Indonesian Sweet Pancakes: Martabak Manis (Guest Blogging Special!)

When I received Raymund’s email to do a guest blog posting, I was both thrilled and honoured! I’ve always been a fan of Filipino cuisine and Ang Sarap is my “go to” blog whenever I had a recipe in mind. I love how he explained the origin of each dish and then proceed tempt me with his wonderful photography and culinary skills!

Please visit Ang Sarap to view my guest post!

When I was asked to create a dish representative of my culture, I was torn between my two halves. I’m of Southeast Asian descent – namely Singaporean and Indonesian. Although the food in both countries are largely similar and carry heavy influences which were sometimes based off one another, they also differ in many aspects. Like all other cuisines, each is unique and boasts their own signature dish.

After much contemplation, I settled on Martabak Manis (Coklat Keju), loosely translated to Sweet Indonesian Thick Pancake (Chocolate & Cheese). It is also known as Terang Bulan amongst the locals. Martabak Manis is a common street food that can be easily found in the streets of Indonesia. If you were to ask my dad what his favourite dessert in the world was, his answer in a heartbeat would be Martabak Manis. Speaking of heavy influences, a similar pancake in Singapore and Malaysia exists in the name of Apam Balik / Ban Jian Kueh.

The sweet filling sandwiched between this pancake traditionally consists of condensed milk, chocolate, cheese, fruits and crushed peanuts. Lately however, the increase in modern bakeries gave rise to a variety of fusion flavours, including Blackforest and Tiramisu Martabaks! mmmm! Possible blog posting idea!

The texture of a good Martabak Manis has to to be soft and chewy with its distinct honeycomb texture visible.


It also needs to be evenly browned at the bottom. Undoubtedly, this is easier made with a special martabak pan but a non-stick teflon works just as well! Without further ado, please enjoy my very own martabak recipe. Ahhh, and yes since I’m staying true to tradition, this will not be one of those “diet recipes”…

Martabak Manis Coklat Keju

heavily modified from Ny Prudianti Tedjokusuma - 525 Kumpulan Resep Mak Nyusss!
Makes 2 small Martabak Manis (4 inch) or 1 large one (8 inch)
  • 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm coconut milk
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp margarine (and more for brushing pan and pancake – best if you have Indonesian Blue Band or Wijsman Dutch butter!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp water

Possible Filling Combinations

  • Margarine
  • Condensed milk
  • Peanuts (crushed)
  • Chocolate rice ( Ceres brand if you can find it)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast with warm coconut milk and let it sit for 10 minutes or until bubbles form.
  2. In a large bowl, sift sugar, salt and bread flour.
  3. Mix in coconut milk mixture and allow to rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place. You should be able to see a lot of holes forming on the top.
  4. Beat eggs with melted margarine. (make sure the margarine is not hot so it does not cook the eggs)
  5. To the egg mixture, add baking soda dissolved in water and mix well.
  6. Combine egg mixture with coconut milk mixture, beating for about 30 seconds on medium / low speed until well blended.
  7. Preheat the skillet or griddle with LOW HEAT. Grease the pan and sides with a little margarine. Pour the batter, cover and cook until you can see bubbles start to form. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes or until top is full of holes. Ensure that your heat is LOW so that the skin doesn’t burn. The level of the batter should not exceed half the height of the skillet.
  8. Spread margarine on top and finally sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Remove from the pan and fold it in half immediately like the shape of a semicircle. This will prevent the cake from cracking.
  9.  Spread the outer surface with margarine to keep the cake moist. Best served warm!

I won’t deny the fact that this is probably the most irritating pancake to make! And you can tell why it requires such a bigger time commitment than your usual Sunday brunch pancakes… Yes, it’s the yeast! Rarely do locals attempt to make this when they can easily purchase it even in the wee hours in the morning. However, to many Indonesians overseas, this is a childhood favourite, akin to donuts! Imagine immigrating to a foreign country with no donuts! I bet I’d be making a lot of my own! 🙂

I’d also like to point out that although most Martabak recipes online recommend all-purpose flour, bread flour gave it a much “chewier” texture that was more similar to the ones sold on the street. I hope you enjoyed my Martabak recipe! Thanks Raymund, for having me at Ang Sarap! And I’m sure we all know what this blog name means! In Bahasa Indonesian we would say “Sedap Sekali!”


