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20 Easy Indonesian Desserts

by insanelygood

These traditional Indonesian desserts are simple, fresh, and a cinch to make!

From sweet rice cakes to pineapple cookies, these Indonesian treats are sure to be a hit.

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Indonesian Rice Cake

One thing I love about these authentic desserts is the simplicity. They use just a few fantastic fresh ingredients and let the natural flavors shine. 

Coconut and palm sugar are used often, along with pandan. This tropical plant is used a lot in Indonesian cooking, by taking the sweet flavors from its leaves. 

You might be able to find pandan leaves in an Asian store, or the extract can be found online.

There is no decent substitute for the sweet leaf, so I recommend trying to source some.

Almost all of these desserts include coconut in some form, from coconut milk to grated coconut, and in most cases, it’s essential to the dish. 

However, it’s possible to replace grated coconut with flaked almonds, and coconut milk with a milk alternative.

Just keep in mind that the dish will taste very different and may not have the desired consistency. 

If you’re in the mood to try something new and fun, there’s more than one recipe on this list of 20 Indonesian desserts that will make you smile.

1. Klepon (Indonesian Sweet Rice Cakes)

If you’re a fan of mochi, then this recipe will be right up your alley! Chewy, sweet, and super fast to make, they are the cutest little treats.

Made using rice flour, this dough will be soft and flexible. It should be kept covered so that it doesn’t dry out.

For the gooey filling, you’ll need palm sugar, which will melt in the middle as the whole thing cooks. 

If you can’t find the pandan flavoring in Asian supermarkets, you can find it online relatively cheap. 

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2. Gao Teng Kueh / Jiu Ceng Gao (九层糕) / Steamed Kue Lapis

This adorable cake is colorful, light, and super fun to eat.

Each colored layer can be peeled back like a piece of string cheese, or you can dive in with a fork and get them all at once. 

Like klepon, it uses rice flour, along with tapioca flour to create a soft, chewy, and bouncy texture. 

The subtle coconut flavor is all you’ll need for this, and it is made from one batter.

Use whichever colors you prefer and be sure to cook each layer before adding the next.

3. Bubur Sum-Sum (Indonesian Rice Pudding)

This dish is more of a coconut pudding, made with coconut milk and rice flour. The sometimes salty dish is complemented by a generous helping of palm sugar sauce. 

This can be served warm with the sauce poured over the top.

Or, why not try making a batch of bubur candil ubi jalar (Sweet potato dumplings), which are served in a bowl, too?

4. Wajik (Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar)

These vegan and gluten-free rice cakes are the perfect treats to have on a warm afternoon with a cup of bantrek (Indonesian tea).

This recipe needs just four ingredients, though you may struggle to find fresh pandan leaves.

The flavor is grass-like with hints of vanilla, almond, and rose and is difficult to substitute.

If you can’t find them in your local Asian supermarket, try using pandan extract instead.

Once you mix the steamed rice and sticky palm sugar glaze, press it into a baking dish and allow to cool completely before slicing. 

5. Kue Dadar Gulung (Coconut Filled Pancakes)

This popular street food can be found all over Indonesia and is naturally green through the addition of pandan. 

You can make both the pancake batter and filling for these up to two days ahead, and they are best made up on the day you’ll be eating them.

6. Kue Lupis (Indonesian Sweet Sticky Rice Dumplings)

These tender little dumplings are amazing treats for a light after-dinner snack. And it’s quite impressive to pull out a dish full of banana leaf packages.

The main dumpling is simply sticky rice. But when it gets coated in coconut and then drizzled with palm sugar syrup, it becomes a sweet and sticky delight. 

You can use foil if you can’t find banana leaves. Either way, you can see how to properly form the dumplings here.

7. Nagasari (Banana and Coconut Custard)

When cooking with banana leaves, you’ll find them to be quite brittle.

In order to use them, you will need to boil them for about 5 minutes so that they soften enough to bend. 

This recipe uses tapioca and rice flour, again, to create that lovely soft texture.

When cooking the batter, be sure to keep stirring to prevent any burn spots on the bottom. 

I would recommend removing the pandan leaves after the coconut milk has come to a boil to make working with the custard a little easier.

The flavor should have infused enough when you combined the leaves with the sugar and coconut milk. 

8. Pisang Goreng (Indonesian Fried Banana)

Another popular street food, you can find these deep-fried bananas on almost every corner in Indonesia.

Being a huge banana lover, I was so impressed with this simple but delicious dessert.

Sweet, ripe bananas (no green bananas here, please) are coated with a magical batter made from rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and sometimes turmeric.

They stay crisp for well over an hour. If you can’t find the right saba bananas, plantains are the next best choice. 

9. Getuk Ubi Kayu /Singkong Gula Merah (Pressed Cassava Cake)

Chances are, you’ve seen cassava in the store before. It’s a long starchy root that looks like a thick tree branch.

Also known as “yuca,” it can be eaten as chips, mashed, or added to stews. 

One thing to keep in mind is that cassava is poisonous in its raw form and needs to be cooked properly in order to be eaten.

You will need to cook and mash your cassava for this cake and mix it with grated coconut, palm sugar, and sugar. 

Once pressed into a pan and cooled, you will be left with an ultra moist cake that gets topped with even more steamed coconut. 

