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Bika Ambon (Indonesian Honeycomb Cake)

Posting Date: 09/24/17

Bika Ambon (Indonesian Honeycomb Cake)

Bika Ambon (Indonesian Honeycomb Cake) is an Indonesian dessert that is normally found in local markets. Despite its name, Ambon, it didn't originate in Ambon, an island located in the East or a city in Maluku island. Bika Ambon originated in Medan in North Sumatra, an island located in the West. People visiting the city brought the cake as a gift and thus, it became famous in the country. The cake has unique texture because of the yeast used. It looks like honeycomb and is spongy but slightly chewy.

To properly have honeycomb texture, you need to make sure the temperature of the coconut milk mixture is not more than 110 deg F so that it doesn't kill the yeast. However, you don't want the temperature to be too low, under 105 deg F, because it will take a long time for the yeast to activate.

This cake serves 4-6 people.


  • 350 ml coconut milk. If you use coconut milk from can, make sure you shake the can before opening it so that it get mixed well.
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into 2 pieces to releave flavor. If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, you can use zest from 1 lime. You can also use orange or lemon leaves if you can find them.
  • 170 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 6 large eggs
  • 170 grams tapioca flour or starch. You can find it in Asian stores.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Place coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar into a small pot. Heat it over medium high heat. Stir it from time to time and make sure the liquid is not boiling because we don't want it to separate. Cook it until sugar has dissolved. Set it aside and measure the temperature of the liquid. If it is above 110 deg F, set it aside until it reaches 110 deg F or slighly below. You don't want it above 110 deg F because it will kill the yeast. On the other hand, you don't want the temperature to be under 105 deg F because it will take a long time for the yeast to activate. Once it has reached 110 deg F, discard kaffir lime leaves, add the yeast, and wait for 15 min for it to activate.
  2. While waiting for the yeast to acivate, place egg, tapioca flour, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using a mixer or hand mixer, mix until it becomes smooth. Once you see the yeast mixture has become frothy or had a lot of bubbles on the surface, pour the yeast mixture in the flour mixture. Mix it again until it becomes smooth. Cover mixing bowl with kitchen towel and set it aside for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, you should see a lot of bubbles on the surface. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Turn on the oven to 350 deg F. Using rubber spatula, mix the flour mixture well to make sure flour is not set to the bottom and the mixture is smooth. You can use bread loaf pan if you want it thick or you can use square cake pan if you want it thinner. Place parchment paper inside the pan. Make sure the parchment paper overhangs on the side of pan so that it will be easier to pull the cake out of the pan. Grease the parchment paper well. Pour the flour mixture in the pan. Once the oven is at temperature, put the pan inside the oven and bake it. During baking, rotate the pan 90 deg every 12 min to ensure it is baked uniformly. Bake the cake until it is cooked, i.e. when a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. This takes about 40 min in my oven.
  4. Let cake stay in the pan for 10 min before pulling it out from the pan. To pul it out, pull the overhanging parchment paper and let it cool down on the cooling rack. Slice the cake and serve it.

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