Jakarta. Indonesia is the land of novelty cakes. From red velvet to rainbow cakes, we've had it all. What's cooking next in the oven? According to Adhika Maxi and Karen Carlotta, the husband and wife duo behind AMKC Atelier restaurant in Plaza Indonesia, Central Jakarta, novelty cakes flavored like traditional Indonesian desserts could be the next big thing.
AMKC serves family-favorite recipes. Their main courses are mostly Indonesian fares with a Western twist, such as Nasi Goreng (fried rice) with foie gras, Soto Mie Risol (beef noodle soup) or Kway Teow Goreng (fried rice noodles) with chili calamari and prawn.
But most people come to AMKC for their baked goods. Karen is the creator of the legendary red velvet cake at Union Group restaurants in Jakarta that started the craze for the ultra-sweet dessert.
For AMKC, Karen's first creation is Es Teler cake, the baked good version of the ever-popular Indonesian iced fruit cocktail.
Using the same ingredients you would find in the iced dessert, Karen manages to whip up a perfect cake version of the icy drink.
AMKC's Es Teler cake is made of soft pandan chiffon cake, avocado cream, fresh jackfruit pieces and jelly made from young coconut water.
Pick up your fork and cut the cake from top to bottom because only when the layers are mixed will you get the rich Es Teler flavor.
Karen also turns the humble chiffon cake into another complex creation: the beautifully pink Pisang Ijo cake, inspired by a dessert dish of the same name from Makassar, Southeast Sulawesi.
The original Pisang Ijo has bananas wrapped in thick, green dough swimming in syrupy shaved ice.
The cake version's pink and green frosting mirrors almost exactly the colors of the original dessert.
Karen also has her own version of the martabak, the thick, folded, sweet Indonesian pancake.
Martabak is having its own moment now, with shops adding trendy toppings to the original cheese, chocolate sprinkles and condensed milk trifecta.
You can now find martabak flavored with all sorts of sweet treats, from nutella to red velvet, Ovomaltine, Milo or macha.
Karen makes her martabak cake with the original flavor combo of cheese, chocolate and crushed nuts. Why fix something that's not broken?
Nastar (pineapple tarts) is one of the most popular snacks for Lebaran, the Muslim holy day to end the fasting month – which is coming tomorrow. If you forget to order your obligatory jar of nastar from your favorite bakery, then AMKC's Nastar cheesecake could be a substitute.
The sweetness of the pineapple jam in the Nastar cheesecake goes especially well with the creamy cake. A welcome change from the usual strawberry or blueberry filling.
Karen's most unique creation so far is the Teh Botol Cake. Teh Botol is an iconic Indonesian bottled tea drink made from sweetened jasmine tea, usually served cold.
Though the bottled tea can be too sweet for some, the cake boasts a strong black tea flavor that pairs well with the crunchy milk crumble.
AMKC also serves a modernized version of the traditional Soda Gembira ("happy soda") drink made of soda, condensed milk and syrup.
AMKC's strawberry milk soda is more tart than sweet. As a bonus, the fizzy drink can act as a palate cleanser after a slice or two of their cakes.
AMKC's modernized traditional desserts are so hyped that Ernie, the manager, tells Jakarta Globe some of their customers have come from outside Jakarta just to try them. Perhaps, just as they say – life's too short to say no to cake.
Address: Plaza Indonesia, Level 1, Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Central Jakarta.
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Contact: 021 2992 4357 (reservations recommended)