81 Comments Add yours

  1. rsmacaalay says:

    Sam, thanks for being a guest on Ang Sarap and sharing one of the dishes I miss from Malaysia pasar malam

  2. Joanne says:

    Those pancakes are stuffed with SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS! I want them…now.

  3. hotlyspiced says:

    What an interesting dessert. I haven’t heard of this before. But the ingredients list and the look of the finished product is wonderful. I would love to try these.

  4. justcooknyc says:

    the texture of the cakes is so interesting — i’m not sure i’ve ever tried this kind of thing before. it looks really good.

  5. Wow! Chocolate & Cheese! This is a true match made in heaven. Both are absolute favourites of mine & to combine them in a dessert is true genius. I’ve heard of the savoury murtabak but this one seems flighty different. Oh wow 😉

  6. Sammie these little pancakes looks so sinful. That up close picture is to die for. I can just tell this dessert will be one of my new favorites.

  7. Sammie says:

    Thanks Raymund for letting me guest post on your blog!! So honoured to be a part of the “Ang Sarap Inspirations”! 🙂 Really enjoyed doing this post!

  8. Sammie says:

    Thanks Joanne! I hope you do get to try them some day!! 🙂

  9. Sammie says:

    Thank you! They are my family’s favourite Indonesian dessert! Hopefully you get to try them! 🙂

  10. Sammie says:

    Thank you Justin! Yeah, the texture is a little different in the sense that it has a honeycomb texture made from yeast!

  11. Sammie says:

    Thanks Alice! Yeah!! Savoury murtabaks are originally East Indian I believe! But Indonesians also have our own version of savoury murtabaks usually referred to as Martabak Telor (egg) / Martabak Ayam (chicken). One of my absolute favourites as well! Talking about it makes me want to droooool. haha.. 🙂

  12. This looks delicious! I’m trying to make interesting pancakes as well, but the interesting part usually just ends up being that they are whole wheat or something boring like that. I wish I was more creative… In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming of this 😉

  13. Sammie says:

    Thanks Bam! not gonna lie! They’re pretty sinful / fattening. hahaa.. Especially the ones sold on the streets of Indonesia. They add lots and lots of margarine and crazy amounts of cheese + chocolate + condensed milk + you name it! But they are soooooooo goooooood!!

  14. Sammie says:

    Thanks! Yes! I guess you could try adding some cheese into your nutella crepes!! I bet they’d taste very delicious! I’ve been getting crazy pancake cravings these days too! hahaha

  15. Sara says:

    Hi Sammie – Thanks for recommending a pan with a Teflon® non-stick coating for your Martabak Manis. I represent DuPont and it’s always a pleasure to see people recommending our products.

    If you are interested in some recipes to look at for your cookware with Teflon® non-stick coatings, visit! Thanks. Cheers, Sara

  16. BakingTray says:

    These look absolutely delicious =D they kind of remind me of Japanese pancakes (Doriyaki) because they are thick and have yummy fillings as well 🙂 I recently made Hoddeok which are sweet filled korean pancakes so might give these indonesian ones a try this weekend =) thanks for sharing!!

  17. Eva Taylor says:

    Do you mean that the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate AND cheddar cheese are in one pancake? Or is it an either or thing? Also, you have inadvertently repeated an entire paragraph.

  18. Courtney says:

    These look so interesting – in a good way! Definitely not on the diet, but a gal can dream can’t she?

  19. Sammie says:

    Thanks Sara!

  20. Sammie says:

    Thank you! ohhh!! Yes! i love Hoddeok! And Doriyaki is absolutely delicious too! Anything with red bean filling wins me over! These days i’ve been in the mood for pancake making! I hope you enjoy my martabak manis!! 🙂

  21. Sammie says:

    Hi Eva! Thanks for bringing that to my attention! I wouldn’t even have noticed! haha.. Well, think of it as being in Starbucks where you get to customize your drinks however you want it! In Indonesia though the most popular combination is usually chocolate, condensed milk AND cheese, or chocolate, condensed milk AND peanuts. But of course there are some who prefer to leave the cheese out or the chocolate out! Some like peanuts + cheese and some even add fruits like bananas / jackfruits!

