Sherman's Lagoon

In which wisdom and truth is distilled from Sherman's Lagoon... ...
This is me this past week. Starting from dwim swum with DR. L on Christmas Day, I've steadily eaten my way through the week.
Yup. That says it all. Thanks Jim Tooney.
So what do you do when you've over eaten and are feeling bloated? Why make Honeycomb cake of course. So obvious really. Honeycomb cake, or Kuih Sarang Semut (Ant nest cake) is a favourite from M and my childhood, it's supposed to be really simple to make (ha), but the last two attempts 6 months ago yield nothing like the cake we remembered. The recipe is pretty simple actually:
 

Honeycomb Cake (or Kuih Sarang Semut)
Ingredients:
1 cup flour (all purpose)
1 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
5 – 7 eggs beaten (oh you pedant, take 6 then)
3 oz butter
½ tin of sweetened condensed milk (the squat tins, not the big king-tins)
1-2 tsp soda bicarbonate (too little, not bubbles; too much and it’ll taste like cardboard)
Directions:
Melt ½ cup sugar over low heat till brown and slightly caramelized
Add hot water SLOWLY (it’ll boil over if you add it too quickly); stir to dissolve everything to a lovely dark brown sugar solution. Set aside to cool.
Beat butter and and remaining sugar (bad butter, Bad sugar!! Bad! Bad!) till light and creamy
Add eggs (lightly beaten – not so bad egg! Not so bad egg! Not so bad egg, but could be better); stir well.
Add the condensed milk, and stir well again.
Add cooled lovely dark brown sugar solution; stir well to homogenous consistency
Fold in flour (previously sifted with soda bicarbonate), mix well but don’t over-beat
Pour into 8” pan which is all greasy and floury
Bake at 350 – 375F for 45 – 60 minutes – depending on your oven
Cake is done when the surface doesn’t slosh around (you’ll know what I mean when you move the pan) and when an inserted knife comes back out clean.
Cool on a rake
When cut, cake should have a rubbery consistency about ¾ of the way up and then be all creamy and gooey. There should be little grooves and bubbles in the bottom part of the cake looking a bit like an ant nest.
Hence the name: Kuih Sarang Semut.
 
 Very important point: Don't forget to warm eggs up to room temperature. Failure to do this will cause your beautifully beaten (oh so light and creamy) butter and sugar to curdle and float on the surface of your beaten eggs like yucky, droplets of greasy spermatozoa. You can then beat the hell out of the mixture only to have the little tadpoles dive for a second or two then come floating up again gloating at you when you stop beating.
However, being resourceful people we solved the problem by heating up a metal bowl in the oven at 350F for a minute, then transfering the tadpole infested batter into hot bowl, then putting hot bowl into bigger bowl of hot water. Continue beating and the tadpoles will eventually melt and grudgingly merge with the eggs and sugar.
So there you go. Remember to warm up your eggs to room temperature before starting and you'll be on a good wicket. The cake? It turned out beautifully this time - almost exactly like we remembered, maybe a bit too rubbery, but then again, we don't normally beat the batter this much.
See the grooves on the side of the cake? That's v. typical of this cake, looks quite like the grooves that ants make in the soil too doesn't it?
Finally - one last thing. Desert in Malay is "pencuci mulut", or mouth wash - Who knew.