Bika Ambon or loosely translated as Honey Comb Cake because of how it looks like, porous, is squishy and rich tasting cake with wonderful aroma from kaffir lime leaves. A delicacy treasured by many in Indonesia.
JUMP TO RECIPE
The market and the streets are usually packed with busy shoppers and cars weeks before Chinese New Year (CNY) at my little hometown where I grew up. CNY decorations are everywhere. I love the atmosphere. Perhaps not the best time to shop because prices of food and pretty much everything goes up, but as a kid, I was always excited and looking forward to the food and visiting relatives and friends. As an adult, I still went home every year to celebrate CNY with family when I lived in Singapore for a short 3 years. How I wish I could still go back every year now. The CNY atmosphere is simply not here in Minnesota. Which I understand because there’s only a minority of Asian who celebrate CNY here.
Bika/Bingka Ambon is one of the very popular cakes originated from my hometown, Medan, Indonesia. It is actually considered a delicacy. It is made famous by this one shop who started selling only Bika Ambon cake and few years later, the whole street is filled with other shops selling Bika Ambon too. Those shops are especially busy during holiday season. People purchase them mainly for gifting. You will see people packing tens of boxes of these cakes to bring back home all across Indonesia. I even brought some back from Medan to Singapore for my friends and they LOVE Bika Ambon.
I haven’t had Bika Ambon for a really long time. I always thought it was difficult to make. In Medan, Bika Ambon is traditionally made using Palm Wine (Tuak in Indonesian) instead of yeast. Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm tree (according to wikipedia) and it is used in many other cakes back in the old days. I saw my grandma used tuak often in her other baking. Here in Minnesota (or perhaps in the U.S. I must say), I don’t have access to Palm Wine and so yeast is used. The result is still good.
Recipe is adapted from Kitchen Tigress. I’ve tried many recipes and I like hers the best. I did modify the recipe a little bit, but it still comes out really good.
- Place the coconut milk, turmeric powder, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar in a sauce pan. Cook on low heat for about 3 minutes but do not let the coconut milk to boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool down a little bit and when it's warm, add in the yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes until it is foamy. Discard the lime leaves
- Meanwhile, place the tapioca flour, salt, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix and gradually add in the coconut milk and yeast mixture and whisk to make sure the batter is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap
- Since it is winter here when I made this, I preheat my oven to around 95 F and then turn it off and I place the batter inside and let it sit in there for 3 hours. At the end of 3 hours, you will see the little bubbles all over the batter. This means the yeast is active.
- I have a convection oven, which means I can't turn off the bottom or top heat like conventional oven can. Preheat you oven to 330 F. I use a 20 x 10 x 6 cm loaf pan so that the cake is a bit "higher". Brush the pan with some oil and then line with parchment paper on all sides. The oil helps to keep the paper in place. Give your batter a gentle stir as the tapioca flour tend to settle at the bottom. Pour the batter inside the pan and place it inside the oven (3rd rack from top) and bake for 50 minutes or until the cake doesn't jiggle anymore when you shake them a little or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Move the cake down to the bottom rack and turn on the broiler to low and let the top brown a little bit. Do not walk away as you don't want to burn the top of the cake
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and let it cool down completely on the cooling rack before slicing
I was beyond excited when I saw the honey comb when I sliced into the cake! The husband and kids love these cakes too.
Thanks to my mini model for trying to show how squishy and stretchy this cake is 🙂
Christine from Vermillion Roots Organized this #SweetLunarNewYear Party where food bloggers come together to share their favorite sweet treat in this virtual Chinese New Year Party. Here are the list of 26 sweet treats you DO NOT want to miss! Thank you so much Christine for including me in your party again this year. I’m just honored to be in the list among these wonderful talented people! I wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Chai. May this year of Rooster brings you health, prosperity, wealth, wisdom, and harmony!
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