In my previous post, “Rice Cooker Pandan Sponge Cake – Third Time Lucky?”, I mentioned that the first successful cake I have ever made from scratch on my own was the Malaysian Honeycomb Cake. If you have read an earlier write-up I posted way back in July 2010, Baking is Not Really My Cup of Tea or is It?, it was then that I hinted my craving for aspongy, bitter-sweet, nutty and caramelised, dark brown cake resembling bee-or-ant nesting holes’, which I recalled – as a child – calling the cake “Beehive cake”.

Being a noob cook, I carried on dauntlessly searching on the net for “Beehive Cake”, but each search brought me to a totally different kind of cake!

Uh-uh! I definitely did not search for Marge Simpson’s hairdo look-alike. LOL! No offence to all those who carry Marge Simpson’s hairdo *chuckle*

Then I tried “Honeycomb Cake” because of the close semblance of the cake to a honeycomb-like pattern, like so …

A_Honeycomb_honeycomb pattern

And there, on the top search list was Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe from the House of Annie. There are other bloggers who have made this cake and they have always seemed to refer to Nate & Annie’s foolproof recipe. Nate mentioned that he referred to Jo’s Deli Bakery’s website; however I could not trace back that particular link anymore. I wonder…?

House of Annie made a fantastic step-by-step instruction of the recipe on YouTube for dummies, like me. LOL!

I actually followed the YouTube Nate posted to a tee without actually reading the recipe on beforehand. But, it was C*R*Y*S*T*A*L clear from inception to completion! Thanks, Nate and Annie 🙂

And by the way, I wonder why you guys are so ‘silent’ these days? Do come back and keep posting…


The Malaysian Honeycomb Cake aka Kek Sarang Semut (Anthill or Ant Nest) is similar (re texture) to the Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake (Bánh Bò Nướng) and the Indonesian Kuih Bingka Ambon, however, the glaring difference is that the Malaysian Honeycomb Cake recipe has no coconut milk and is dark brown in colour, due to the process of the caramelizing or browning of the sugar.

I must confess that this is about the only cake I have re-visited gazillions of times. My sons love this cake and the older one has become quite addicted to it, hence dubbing the cake, “space cake”. LOL!

I made this cake again recently. I guess my childhood craving got the better of me 😉

I felt a sense of nostalgia hanging over me at each mention of the “beehive cake”… erm…I meant the Honeycomb Cake. The BIG difference, though, was that I home-baked the cake from scratch! Not store-bought that was labelled with a shelf life.

Introducing my Malaysian Honeycomb Cake made in my kitchen in Belgium. It was fresher than FRESH! It was simply divine 😉 

1. Honeycomb_whole cake_r

B_Honeycomb_bundt pan_before+after

Instead of a round cake pan, I used the Gugelhupf or Bundt pan and I think I will stick to baking this cake in that pan. Why? Because, it made the cake looked more like a ‘Beehive Cake’, hence, reconciling how I used to call the cake as a child versus the appearance. LOL! 


Un-melting sweet moments …

Usually when a recipe calls for sugar, I opt to use raw cane sugar as much as possible. Well, sugar is sugar. No matter what, it gets into our system. Unfortunately, our liver cannot tell whether the sugar we used is raw, white or organic.

Since raw cane sugar are less processed compared to most other sweeteners, I would like to believe that it’s just a tad healthier 😉

But what happened when I chose to use raw cane sugar in my home-baked honeycomb cake?

Wrong choice!

The raw cane sugar just did not caramelize!

The sugar crystals remained whole even when the pan was smoking away! I did add some cassonade light brown sugar to see the effect. Both sugars did not melt at all. In fact they hardened! Well I did not want to wait until next May or a century for the caramel sauce to develop, hence, exit the raw cane sugar.

Definitely, not the right choice of sugar to make the caramel sauce.

D_Honeycomb_wrong sugar to use

This recipe is adapted from House of Annie’s Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe, with only a few changes indicated in blue font.

Ingredients –

  • 210 g sugar (Table sugar or granulated white sugar is best to optimize the caramel effect – in a jiffy!!)
  • 240 g water
  • 80 g butter (I used ‘Solo’ butter, which, apparently was slightly salted – which was perfect)
  • 6 eggs
  • 160 g condensed milk
  • 180 g all-purpose flour (I used self-raising flour, sifted)
  • 2½ tsp baking soda

Method –

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, caramelize the sugar until it turns a dark golden brown.
  2. Slowly and carefully pour the water into the caramel. In their video, Nate warned us that the caramel is very hot and the water will quickly boil and steam. Stir until the caramel is dissolved in the water and it becomes thin syrup. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the butter and set the pan aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F (circa 180C)
  5. Mix together the egg and condensed milk in a bowl.
  6. Sift the flour and baking soda together into the egg and milk. Mix well.
  7. Pour the caramel butter sauce into the batter and mix well.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased, 9-inch round cake pan. Let it sit for 5 minutes for the bubbles to begin developing. (I used a Gugelhupf / Bundt pan, greased)
  9. Bake at 350F (ca 180C) with bottom heat only (no convection!) for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  10. When the cake is cool, turn it out onto a plate. Slice and serve. (I cooled my baked cake on a wire rake)




