Norah's Cooking Diary

Honeycomb Cake (蜂巢蛋糕)

Added by: Norah   Added on: May 9, 2020

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In this video I am going to share with you a “Honeycomb Cake” (蜂巢蛋糕) Recipe.

My family and I just love this cake, particularly my mum. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find this in the bakery shops these days. Every time my mum comes to visit us, I would bake this cake for her.

Honeycomb Cake with its unique texture and buttery caramel flavors is a well-loved dessert in Malaysia and Indonesia. A beautiful deep amber color with a pattern of air pockets that run from the bottom up,  this delicious cake that resembles a "honeycomb" is super airy, soft and has a chewy-like texture. The cake is moist yet springy; and the mellow smoky bittersweet fragrance from the "burnt" sugar syrup is so mouth-watering.

“Honeycomb Cake” is also known as “Beehive Cake” and Ants Nest Cake. It is also widely known as “Kek Gula Hangus Bersarang” or “Kue Sarang Semut” in the Malay language. The name derived from the cake’s resemblance to both a bee honeycomb and an ants’ nest. You might find that there are many ways to prepare a Honeycomb Cake. There is no right or wrong recipe to create this beautiful and delicious dessert. In this video I will share with you the recipe that my mum and my family prefer and grew up with.

The way that I know that the cake comes out right is when the cake has that deep amber color with those air pockets that run from the bottom up, and has a super airy and chewy-like texture. We like the cake to be moist yet springy instead of having a “cakey” texture. We also like the cake to have a buttery caramel flavor and a mellow smoky bittersweet fragrance from the “burnt” butter sugar syrup instead of being “eggy” and “milky”.

Happy cooking 😉

Several notes here to share with you:

  • You could substitute raw sugar with white sugar if you prefer. This will not affect the taste of the cake.

  • Once the sugar is melted, it is highly recommended that you wait until the melted sugar begins to foam and becomes slightly darker in color. This will contribute to the cake’s deep amber color, its caramel flavor, and the mellow smoky bittersweet fragrance from the "burnt" sugar.

  • It is highly recommended to stir the foamy hot melted sugar to first settle the build-up foam. This is to avoid the mixture from spattering and bubbling up vigorously when hot water is added to the hot melted sugar.

  • It is highly recommended to leave the spoon in the pot before adding hot water to the hot melted sugar. The spoon surface will pop the bubbles and somehow prevent the mixture from boiling over.

Here is a quick rundown of the recipe:

Ingredients for Honeycomb Cake

  • 360 g Raw Sugar

  • 400 ml Hot Water

  • 200 g Plain Water

  • 5 Eggs (±68 g each)

  • 200 g Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 125 g Unsalted Butter

  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder

  • ½ Tsp Baking Soda

  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Concentrated Extract

  •  ¼ Tsp Salt

Method of Preparation

  1. Add the sugar to a dry and clean pot. Shake the pot to distribute the sugar evenly. Cook the sugar over LOW heat until they are melted thoroughly. Cooking the sugar over LOW heat this way will reduce the amount of smoke produced and further prevent the sugar from burning. Switch OFF the heat once the melted sugar begins to foam and becomes darker in color.

    Stir the hot melted sugar carefully with a wooden spoon to settle the build-up foam. Leave the spoon in the pot and add hot water to the melted sugar. Leaving the spoon in the pot while adding hot water to the melted sugar this way will prevent a spillage and splatter of the hot mixture.

    Carefully stir the hot mixture over LOW heat to loosen the hardened sugar sticked onto the pot. Add butter to the pot. Stir the mixture until the butter are melted thoroughly. The buttery "burnt" sugar syrup should be in a rich deep brown color and have a somewhat bitter flavor. Switch the heat Off and keep the pot aside. Let the syrup to cool slightly until it is lukewarm to the touch.

  2. Add baking powder and baking soda to the plain flour. Stir the mixture to combine thoroughly and then set the bowl aside.

  3. Add sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla concentrated extract, and salt to a bowl. Stir the mixture with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Sift the flour prepared earlier into the bowl. Stir the mixture with the whisk until they are well combined. Stir them vigorously to remove any lumps. The batter should be creamy and fall slowly, forming a "ribbon" consistency. Add the buttery "burnt" sugar syrup prepared earlier into the batter. Make sure that the syrup is lukewarm to the touch beforehand.  Stir the mixture with the whisk to mix thoroughly.

  4. Grease a square cake tin 20cm x 20cm x 5cm with cooking oil on all sides. Insert 2 pieces of double layer baking paper neatly in the cake tin to cover all sides. The baking paper should be long enough to line the cake tin with an excess length on all sides long enough for lifting the cake out of the tin later.

    Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin.

  5. Preheat the fan-forced oven set to 100°C for 15 mins.

    After 15 mins, transfer the cake tin to the preheated oven. Bake the mixture in the oven’s lowest rack at 100°C for 30 mins.

  6. After 30 mins, increase the oven temperature to 150°C and continue baking for another 40 mins or until the cake is baked through. Baking the cake initially at 100°C and later increase to 150°C in my experience, will create more pockets of air within the cake and make it less "cakey".

    After 40 mins, carefully remove the hot cake tin from the oven. Transfer the cake tin onto the table. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake to check for doneness. The cake is baked through if the toothpick comes out clean.

    The Honeycomb Cake should be cooled completely before removing it from the cake tin for easy cutting and handling.

  7. Enjoy this delicious dessert over a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Happy cooking 😉🧡

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