Iron Chef Shellie

Ants’ Nest Cake

This recipe is from Adam Liawโ€˜s first book, also known as Honeycomb Cake or Kuih Sarang Semut which literally translates into antsโ€™ nest cake. It has a lovely dark caramel flavour, and is soft and always *moist*.


When you cook this at home please tag me too - I love to see when other people give my recipes a go!


Ants’ Nest Cake
February 17, 2014

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Ants’ Nest Cake

Firstly, if you haven’t been receiving emails / RSS feeds, all should be fixed now! One little line of code, and everything shuts down.

Secondly, Chinese New Year is officially over. Happy year of the horse to you all. May it be a prosperous and joyous one. My family waited till the last day of new year this year to have our big feast. Home-cooked by my amazing aunty/god mother who never fails to put on a feast better than any restaurant IN THE WORLD. I may be *slightly* biased. Everything from faux shark fin soup, to twice fried quail, the most extravagant lobster noodles, roast pork, prawns, vegetables, and of course yeesang. I always eat so much, I usually am food coma-ing with the 2nd course in.

Then of course there are the desserts. Back in the day it was homemade ais kacang, and I would always look forward to shaving the ice with the ice shaving device my aunty had. It was hard work but oh how I loved it. I never ate it, but I loved making the ice!

This year I made one of my aunt’s favourite cakes. I made this once a few years ago, and she totes loved it; she had a big smile when I walked through the door with this one on Friday.

It’s from Adam Liaw‘s first book, also known as Honeycomb Cake or Kuih Sarang Semut which literally translates into ants’ nest cake. It has a lovely dark caramel flavour, and is soft and always *moist*.

Ants' Nest Cake

Adam Liaw
Print Recipe


  • 220 g caster sugar
  • 85 g unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 125 ml condensed milk
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda


  • Put the sugar into a medium saucepan and heat gently, swirling the pan occasionally, until melted to a dark caramel. Reduce the heat to low and add 250ml water (it will spit, so stand back). The caramel will solidify but continue to stir over low heat until no lumps remain and you have a thin liquid caramel. Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease an 18cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Cream the butter and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the butter becomes slightly pale.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined. Add the eggs, condensed milk and caramel to the creamed butter and whisk to combine. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda and use the whisk to gently stir into the butter mixture. Don't worry that the butter doesn't mix in evenly - this is how it should be.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin and leave for a minute or two.
  • Bake for 50 minute or until the cake is springy to a gentle touch in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin, then run a knife around the edge before turning out.


9 comments on “Ants’ Nest Cake
  1. Amanda

    Thanks for sharing very nice site!

    February 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm
  2. msihua

    Ooh yours looks so much daintier and less holes than when I made mine ๐Ÿ˜›

    February 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm
  3. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    Happy Chinese New Year to you as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 17, 2014 at 10:55 pm
  4. Joanne T Ferguson

    G’day! I must admit your title caught my eye right away Shellie, true!
    Looks very moist and delish! Wish could come through the screen and try some now too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    February 18, 2014 at 10:48 am
  5. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I’m glad to know you haven’t been slacking off and it’s just been a mail issue. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love this ant’s nest cake – it does look quite like an ant nest. ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm
  6. Gourmet Getaways

    What a delicious looking cake, I have never heard of it before? Looks like I will have to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 21, 2014 at 11:50 am
  7. The Hungry Mum

    Have never heard of this sort of cake but it sounds & looks amazing.

    February 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm
  8. Padaek

    Great looking cake! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it does look like an ants nest/farm. I love the use of condensed milk in it – pretty sure the ants will love it too. Have a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm
  9. Sara

    Love the look of this and no ants involved ;p

    February 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

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Shellie Froidevaux

All content on this site is by Shellie Froidevaux - aka Iron Chef Shellie. Her skills include recipe development, food styling in her kitchen studio, lifestyle and travel photography, restaurant photography on location, styling and shooting social media for her clients and photography workshops for people who really want to change their game :)

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