2. Honeycomb_collage1


J_Honeycomb_honeycomb patterns_collage

K_Honeycomb_pattern_closed up

L_Honeycomb_slice1 M_Honeycomb_slice3

By the way, the Honeycomb Cake can be steamed as well – if I’m not mistaken, using a different type of flour. I have not tried steaming the cake, but I think I might give it a go in my Rice Cooker … one fine day *wink*

The milk used in the Honeycomb Cake recipe was the Sweetened Condensed Milk, hence, I thought linking up to the May 2014 LTU event with the selected item “MILK” hosted by Tze from Awayofmind Bakery House would be most appropriate. Little Thumbs up (LTU) is organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The May 2014 entries can be found on this post, which included the linkup of this write-up.


Little Thumbs Up

Because this extraordinary cake reminded me of my childhood days, it was made with LOTS of love and care.  I thought a link up to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv‘s  Made With Love Mondays: Week of 5th May 2014 would be most appropriate.

Made with Love Mondays

Enjoy the rest of the week!


  1. Wow wow wow, I am very very very impressed, and jealous too! Can I be your neighbour? =)

  2. Nasifriet says:

    Yes, you can!!! We are neighbours by an hours drive away !!! We should get together one day for pot luck😉

    Now it’s your turn… “Bake” this cake in your 5.5 cupper RC…. I am still hesitating to bake this cake in my grand old lady😄.

  3. Yes, we should get together for potluck, or invite some of your friends over and we can have a Singapore-Malaysia cook-out. Although I can drive, but I only drive to run errands in the village and to pick up my kids. Only been on the highway once or twice, scared stiff from the aggresive truck drivers and confusing highway roads in belgium. Will be a challenge to drive alone to your house, plus my car has no TOM TOM, have to rely on hubby as chauffeur..
    This cake requires the making of caramel, I still have nightmare of making caramel from my caramelized banana cake, dunno what went wrong…

  4. Granulated sugar is castor sugar? Last time for my caramel banana cake, my sugar took such a long time to melt, when it finally melted and I added butter followed by evaporated milk, the caramel syrup fizzled and turned into rock-hard caramel bits. Had to do it a 2nd time, but there was still a little which turned hard which I had to spoon it out….

  5. Nasifriet says:

    Deal! I guess potluck will have to wait until early autumn as from now until end Summer will be quite a challenge with workload, holidays and special guests coming over..

    Let’s catch up on this again nearer the date.. But not too near as we need to plan who to bring what..,😜

  6. Nasifriet says:

    It’s the plain white sugar I bought at Colruyt or Delhaize.

    When caramelising the sugar, just leave the sugar in the pan without stirring with a spoon at all. The sugar will melt very quickly and turn brown and liquid. Just swirl the pan to amalgamate the caramel. I did not add milk in the caramel, but water. As the caramel is above boiling point, the water will splatter, and bubble like the volcano lava… Keep pouring the water until the mass cools down with no sign of bubbles. Remove from heat and then add the butter. The syrup is the last to be combined in the cake batter.. The milk and eggs mixture go in the batter not in the caramel sauce. Maybe that’s why it became rock-hard and lumpy? Did your recipe call for using water? Maybe you should try this caramel method because it worked for me from day one I made this cake and I had NO idea of baking cakes😄

  7. Kimmy says:

    This is lovely. The texture is perfect, live up to its’ name. Thumbs Up.

  8. Tze says:

    hi Nasifriet, great to know you through blog link! i am so impressed by the way you made your honeycombs cake. now i know why it is your son choice of cake. The texture of the cake looks lovely and is my first time seeing people baked the honeycombs cake.using that mould.

    Thanks for the linkup with LTU!

  9. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Kimmy.
    This cake never lasts more than a day. We all love it 😉

  10. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks for hosting May’s theme! Actually I had wanted to post this early in the week, but we had very sporadic internet connection..

    I think this mould is just perfect, not only for chiffon cakes, because the cake cooks evenly around the centre. I had used the round cake pan. It was good but the honeycomb pattern was not as impressive as using the bundt pan😉

  11. […] Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Re-visited […]

  12. Zoe says:

    Seeing your pictures, I realised that at different angles, I see different honey comb patterns… Interesting!

  13. Nasifriet says:

    The little rectangle ones were cross sections of a cross-sectioned slice. That accounted to the different honeycomb patterns 😉

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