Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr
This is a traditional Indonesian cake with a similar texture to a crumpet but richer and sweet.Like many Indoonesian cakes this one is very rich so serve only a small slice. Although you can use canned coconut milk you will need a coconut for the coconut water. Don't use too old a coconut or the water will be bitter. You can sometimes buy coconut juice at Asian grocer's but this is often sweetened, so you may need to reduce the sugar by about 100g. In hot weather this cake should be stored in the fridge as it will sour. Bring to room temp before eating.
- 330 ml coconut milk, thick
- 100 ml water, lukewarm
- 50 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 150 g rice flour
- 100 g tapioca flour
- 250 g caster sugar
- 180 ml coconut water
- 5 egg yolks
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Put thick coconut milk in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over very low heat. Remove and leave aside to cool completely.
- Combine lukewarm water, flour and instant yeast in a small bowl and leave aside to froth.
- Mix both flours, sugar, coconut water, egg yolks, essence and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add fermented yeast mixture and the cooled coconut milk to mix.
- Leave mixture aside, covered with a damp tea towel to ferment for 2-3 hours.
- Turn batter into a lightly greased tray and bake in preheated oven at 200°C and bake until the top of the cake is golden brown.
Almost perfect! Authentic bika ambon is so incredible that I've been dying to find out how to make it for years. A lot of the recipes that I've seen online call for kaffir lime leaf, which isn't a flavor that I've noticed in the bika ambon I've had; but the flavor of this recipe is just about perfect. (The only addition I made was to put some pandan leaf in with the coconut milk while it was boiling.) There's still a sort of floweriness to bika ambon that this recipe didn't quite capture; I'm wondering if a teaspoonful of rose water might do the trick? But it was a minor detail; I'd say the flavor was still about 95% what I was looking for.
The big problem that I had with this recipe was the texture. After it was baked, the yeast had only honeycombed a tiny part of the cake, and it should be nothing but big chewy honeycomb. Mine was mostly solid through, with just a hint of honeycombing. I've read elsewhere that it helps to preheat the baking pan and leave the oven cracked, so I'll experiment with that and update!