10. Wingko Babat

Coconut lovers, unite! This dish is overloaded with the subtly sweet flavor, and you won’t be able to have just one slice. 

For the best texture, be sure to use grated coconut meat and not desiccated coconut. And for maximum flavor, use coconut oil rather than vegetable oil. 

Once baked, the cake will have a lovely golden top with crunchy sesame seeds. 

11. Ongol Ongol Hunkwe (Mung Bean Flour Cake with Grated Coconut)

You might’ve noticed that the majority of these desserts and cakes are made with rice or with a gluten-free flour alternative.

This recipe is no exception, but you may find it difficult to source mung bean flour. 

An alternative could be corn flour or arrowroot, though the texture ad flavor would be different.

This slightly sweet dessert is a lot like jello made with coconut sugar. Once set, you can sprinkle with grated coconut.

12. Easy Serabi Kuah / Apam Berkuah / Appam

These yeast-based little pancakes are an excellent side to a curry. Alternatively, you can make a batch of warm Kuah, which is a sweet sauce,

The batter needs to be made it three parts, and once mixed, it will need to sit for a couple of hours.

After a couple of minutes of cooking, they’ll need to be steamed to finish cooking and should be served warm.

13. Es-Teler

This icy cocktail is just what you’ll need at the end of a long, hot day.

The combination of cool coconut and pandan syrup with avocado and sweet jackfruit is unique and super tasty.

If you’ve never had jackfruit, you’re in for a treat.

The sweet fruit, when ripe, tastes like a mellow combination of pineapple, mango, and banana and can be found canned in most supermarkets. 

Be sure only to make this when you’re ready to eat it, since the avocado will start to brown once cut. 

14. Pie Susu Bali – Balinese Milk Custard Tart

If you’ve ever had a British egg custard, you’ll know that the silky smooth filling is to die for.

This dish is similar, using a wonderfully light pastry case to hold the creamy filling. 

But dare I say this is a little easier? Egg custard can be difficult to master when it comes to consistency, and it’s not uncommon to overdo it, leaving a rubbery filling.

This Balinese recipe is close to fool-proof, using water, condensed milk for sweetness, and egg yolks to help it set. That’s it!

The custard will set during the bake, and there’s no need to blind-bake the crust either!

15. Coconut Milk Agar Jelly

Agar agar is a vegan-friendly alternative to gelatin. Made from seaweed, it’s usually sold in powder form.

You will be able to tell the difference, as agar agar has a much more firm texture when set.

Jello will jiggle, whereas agar agar jello can be sliced and has more of a bite to the finished product. 

When making this coconut jelly, be careful not to allow the mixture to boil. If you overheat the agar agar, it can split the mixture. 

16. Bingka Ubi Jalar (Sweet Potato Cake)

If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie, this recipe is a must-try. Much like a “magic cake,” this recipe needs just one batter to create a light crust and creamy filling. 

Use a blender to combine the cooked sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon powder to ensure that it’s perfectly smooth.

Fold in the flour and bake for about an hour. The middle will still have a slight jiggle, but it will set as it cools. 

Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting to let the filling set.

You’ll see a lovely crust on the outside and will be left with a velvety, spiced custard-like filling.

17. Es Cincau Hijau (Green Coconut Jelly Drink)

If you like boba tea, chances are, you’ll like this unique jelly drink.

Made using grass jelly, which is slightly bitter and like herbal tea, it is a lot like the boba teas you see everywhere now.

You can find the powder online or in the baking section of most Asian supermarkets. Once set, you can cut as large or small as you like. 

Fill your glass with pieces of jelly grass and top with sweetened coconut milk and shaved ice. 

18. Fluffy Pandan Chiffon Cake

Pandan has come up in almost every recipe so far, and rightly so. It’s plentiful in Indonesia, and the flavor is hard to beat.

If you bought the extract, you’ll want to try everything on this list.

But this might be my favorite. I just love the texture of a lighter than air chiffon cake! And when it’s flavored with fragrant pandan, I’m in love!

You can mix most of the ingredients as you would an ordinary cake. Mix the wet together and combine gently with the dry.

But then you’ll need to incorporate whipped egg whites. 

Take a small amount of the egg whites and thoroughly combine it with the batter.

This will lighten it up a little and make folding the rest through much easier. 

With the rest of the whites, gently fold through in batches and don’t overdo it. It should be voluminous and light when it goes into the pan. 

19. Lapis Legit (Layered Spice Cake)

You’ll need to set aside some time for this one. It’s not just a matter of making a batter and baking. It needs a little love and a lot of attention.

Starting with one batter, you’ll need to split it in half and add spices to one bowl.

Though it looks like layers of cake and frosting, this cake comprises layers of grilled cake batter. 

Add a spoonful of the batter to your prepared pan and grill until bubbling and puffed up. Then add a spoonful of the second batter, grilling this layer in the same way.

Repeat these steps until all the batter is used and then allow it to cool completely before serving. 

20. Nastar (Pineapple Cookies)

These are so much more than simple cookies. The wonderfully light dough is sweetened with condensed milk, giving a lovely creaminess to the crumb. 

This dough is then filled with a spiced pineapple jam, sealing it inside before the bake. 

When cooked, the cookies will hold their shape well. Be sure to let them cool completely, so you don’t burn your mouth.

20 Easy Indonesian Desserts

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Indonesian Desserts

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