By Emilia Liem, Copy Editor
My family would travel to Indonesia to see our relatives about every few years, from when I was 2 to 16-years-old. We made a total of three trips over there. Each time, my birthday would fall within that trip and each time, my relatives would throw a huge party in my honor. My step-grandmother would make a special dessert — rum balls. It is definitely not a classically “Asian” dessert. In fact, its roots come from Europe. The Netherlands, to be exact.

To explain my background, my parents are both Indonesian-born, but their parents come from south China. My parents grew up in Indonesia and later on, Singapore. A lot of Indonesian culture is influenced by the Dutch because Indonesia was occupied by the Dutch (the Dutch East India Company, or VOC) for about 200 years. Indonesian cuisine has definitely been affected by the Dutch, and vice-versa.

Now, I don’t think she put any rum in hers, and sharing her exact recipe would be fruitless because she uses products that are available exclusively in Indonesia, but I found a very close recipe online that also doesn’t use rum. If you do choose to use rum, I recommend a dark or spiced rum. This recipe is a great way to use up any stale leftover cake.

Leftover chocolate cake/cake scraps
Cocoa powder
Hot water
Chocolate sprinkles
Mini pastry cups, if desired

Dissolve the cocoa powder in the hot water and stir till you get a thin consistency. Pour the mixture a little at a time into the bowl of cake scraps. Mix well using your fingers. The mixture should be sticky and easily formed into balls. Once you are satisfied with the consistency, you can shape the mixture into balls of about 1 inch in diameter.

For a final touch, roll each ball in sprinkles and place in pastry cups, if you desire.

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