af­ter be­ing fea­tured on sites like Mash­ableAsia and Eat­; these batik rolls are the cakes that launched a thou­sand shares.

Each 22cm batik roll can be filled with Nutella, vanilla or blue­berry but­ter­cream. They were cre­ated by 32-year-old Nura Alkhatib. She grew up with a mother who loved mak­ing desserts that weren’t just pleas­ing to the palate, but de­lighted the eye as well.

“She al­ways made cook­ies or desserts that were a lit­tle more metic­u­lous than usual,” said Nura. “I sup­pose that’s why I was in­clined to­wards ap­pre­ci­at­ing pretty, petite desserts, and was al­ways on the hunt for sweet treats that looked and tasted amaz­ing.

“Dur­ing ev­ery Eid cel­e­bra­tion, my mum would im­press our guests with a de­li­cious spread of Raya cakes. She loved mak­ing the din­ing ta­ble a show­case, and send­ing guests home with sweet gifts.”

In­spired by her mother’s kitchen pas­sion, Nura started on her own bak­ing jour­ney – and her own gift-giv­ing tra­di­tion of pretty sweets. She launched Batikrolls by Nura last year, us­ing one of her mother’s Swiss roll recipes and fus­ing it with the con­cepts of cake roll art from Ja­pan, Thai­land and In­done­sia.

“The process of mak­ing the batik rolls is sim­i­lar to cre­at­ing art, the dif­fer­ence is just that our can­vas is parch­ment pa­per and the paint is food colour­ing and but­ter­cream,” said Nura.

Each batik roll starts with a mo­tif, drawn free-hand or with a sten­cil.

“It’s re­ally all about imag­i­na­tion, and be­cause batik de­signs can be in­tri­cate, they re­quire a steady hand and lots of pa­tience. The more in­tri­cate the de­sign, the more time and skill is re­quired – some de­signs may take over an hour to cre­ate,” said Nura. “That’s why our batik rolls are hand-crafted works of art.”

Once the mo­tifs are filled in with var­i­ous colours, painstak­ingly piped into the de­sign, the coloured layer is baked. “The next step is the tricky part, when we need to com­bine the mo­tif with the cake mix and bake them again. Af­ter bak­ing the cake with the mo­tif, we flip the cake up­side down and peel away the trac­ing pa­per to re­veal the mo­tif that we have drawn ear­lier. We need to peel it slowly be­cause if it’s too fast, the batik mo­tifs can come off too! We then flip it again, cover the sponge layer with but­ter­cream and roll it up.”

Some of the In­done­sian batik pat­terns in­clude Batik Peka­lon­gan from the north coast of Java, which is known for brighter colours and in­tri­cate de­signs of flow­ers, Batik Mega Men­dung, of­ten de­pict­ing clouds, and Batik Parang Rusak. A type of the Batik Parang once used only by the royal court of Cen­tral Java, the Parang Rusak of­ten looks like rows of folded parang, or knives.

“The favourites this year are our two new de­signs, Batik Gen­don­gan and Batik Mawar,” said Nura.

“The cakes are com­pletely hand-made – even our pack­ag­ing is made by hand,” she said. “I couldn’t find any pack­ag­ing that would fit the cake, so I cus­tomised my own boxes from art and craft sup­plies. Our sig­na­ture boxes re­ally add to the whole gift­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and they’re as pop­u­lar as the cakes!”

Each cake costs be­tween S$26 (RM80) and S$28 (RM86).

For the sec­ond Hari Raya in a row, Batikrolls by Nura is sold out – she will only be able to re­sume tak­ing or­ders on July 17.

“The Eid or­ders this year have come from Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Brunei,” said Nura. “But we have also got­ten or­ders for other cel­e­bra­tions, birth­days, wed­ding favours and as cor­po­rate gifts from high-end fash­ion houses.”

Nura has been buoyed by the great re­sponse her cakes have got­ten; she was also in­vited to speak at De­sign Trails, part of Sin­ga­pore De­sign Week, this year.

“I re­ally didn’t think the cakes were go­ing to be­come this pop­u­lar – I’m just re­ally grate­ful that so many peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate them!” said Nura. Check these lovely cakes out at www.batikrolls. com or fol­low them on In­sta­gram at batikrolls

Tra­di­tional batik mo­tifs adorn each 22cm cake roll. From left: Batik Gen­don­gan, Batik Mawar, Batik Pe­malang, Batik Mega Men­dung, Batik Peka­lon­gan and Batik Parang Rusak. — Pho­tos: IN­STA­GRAM@BATIKROLLS

In­spired by her mother’s love for bak­ing pretty sweets, Nura came up with the batik rolls for de­li­cious gift­ing.

The Batik Mega Men­dung roll is adorned with cloud mo­tifs.

Each batik roll be­gins life with hand-drawn mo­tifs.

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