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!