  22. Lisa says:

    These pancakes are so intriguing, Sammie – especially the optional addition of cheddar cheese and chocolate rice (First time I’ve heard of chocolate rice outside of adding chocolate to rice lol). Irritating to make or not..I’d love to give them a shot..mainly because they look so good, and I want to bite into one right now! Going to check out your guest post when I get home 🙂

  23. Eva Taylor says:

    Chocolate and cheese or even condensed milk and cheese are a very unusual combo, any way you look at it.

  24. Sammie says:

    Thanks Lisa!! Oh by the way when I said chocolate rice I meant chocolate “rice” sprinkles! We know it as chocolate rice in Southeast Asia! haha.. I hope you try it! Chocolate and cheese is really a great combo! 🙂

  25. Those pancakes look insanely good! Want them, please.

  26. –I have NEVER observed pancakes look this GOOD in my entire life! WOW…

  27. They look amazing. I’ve never seen them before but I’d love to try a pancake sandwich like that!

  28. Yum, yum, yum! And, I love Ang Sarap as well!

  29. Sammie says:

    Thanks Asmita!!! 🙂

  30. Sammie says:

    haha.. Thank you very much!! I’m glad you like our Indonesian pancakes! 😀

  31. Sammie says:

    Thanks Carol!!! I hope you like the chocolate and cheese combo!! 🙂

  32. Sammie says:

    Thank you!! yeah!! Ang Sarap is really inspirational! I’ve been tempted to make everything there! haha

  33. I’ve eaten these plenty of times but never known how to make them! Thank you so much for the recipe! I really like their spongey texture 😀

  34. Sam, I saw your post at Raymund’s blog – but here I can see more detailed pictures and glad I stopped by just in case I won’t miss anything! Great guest post!

  35. Tandy says:

    I love the story behind this post, and I am drooling right now 🙂

  36. Norma Chang says:

    Great guest post, Love soft and chewy texture and glad to learn about Indonesian dessert. I did hop over to Raymund’s blog.

  37. Juliana says:

    Nice dessert Sammie…I’ve seen similar dessert in Japanese store…they look so good, fluffy and sweet.
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  38. ooh, this sounds + looks soooo good – awesome guest post! off to check out Ang Sarap!

  39. Carolyn Jung says:

    I must have missed this on my visit to Bali years ago. The texture looks amazing. And a tiramisu version has me totally wanting one! 😉

  40. Sammie says:

    Your welcome!! I hope you enjoy them Lorraine!! I hear there’s a lot of these in Aussie because of the many Indonesians there!

  41. Sammie says:

    aww! Thanks Nami!! 🙂 I loved your guest post too!

  42. Sammie says:

    Thanks Tandy!! I’m glad you like them!! 🙂

  43. Sammie says:

    Thanks Norma! Yeah! I’ll be posting more Southeast Asian desserts soon! I really miss eating them! hehe

  44. Sammie says:

    Thanks Juliana! Yeah! They do remind me of Dorayaki sometimes because of the sweet fillings!

  45. Sammie says:

    Thanks Amy!! 🙂

  46. Sammie says:

    Thanks Carolyn!! Yeah! There’s a specialty store in Jakarta that sells all these craaaaazy martabak flavours!!

  47. Liz says:

    Wow, what an amazing pancake!!! So many intriguing flavor combinations 🙂

  48. Chocolate and cheese in a pancake?! Wow, I need to try this. You perked my curiosity 🙂

  49. WOW!!! That would be one amazing breakfast:-) This sounds, and looks gorgeous! Hugs, Terra

  50. Sammie says:

    Thanks Liz!! 🙂

  51. Sammie says:

    hehe.. Thanks Sandra! I love that you’re so open-minded about food!! 🙂

  52. Sammie says:

    Awww thank you for such a sweet comment Terra!

