Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Bika Ambon, or sometimes known as the Indonesian Honeycomb Cake, Bingka Ambon, Kueh Ambon, etc. Whatever you may call this, we like to call this one of the most underrated, mind-blowing cakes in the world. Frequently confused with the kuih bingka ubi, i.e. baked tapioca cake, bika ambon (i.e. bingka ambon), this is another one of Indonesia's top cakes (i.e. have you really been to Indonesia if you have not tried this?).
Don't be confused by the name, as the kueh bika ambon did not originate from the Ambon island (the capital and largest city of the Indonesian province of Maluku). It actually was "born" on a street in Medan called "Ambon Street".
Popularity of Bika Ambon
Despite it not being as wildly popular as the Kueh Lapis Legit, you're not a true fan of Indonesian cuisine and kuehs if you don't know the kue ambon. Ask any true Indonesian and they will recognise the Indonesian Honeycomb Cake in a split second. While there are many variations of the honeycomb cake across different cultures, this specific variation infusing a mix of natural herbs is unique to Indonesia's version of the "honeycomb cake". And truth be told, you simply can't find anything else like this.
You will never fail to find Bika Ambon across Indonesia, especially more so in its "hometown" in Medan - where there are at least 40 stores in a single region most famous for it. So while the Kueh Lapis Legit has much greater popularity and worldwide recognition, we like to say that those who are truly cultured will never fail to take home a bika ambon when they visit Indonesia - but perhaps you don't have to anymore ;)
Where can I buy Bika Ambon in Singapore?
As Bika Ambon gains popularity in Singapore, more of your neighborhood bakeries should already be starting to offer them. If you are looking for established popular brands, you may choose to import them from Indonesian bakeries or also choose from a variety of local brands.
The most important thing to remember about food is that taste and preferences vary from one person to another. So it's critical to find out what appeals to your taste buds most. You may browse and shop our Bika Ambon if you wish to have a taste of what thousands of happy customers recommend and love ;)
The Making of Bika Ambon
If there is anything that you need in baking a perfect Bika Ambon, it is a whole lot of practice, patience and meticulous attention to detail. While it is not as laborious as the Kueh Lapis Legit, all it takes is one small mistake to ruin your whole kueh. To achieve those mesmerising fine lines stretching from top to bottom, every single step of the process has to be spot on.
This kueh uses simple ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and coconut milk. Seems straightforward? Yes for sure. There are also many recipes out there within reach in a simple google or YouTube search - and you should most definitely give it a shot, because it is through experience that you will realise how much detail goes behind perfecting this kueh.
Before vs After - you probably don't need us to tell you which was before
Why we make Bika Ambon
You might already know how much work goes into creating this masterpiece. The thing about traditional kuehs like this one, is that every little detail matters, from the ratio of the ingredients, to the mixing, to the baking temperature, timing and more. These don't come from recipe books and videos, but rather from great experience. Making this kueh is not hard, nor inexpensive. But mastering it, will take a lot of time (i.e. patience), attention, experience and maybe a few strands of hair you pull trying to figure out what went wrong.
We always loved the bika ambon that we used to get from our roots back in Indonesia. It was a street stall without a brand name. Yet it tastes so good that you will remember exactly which road and street you got it from. While we have tried some from shops in Singapore, it is probably pretty unanimous which one tastes better. As we stopped visiting home as frequently, it was this one fine day that Mama Ying decided to make her own version of Bika Ambon. And it was in that moment that we realise, this was it. It most definitely was not perfect at first try, and we do still believe in constant improvement despite how far we've come. However, it was in that moment that we realise, we had to make this.
Long story cut short, we decided to gradually launch our kuehs - from Kueh Lapis Legit to our Bika Ambon, Kueh Salat, Steamed Kueh Lapis and more. It brings back the familiar taste of home, with a personal and important twist to it. While many bakeries cut costs on ingredients to offer more affordable alternatives, we believe strongly for offering value and quality, thus the decision to use only the finest ingredients in all our products.
How we make Bika Ambon
Bika Ambon by Ying Ah is:
Freshly baked to order to ensure that you indulge in the exquisite and authentic taste of home
Carefully baked with meticulous attention to every detail to achieve that perfect honeycomb texture with those beautiful fine lines stretching from top to bottom.
Made using the finest ingredients and our original recipe for over 30 years.
Of course the recipe is a secret, but what's not a secret is that you will never find a taste like ours elsewhere just because of the intricate details and strict quality standards we uphold. While taste is subjective, it has become objectively harder to find good traditional Indonesian cakes with commercialization happening on such a large scale. You know it when you can find and buy them at the supermarket or convenience store for a fraction of what they would usually cost at a bakery. But you really know it when you have tried it yourself (yes, we've been there).
That is why we take pride in quality and continue to strive towards making our kuehs just the way they should be and present everyone with the best - because you deserve it.
Like all other kuehs, Bika Ambon is easy to make, but hard to master. There have also been many introductions of flavour variations like pandan and more (we do not wish to even imagine the rest). As taste and preferences are so relative, to each their own. Here at Ying Ah, we have decided to stick to the original Bika Ambon with its refreshing fragrance and taste of natural herbs, at least for now.
The biggest question of all time is: Have you tried this kueh yet?
Bringing back the taste of Home