Kek Sarang Lebah – Bee’s Hive Cake

I have never made this cake in my life because all the time I have tasted it I never liked it as it was not fluffy, dense, and sometimes too much of certain ingredients.  Mum, has often hassled me I think since as long as I can remember to make this cake, so after nearly 20 years (Yes, Patience is a virtue) I made it.  All because I was in a good mood and the fact that the butter I needed to try out some cookie recipes was hard as rock.

Anyhow, this is a Malay recipe and I am sure in the beginning there was no use of ovens and all. So I am sure too the end result would be different.  While we use all the modern amenities around, I am sure the ladies back then used a hand whisk.

So here is the recipe:

Castor sugar                                         ¾ cup

Hot Water                                            1 cup

Butter                                                   ¼

Self Raising Flour                                  1 cup

Bicarbonate of Soda                             1 tsp

Eggs                                                           4

Condensed Milk                                   1 cup

A pinch of salt


  1. Place sugar in a pot and heat it on low flame.  The sugar will slowly start to brown.   This stage is crucial as you do not want burnt sugar that could result in a rather bitter cake.  This will take about 6 to 8 minutes and let the sugar brown slowly as you stir it
  2. Pour in hot water little by little and let it boil. Always be careful as the reaction of the hot sugar and water can result in pure hot sugar splashing on your hand.
  3. Let it boil lightly and throw in the butter. Do not melt the butter completely, remove from flame and leave to cool. Stir it from time to time.  You should have a nice butterscotch taste.
  4. In the mean time, beat the eggs, add in a pinch of salt. Eggs should be beaten till it is a light yellow and very fluffy.  It is best to use a mixer if it is available.
  5. Pour in condensed milk and carry on mixing till it is fluffy.
  6. Sieve in the flour and the bicarbonate of soda.  Fold in gently. Ensure there are no lumps. If there are lumps then whisking.
  7. Pour in the butter sugar mixture and whisk it with a hand whisk.
  8. Leave the batter to rest for about 1 hour.
  9. In the mean time, prepare a cake tin.  I used a 20 cm x 14 cm.  I think a slightly smaller tin would be better so the cake will look thicker.
  10. Line the tray carefully with aluminum foil as shown.  Brush with butter.
  11. Preheat the oven to 160 to 170 C.
  12. Before pouring in the batter into the tray, whisk it to mix it up one last time. Pour into cake tin and bake for about 40 to 60 minutes depending on the thickness.
  13. Once a skewer comes out clean, then cake is done.
  14. I ate it straight away. You are suppose to wait till it is cold. Remove it from the tray and leave it out. Cut it when it is firmer.  So they say.

4 responses to “Kek Sarang Lebah – Bee’s Hive Cake

  1. With a name like Kek Sarang Lebah, you would think there will be honey involved. 😛

    • I hate the taste of honey. The butter sugar gives it a nice butterscotch taste. Hmmmmm maybe you are right, must check other recipes to see if there is honey but I think the lebah bit came about because of the texture and the appearance. My cake is too flat, I should have placed it in a smaller cake tin to see the height. It’s finished by the way, mum had guests and they finished it all and ordered some.

  2. I remember having this cake long, long, long time ago. I will give it a try. Exactly how much butter does the recipe call for? 1/4?

    • it would be 1/2 of your butter, should be about 2 oz a tiny bit more wont hurt, and the sugar if a tiny more bit burnt would taste wonderful. Try it and take some photos and I will put it on here.

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