  53. Never seen sweet martabak before, look similar like apam balik, enjoy with a cup of teh tarik, must be good!

  54. Hey Sammie – I am coming over to your house, OK? Oh, and I’m taking my hubby and little daughter so we can enjoy this martabak!! LOVE LOVE martabak growing up. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhood in Indonesia. Hugs to you! xoxo

  55. Sammie says:

    oooh! haha.. Yeah it’s more of an Indonesian thing I guess! But it’s very similar to apam balik! Sometimes I eat mine with peanuts and chocolate too! Thanks Sonia!

  56. Sammie says:

    Awww!! Yes! Martabak is like one of the most amazing Indonesian snacks EVER!! We always get boxes of it whenever we go back to JKT. hehe.. I still have yet to try the more interesting flavours! Hope you enjoy this recipe, although it still can’t beat the ones they sell on the streets in Indo. Seriously the next time I go visit, I’m so tempted to just buy the recipe off a vendor! hahaha..

  57. Sammie says:

    haha.. Yeah! Probably!! I knoww! I ate so many of these myself, the failed ones. lol!

  58. trazbone says:

    I made it last week ^__^ Will blog about it soon… but it didn’t turn out as nice as yours.. didn’t rise as much (maybe i didn’t put enough yeast? or maybe i wasn’t patient and letting it proof for 3 hours =p) anyways thanks for sharing ^^

  59. Jeffery MacEachern says:

    Sammie, is there anything special about the pans they use, or are they just large cast iron pans?

  60. John says:

    Hi Sammie. This looks amazing and I’m going to give it a try. Just a quick question though…how much condensed milk do you add? I’ve never used it before, so I’m not quite sure how much to use! Thanks!

  61. Sammie says:

    Hey John! Awesome! I hope you enjoy it 🙂 I would say use the condense milk up to your own discretion! I would say.. about 2-4 tbsp should suffice!

  62. Ivana says:

    Hi sam, nice blog – i love it! I am an indonesian living in the states now so all of your explanations are soo usefull to me. Say, if i use Kara, do i need to dilute it with water or i can just use it as is. Also, what kind of cheese did you use? Reguler kraft cheddar? Thanks!

  63. Sammie says:

    Hey Ivana! Thanks! hmmm! I’m not very familiar with Kara to be honest! So I won’t be able to help with that. But yes Kraft Cheddar would work fine! 🙂

  64. Sophia says:

    Hey there, just came across your blog when I was searching for Martabak Manis, recommended by my Indo friend to makan in Jakarta.
    There seem to be more varieties of flavors as compared to Singapore where peanuts and red bean are the most common types. Thanks for sharing the recipe and wish you a good day! 😀

  65. spencer says:

    What is chocolate rice and where can i get it or what can i use instead? hope this doesn’t seem like a dumb question.

  66. Huixian says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have never thought of making my own maturbak. Can I check if it is ok to substitute coconut milk with fresh milk?

  67. Sammie says:

    Sure! Shouldn’t be a problem

  68. Noveny says:

    Hi Sammie, is there any special pan to cook this martabak? Or I can just use any non-stick pan? Thanks

  69. Sammie says:

    Hi dear, I believe there are special pans for this. But I didn’t possess them so I used a nonstick instead!

  70. Soly says:

    This remind me my 3 weeks in Bali, I tasted these pancakes at Sanur’s market! Soooooooooooooo good! I will try to make them at home! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  71. Nyumi nyumi ………… Martabak her like her good, I’ll try

  72. Its so yummy the pictures

  73. saffronheterochromic says:

    Hi! Would really love to try this. However I have a question, is it possible to precook some, freeze them then thaw and heat them up later? Like pancakes. I’m thinking to make big batch of it.

    Again thank you for posting this recipe!

  74. saffronheterochromic says:

    Hi Sammie!

    Thank you for posting this recipe!

    A question: is it possible to make a big batch of this and freeze them for later?


  75. Sammie says:

    Hi There! Yes. I’ve done this before. The good thing about lapis is that it keeps very well for a long time because of the amount of sugar it contains! But of course the taste may differ slightly after being frozen for a while. 🙂

  76. Naomi says:

    Yum! I loved buying these from the Pasar malam when we lived in Malaysia! They remind me of and English/Australian version of our crumpets! Mmmmmm

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