Oftentimes the afternoon would be the perfect moment for a gathering with friends, relatives or family whilst sipping on a cup of warm tea. Of course it wouldn’t be right if there weren’t a gaggle of snacks available at arm’s length to accompany your knees-up. They wouldn’t have to fill you up to the brim – just enough to serve as a stopgap before dinner time. Here are five traditional Indonesian cakes that would be ideal for such an occasion that you can find in Jakarta and beyond.
We might recognise the name Kue Pancong (rice flour and coconut milk cake), but in some areas outside of Jakarta, it is known under a different moniker. In parts of Java, it is called Gandos, while the people of Surabaya named it Rangin. The Sundanese christened it Bandros, those from Bojonegoro gave it the name Tratak Jaran, while the Balinese call it Daluman. Regardless of its denomination, its ingredients remain the same: rice flour, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. It is usually sprinkled with a bit of sugar on top to give it a hint of sweetness. A delicious and flavourful snack.
This traditional Betawi cake is still quite easy to come across even now. Kue Rangi (sago flour and shredded coconut cake) is made from sago flour mixed with shredded coconut and served with a splash of palm sugar sauce. Cuts of fruits are usually added into the latter, including jackfruit, pineapple, and durian, among others. Flavorous and aromatic, its shape resembles a Kue Pancong although smaller in size. The dough that makes up Kue Rangi does not have a long life span so it has to be baked as soon as possible.
Kue Ape (thin wheat flour batter pancake) sellers tend to set up shop in front of primary schools due to it being a favourite of children because of its sweet taste. Most Kue Ape are green in colour, although there are also those who sell white-coloured ones. Its edges are crispy and crusty, while its centre is soft and tender. Some sellers would add chocolate sprinkles in its core to up the ante.
While the French have their crepe, Indonesia has a similar sweet treat in the form of Leker (stuffed crepe). Semicircle in shape and crusty in texture, it is generally filled with a spatter of sweetened condensed chocolate milk or grated cheese. Its name was derived from the Dutch word “lekker”, which roughly means “delicious”. In Surabaya, a Leker is served by placing sliced bananas in the middle of the cake before it is folded and lifted from the cooking pan – hence why it is called Kue Pisang Surabaya (Surabaya banana cake).
A tiny cake that has become quite sought-after of late, this small cake used to be yellow-brown in colour with chocolate sprinkles on top. Nowadays, though, we have a truckload of variants with different flavours, including red velvet, green tea, cappuccino, chocolate, taro, and many more. Besides hawkers, a number of cafes have started incorporating it into their menu and serving it with fresh milk. Some people prefer it to be half-cooked with a firm underside and a soft surface.