Daily Cooking Quest

easy Indonesian recipes

Kue Sarang Semut - Caramel "Ants Nest" Cake

Kue sarang semut, literally translated to ants nest cake. This strange name comes from the fact that the cake’s cross section resembles the appearance of ants nest. But despite its weird appearance, don’t dismiss this cake, since the ugly looking cake is actually very delicious in both taste and texture. From its ingredients list, you may think that you will end up with typical cake texture, but this cake is slightly chewy, a bit like bika ambon if you are familiar with that, and the caramel sauce is what gives the cake its signature dark brown color. Some say that this cake is tricky to make with the most common failure being the end result lacking the desired sarang (a.k.a nest) from the cake. I myself have been pretty consistently lucky with this recipe, so I hope you can follow my recipe to successfully make this cake at home.

Kue Sarang Semut - Caramel "Ants Nest" Cake

Kue Sarang Semut - Caramel "Ants Nest" Cake

Kue Sarang Semut - Caramel "Ants Nest" Cake



Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 16


  • Caramel syrup
  • 280 gram sugar
  • 100 ml water + 250 ml water
  • Cake
  • 145 gram all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 115 gram butter, room temperature
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 200 gram sweetened condensed milk


  • Caramel syrup
    1. Place sugar and 100 ml of water in a heavy bottom sauce pot. Heat on medium until all sugar has melted and the color becomes light amber.
    2. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until it bubbles rapidly (i.e. caramelized). The color should be quite dark at this point.
    3. Quickly take the pot off from heat, wait 30 seconds, then pour the remaining 250 ml of water into the pot. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then start stirring until all the caramel dissolves.
    4. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with a saran wrap, and cool in a fridge. (*)
  • Cake
    1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celcius).
    2. Grease and flour a 8"x8" square pan. Set aside.
    3. Sift together all purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
    4. In another mixing bowl, cream butter with a mixer. Then add egg yolks, one at a time, mix with the butter until well combined. Then add 1/3 of the egg whites, continue mixing until well combined, then add the rest of the egg whites and continue mixing until well combined.
    5. Add vanilla essence into the batter, mix until well combined.
    6. Add half of the sifted flour, beat with low speed until combined.
    7. Add the other half of the sifted flour, beat with low speed until almost smooth.
    8. Add sweetened condensed milk, whisk on low until well combined.
    9. Slowly pour in the cooled caramel syrup into the batter. With a spatula, fold until well combined.
    10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake on the lower 1/3 of an oven for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
    11. Cool the cake in the pan, then cut into serving slices and serve at room temperature.


  • (*) Make sure the syrup is cool, at least room temperature, before adding it to the batter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:

Thank you! Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Something went wrong...