Malaysian Monday 43:Beehive Cake/ Honeybee Cake (Kuih Sarang Semut)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hi everyone, how was the weekend?

We had a burst of glorious picnic weather, so I left off making something for Malaysian Monday until late on Sunday. As it turned out, I should have started earlier, as it took two attempts to get an almost-right result.

I was attempting to make something called Beehive cake, also known as Kuih Sarang Semut (ant’s nest cake). This cake has an interesting texture – it is dense, chewy, and moist all at the same time. Its appearance is also very distinct, full of tunnels and holes, hence the name.

I’d found a recipe in mum’s handwritten collection, and I as soon as I’d read it, I wondered if I would get a good result. Should have trusted my instincts.

See, Mum has a bit of a system - good recipes are usually marked with a tick, ones that don’t work are crossed out with the words “No Good” scrawled across them. Sometimes, she made annotations or wrote alternate instructions in the margins. This recipe was pristine, meaning she probably never got around to trying it out.  Also, the recipe called for baking powder, and I was quite sure baking soda was needed for this cake.

But since I had to start somewhere, I halved the ingredients, then followed the instructions to the letter, and ended up with just normal cake, Quite tasty cake since there was caramel and condensed milk involved, but completely unlike the cake I was attempting.

This is not the cake you're looking for

Scratch that recipe! (literally).

I then did what any self-respecting food blogger would do.  Google. Which is how I found Sunflower’s blog and a recipe, complete with successful photo of my desired cake. The ingredient list and ratios were quite similar to my original recipe, but the method was completely different.

Again, I halved the recipe, and used a loaf tin, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

Yay, I got a whole lot of holes! The cake should really have more holes than this, so I’m not quite sure where I went wrong. Perhaps, I didn’t let the batter sit for long enough, or perhaps the baking soda was old.

Never mind, at least it tasted good – a strong caramel flavour without being overly sweet. Perfect for packing into school lunchboxes ☺ Happy back to school and have a great start to the week!

Don’t forget, 3 Hungry Tummies and I have started a blog event called Muhibbah Malaysian Monday and we’d love for you to join us. This link will tell you more. Speaking of links, do remember to link back to us and mention the words Muhibbah Malaysian Monday somewhere in the post. Thank you!


chocolatesuze said...

ooh i am intrigued at the use of condensed milk in this cake! sounds awesome

The Real Mother Hen said...

It took me a long time to recall this cake, and if I recall correctly, I quite liked it when I was young. So thank you for the recipe link to Sunflower's blog btw. I do intend to join you for Muhibbah Malaysian Monday... but alas, I have not made any real Malaysian food for such a long time!

Cheah said...

Oh, holely cake! Looks nice have seen this in other blogs as well, but have never tasted it before. Bet it's nice!

3 hungry tummies said...

Hey Shaz I don't think I have had this since I was a teenage, that's too long!
I am glad you are doing all the kuih-muih and if only you are in Melbourne :)

tina_bakes said...

thanks to your post, i can now recall the sweet caramel flavour of this cake... but can't remember the last time i had it!!

confession: eons ago, as a teenager i attempted a German choc cake.. my parents had some guests over and I proudly presented my cake... and the lady said, "wow.. beehive cake!" hahaha... totally not the expression i was after :) you can imagine how wrong my German choc cake turned out, huh?? heheheh

Sunflower said...

Sorry the cake looks a bit dense. Try next time full size follow the instructions. Sometime full size cake performs better than half. And do use fresh bicarb to make sure. Do not whisk the eggs.

shaz said...

chocolatesuze - I couldn't really taste the condensed milk in the finished cake, it really tastes more caramel than milky. But of course, you can always lick the measuring spoon :)

The Real Mother Hen - aha, then maybe this is time to start? wink, wink. Actually, if not for my Malaysian Monday posts, I don't think I would cook Malaysian food very often either!

Cheah - if you like caramel flavour, then this would be a good cake to try.

3 hungry tummies - me too (wish I was in Melbourne) so I could eat your food. On second thoughts, maybe not, I'd "expand" too much!

tina_bakes - ha ha ha, you could have passed it off as fusion cake - German honeybee chocolate cake!

Sunflower - thank you for all the great tips! I'll definitely try again. The taste and texture actually was very good, it was quite spongy, not heavy at all. I really think it was my baking soda, I don't use it very often (don't like the taste), so it's probably sulking :)

Barbara said...

Really, Shaz, what WOULD we do without research on the internet??
It sounds as though the cake with the condensed milk (my favorite ingredient!) was good, just not what you wanted. Glad you persevered and found your beehive cake. Sunflower's tips will probably lead to the perfect cake, but I have to admit, I like the looks of your result. It DOES look beehivey and I could almost taste the honey!

Anh said...

Kuih world is very strange to me... So that cake looks good (I will like it if u gave me! :D

Trissa said...

Oooh I've never heard of this cake before - looks delicious - and I like how you've described it - dense, chewy and moist all at once... and I would really like the try condensed milk in a cake - have heard good things about it.

Heavenly Housewife said...

I think it probably was the baking soda. Regardless, the cake looks yummy and moist. I love using honey as an ingredient. It is sooooo good for you (at least, thats what i tell myself when i put it in sweets).
*kisses* HH

Y said...

I've tried making this cake too, for nostalgic reasons. It turned out really well, but unfortunately I was left eating most of it, as the boy isn't into most Asian style sweets. By the way, you can check if your baking soda is still active, by popping a small spoonful into a glass of warm water to see if it still fizzes.

shaz said...

Thanks Barbara, you're right, the first cake tasted good but had the wrong texture.

Anh - this is kind of a crossbreed kuih/cake :)

Trissa - I'm keen to try the 3 milk cake I've read so much about. Or is it 3 milk flan?

Heavenly Housewife - cheers! The name is deceptive, there's actually no honey in it, just condensed milk and caramel.

Y - that's exactly why I halve the recipes, because I usually end up eating it, no one else will have it. Thanks for the baking soda tip, I'll definitely try that tomorrow just to check.

Hungry Dog said...

What an interesting looking cake. I love the name! I have to say, your first incarnation looks delicious too!

Juliana said...

In spite of the cake being dense, I am sure it taste yummie, with all the honey in it...and kind of look like the beehive with the holes in it ;-)

Julia @Mélanger said...

I have never made anything like this before. So glad that you tried again so you could share this with us!

Vanille said...

The texture and the look of your cake remind me a French "pain d'épice". And it was indeed perfect as snack for school. I'd be curious to try this honeybee cake.

grace said...

as long as i can taste me some caramel, i'm happy. i like your beehive shape (and hand-drawn bees!). :)

shaz said...

Hungry Dog - thanks :) The first one was actually pretty tasty.

Juliana - happy you think it looks like a beehive

Julia @Mélanger - glad I did too :)

Vanille - that bread sounds delicious. I have to try and find out how to make it, perhaps you could show us? :)

grace - caramel is certainly good :) MC Senior drew the bee for me.

Barbara Bakes said...

I love the first picture. So cute the way you styled the cake.

shaz said...

Thanks Barbara - the kids wanted to help, one drew a pic and the other lent a prop :)

Emma @CakeMistress said...

Fascinating texture on the cake! Really do love a rich honey cake. This looks gorgeous.