Monday, October 8, 2007

Bingka Sarang (HoneyComb Cake)

Rhiana, Imogen & Natalie said, 'It's wierd. We can't even taste the honey!'
That was the response from the three little girls (some of my usual guinea pigs) when I gave them the Honeycomb Cake.
Ehmm, it just looks like honeycomb (the look) not the taste, children. So conclusion: this is an oldies cake and if you under 25 you prob cant appreciate it.

It is interesting to know that some people actually take such effort to come out with cakes like this, so much precision needed for a few bites. Malaysians must be real real food lovers. O maybe, like Greg would tell you, it was a mistake, they forget the lid so accidentally created the Honeycomb effect. Oh well whichever way, it is still a very nice cake/snacks, ingredients not difficult find and mixed, just the method of baking requires certain precision. This cake exist in Malaysia and Indonesia (they called it Bika Ambon) and it is siding slightly more towards Nyonya Kuih rather than Cakes. Recipes varied slightly. Both have leavening it in to create the comb effects.

Nee's freshly baked Bingka Sarang

300gm of coconut milk (use about 1/2kg of santan + 3/4 of water, squeeze juice out)
220 - 250 gm of castor sugar
4-5 no of pandan leaves, washed and wiped clean

1) Put the above in small pot and over medium fire and stir consistently to melt sugar. Right before boiling (seeing little bubbles on side, off the fire). Let it cool, will take approximately 1 hour or so.

1 tbsp of yeast (instant ones)
1/2 tbsp of plain flour
4 tbsp of water
2) Mix the B ingredient, stir til even. Side aside for 10-15 min.

1/2 teasp of vanilla essence
10 egg yolks
160 gm of good quality sifted tapioca flour (Use of tapioca flour are common in Nyonya Kuih). If quality no good, your cake may turn out too soft and not chewy enough.

3) Hand whisk egg yolks til even, add essence, cont stirring
4) Add B mixture, cont stirring
5)Add flour, stir til even, and finally add A mixture. Use a spatula to press out the lumps. Set aside for 2 hours to allow yeast to take reactions.

The baking (after trying out 4 times):
1)Prepare an approx 10 cm high pot, 24 to 28 cm diameter. Preferrably a thicker pot as you will be placing in on fire. Pot must not be too high as circulation will not be even.

2)Grease the bottom of a 8-9 inch cake tin. Note only the bottom, not the side and do not let grease touch the side as it will cause cake to collapse into the middle. No baking paper as well as the heat from bottom will push the paper to the top or worse into the middle of cake.

3) Place a 1 1/2 - 2 inch stand in the pot and put your cake tin on it. If stand is too low, bottom of cake will be too close to fire and turn black. Put layers of aluminium foil around the cake tin to prevent heat from escaping from the side of pot.

4) After 2 hours, pour your mixture through a sift into your cake tin. Turn on the fire. This part you need to explore as different stove has different fire strength. Use medium or slightly lower if your stove is very strong. Let it bake for 35 to 45 min uncovered. The cake will cook from the side towards the centre. Little airholes can be seen on top of cake. Once only about 3 inch diameter of centre left uncook, this stage is completed.

5) Turn the fire lower on your cake while you prepare your top cover pot (about 5 cm or lower in height) over high fire. Will take at least 10 min.

6) Take the top cover pot and flip it onto the cake pot (they should fit well). Let it cook over low fire for another 10 min. This will properly brown the surface. If you want it browner, chuck into your oven with top fire or grill mode and cook for another min or so just to brown the surface.

7) Let cake cooled before taking it out the cake tin. You may experience some difficulties as no baking paper can be used. Cut only after the cake is cooled. You should get bottom to top combs.

Suggestion: No tested yet! Use bottom oven fire, then top fire together with bottom. Same concept of using heat bottom to lift the cake from bottom thus creating little airholes as there is leavening in the cake. Then heat on top to brown the cake. My guess is oven will prob take longer. Will try this soon but a little sick of honeycomb cake for now, after 4 x baking (being an engineering academic makes me dangerously experimental and tenacious). So if you burn your pots or your stove or worse your kitchen, the blogger holds no responsibilities for the suggestion or method given. Good Luck!


Larisa said...

Step 3 on your recipe said to place a 2 inch stand in the pot. What do you mean by stand?

NEE said...

stand = metal circles with little legs like those you put your hot pots on so that it does not touch your table or those you use in wok for steaming fish and meat.

the stand is to prevent the tin from touching the bottom of pot then heat is too direct. you can get any general supermarket for rm2-3 per stand.

julia said...

Thank you for your recipee, i will try it soon. I try to make a very good Pandan vietnamese cake (banh bo) with beautiful honey comb! I can make honey comb but i want to get a more light, shiny and chewy texture with a lot of bubbles inside. That's very hard so I try again and again... I usually bake it in oven but I want to try yours. Just a stupid question do you put a lot of water in the pot?

julia said...

I read your recipee again and maybe you don't put water inside the pot??? so it's not steamed... well my pot has a good shape but it's too thin I'm afraid it's going to burn :(

NEE said...

Hi Julia I dont have water in the pot. so yes used heavy pot. otherwise you will be sacrifice one pot per cake. no worth it.

Note that mine is more of a kuih version texture. if you are talking about the hongkong cake or dunlop cake which it is known in kuching, of darker brown colour, try chickyegg blog on the link on the side of my blog. she has a oven bake ones.

julia said...

Thank you for your answer. I don't know where i can find a pot heavy enough but i will try to find something. I really want to try your recipe! It's very similar to mine in fact.
The cake I want to make is this one:
It's called banh bo (vietnamese la dua or pandan cake). Mine is good but not perfect as the one I'm buying to a vietnamese Grandma (the one one the picture). Of course she doesn't want to give me the recipe! She told me she uses coconut milk,pandan,rice flour and tapioca flour, no eggs, and "rice yeast?" I hope your recipe will help me to understand how to make this cake...

Anonymous said...

hi nee,

do u have any idea what makes the
honeycomb effect?


Anonymous said...

Nee, thank you so much for this recipe. I had this in Hong Kong during Dim Sum and have been HOOKED on it. I've been craving it sooo bad since I came back to the states and have no idea what this was called or even if the recipe exists. I will try this tonight (must run to the grocery store! Very excited!!!! Thank you again!!

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

delia said...

Hi Nee,
Gong Xi Fatt Chai!
Have you tried this recipe already? I am eager to try but maybe after cny. What is the % of success of this recipe? In step (4) the cake is uncovered, in (5) is covered, is it? I don't have this type of pot, so after step (4) can I just use oven to grill it?

Nee said...

hi delia

Step 4 is uncovered because you want to cook bottom up. then set 5 is covered because the top pan is hot. you want to cook the top now.

i think as long as the holes are seen on the top, you can start to grill it in the oven. sounds reasonable to me.

NEE said...

Sorry Annon, did not see the comments on the pages sometimes. becaue the readers talk back section sometimes does not appear. and when it does appear, maybe push to another page due to the arrangement of the page which always put in more latest comments.

i hope you have tried the cake. Tell me if it is good.

NEE said...

To foodlover, there are many theories, some use baking powder others bi carb. these are agents to make more holes.
what i have here is heat. bottom up and push air bubbles upwards to create the holes then cook top bit.

to the other annon, not sure if you are the same person, we are not pro blog writers, this is just a place for us to share and keep ourselves updated with friends and family. we would not want to make sharing into a big deal that it stress us up. As u can see, now hardly even update. not to say videos and so forth. anyway the recipes we have shown so many steps with pics already.

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