Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe

Updated February 25, 2008

Originally posted December 7, 2006

No, this is not a section of an ant colony. This delectable item is a cake that you simply must try!

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

In Malaysia, this is called a “honeycomb cake”. It gets its name from the interesting honeycomb-like patterns caused by bubble trails baked into the cake. The texture is like a sponge cake, with more bounce and less crumble.

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake is similar to the Indonesian Bika Ambon but the Malaysian recipe calls for the sugar to be caramelized first, giving it a darker color. The cake is sweet with a hint of bitterness from the caramel. That’s one of the reasons I like this honeycomb cake so much.

The other thing I like about it is, it doesn’t call for a lot of ingredients, and is fairly easy to make. The only hard part is making the caramel sauce. Other than that, it’s a piece of, well, cake!

This Malaysian Honeycomb Cake recipe comes from Jo’s Deli Bakery, an excellent site for baking enthusiasts.

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe


210g sugar
240g water
80g butter
6 eggs
160g condensed milk
180g all-purpose flour
2½ tsp baking soda

(What’s that? Still haven’t gotten that digital kitchen scale yet? Tsk tsk!)


1. In a saucepan over low heat, caramelize the sugar until it turns a dark golden brown.

Making Caramel Sauce for Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

 Making Caramel Sauce for Honeycomb Cake

2. Slowly and carefully pour the water into the caramel. CAUTION! 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 a thin syrup. Remove from heat.

Pouring Water Into Caramel Sauce for Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

Pouring Water Into Caramel Sauce for Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

3. Add the butter and set the pan aside to cool.

Melting Butter in Caramel Sauce for Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

 Melting Butter in Caramel Sauce for Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

4. Preheat oven to 350*F.

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.

Pouring Caramel Butter Sauce in to Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Batter

 Pouring Caramel Butter Sauce in to Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Batter

8. Pour the batter into a greased, 9-inch round cake pan. Let it sit for 5 minutes for the bubbles to begin developing.

9. Bake at 350*F 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.

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

 Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

Here’s a video I did a couple years ago of the whole process of making the Malaysian Honeycomb Cake:

I’d like to see you readers out there try this Malaysian Honeycomb Cake recipe out for yourselves. You won’t be disappointed!

Aloha, Nate

106 thoughts on “Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe”

  1. I’ve tried making this but it came out kinda moist! What’s the solution? And sorry for double posting on earlier! 🙂

  2. Just baked this cake. Lucky I looked in after 50 mins cos the top was getting burned. Other than that, it was so yummy. Thanks to both of you.

  3. This recipe is fabulous. The base and side burnt the first time I tried it so I took it out earlier and set the temperature lower the next time. It was soft and spongy. My only disatisfaction was that the caramel was not ‘burnt’ enough and as a result, the cake was lighter than desired and I couldn’t taste too much caramelisation.

    I tried using 1/3 of each ingredient to make a smaller cake in about 1/2 of the time. It worked very well!

    Thanks for this!

  4. Hi there! I tried this recipe yesterday… It turned out perfect! Best honeycomb cake I’ve had so far. My husband thinks so too.

    Just have one question… How long should I cool the caramel before adding it to egg/flour mixture?

  5. Hi
    I would like to try it but have only a fan oven. Should I wrap the tin in brown paper and cover the top as well for part of the baking or is it a non starter?


  6. Thank you for the recipe, it is indeed good, I put my cake pan in a banmarie (pan of water) and into the oven, it comes out beautiful without the crust, almost like a pudding but cuts like a cake.

  7. thank you sooooo so much for this recipe. i will post about it soon with credits to you and your great step by step instructions. so happy it came out great on the first try.

  8. Hi,

    Just want to let you know, we have this kind of cake too in Indonesia. It is called “kue sarang semut” also called “caramel cake” and i think there is other names but i cant remember them; but ours have that trail pattern all the way from bottom to the top of the cake, exactly like bika ambon just the dark version. The recipe is even the same. So i guess this cake is the same thing like our sarang semut 🙂 I read that there are a lot of recipes similar because many Indonesians settled down in Malaysia and brought their recipes along with them 🙂

  9. Hi! Do you think we can add Gula Melaka to this recipe? I tried ur original recipe and it came out perfect. I shared the cake with my buddies and one of them suggested adding Gula Melaka… What do you think? Can it be done?

    1. Hi Fiona,

      I think that using gula Melaka would add an interesting taste to it. I think it’s worth a shot. Do try it and let us know!

  10. Dear Annie,

    I tried out your recipe and the cake was superb!! Everyone enjoyed it – all finished in one sitting! Thank you sooo much for sharing.

  11. Hi, I’d tried the recipe. It taste great but the cake only have the trail halfway up the top. How do I get the trail pattern all the way to the top?
    Should I let the batter sit longer before putting it in the oven?

  12. Hi, thanks for the recipe.. I just baked this and it is absolutely fantastic! I did not have any condensed milk at that time, so I substitute it with eggs-flour-baking powder-salt-vanilla extract mixture. Turned out great, not too sweet, and it was spongey too, just the way I liked it!

  13. Thank you Annie & Nate for sharing this recipe. I finally baked this cake today. Like you said, I’m not disappointed with the cake. It is not too sweet and easy to make too (being my first time). Thanks again. Cheers!

  14. Awesome recipe. it was my very first attempt and the cake turns out to be perfect. Is soft and spongy. Everyone loves it and am so happy. Thanks for sharing…

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