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 Eatbook.sg; 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).
Sold out again
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 the cakes out at www.batikrolls.com or follow them on Instagram at batikrolls