Friday 23 February 2018

Lapis Legit / Spek koek 印尼千层蛋糕 (less rich version)

This is one of my favourite cakes but I have been putting off making this cake for the longest time. It is not a cake for the faint-hearted, literally saying. An original lapis legit uses about 30 egg yolks to make, not to mention about half pounds of butter. If the richness of the cake doesn't give you a heart attack, the process of making it will. Also known as a thousand layer cake (of course there is no thousand layer), it is very much a labour intensive endavour. You have to be at the oven most of the time watching the cake gets browned, levelling and then adding another thin layer. The process repeats itself at least 20 times to be considered a good bake. You need a lot of care and attention to produce even layers of straight-lined cake. After making this, I actually appreciate this cake more. It is a labour of love, a patience-endurance cake. This rookie here took 2 hours to finish my 20 layers. If you are making this for your loved ones, make sure you receive a well deserved recognition. Otherwise, just buy the lapis legit (better yet, at his/hers expense).

Lapis legit, also known as spek koek has its origins from the Nederlands whereby spek koek basically means bacon cake or cookie. Even the preferred butter is a Dutch butter called Wjisman. Having said that, the cake has evolved, since its colonial days, into what is uniquely Indonesian. If you haven't tasted this cake, it is rich and dense with a hint of spice to bring out the flavour of the cake. It can also be made into various variations, the popular one being added with prunes. The Chinese in Indonesia has adopted this cake as a celebration cake as well, a must-have luxury during Chinese New Year celebration.

As I mentioned earlier, this cake is incredibly rich. I wouldn't have made it if not for an alternative recipe that I have adopted which uses both equal number of egg to egg yolks. In order to prevent it from being dry, I used cake stabilizer (ovalette) to add softness and evenness to the the egg batter. I added rum to my cake for that extra aroma but this is entirely optional. As the cake has more protein content, it tends to taste dry if not careful. My bottom layers were more browned and dry because I took too long to bake the cake (an average of 5 mins cooking time per layer). I am hence, suggesting baking at 3.5 to 4 mins per layer to maintain the moistness in the cake. Another mistake I did was lined the sides of the cake with baking paper resulting in burnt sides. You don't have to. Just the bottom layer will do.

In between waiting for the cake, I made the word "福" (which basically means fortune/blessing) out of prunes, an idea inspired by Jenny Wen, a fellow baker. I first traced out a "福" word and then pull apart the insides of the pitted prunes to fill up the space. I then used toothpick to slowly push it to fill up all the space to make the word. This is another tedious process. I really salute you Jenny! For me, I am more happy cutting a "福" out of fondant and paste it there. I have to admit the result is smashing!

In conclusion, my lapis legit was a bit dry especially at the bottom. I loved the spice and beautiful layers so much I didn't have the heart to eat it. Thank God this cake is not as rich. I could actually pinch on it with lesser guilt. Give it a try, you might just get addicted.

Lapis Legit / Spek koek 印尼千层蛋糕 (less rich version)


300g butter
60 g/3 tbsp condense milk
1 tbsp rum (optional)

6 eggs
6 egg yolks
100g castor sugar (less sweet)
20g cake stabilizer/ovalette

80 gm cake flour
25g corn flour
1 tbsp all spice (or lapis spice)

Cooking Instruction

1. Grease a 7" square pan, line with baking paper (bottom only) and grease again. Preheat oven to 200C. Sieve ingredient C.

2. Beat ingredients A until creamy and pale. Fold in sieved flour in C.

3. In another bowl, beat ingredients B until ribbon stage (about 10 to 12 mins). Add to butter mixture in 3 parts, folding the eggs mixture in with a spatula until even.

4. Measure 1/3 cup of  batter and pour into tin. Apply evenly. Use the grill mode and grill for 3.5 to 4 minutes until top is dark golden brown. Adjust heat accordingly if browning took longer or shorter than 4 mins. Remove cake and use a leveler to gently press in the surface.

5. Pour another 1/3 cup repeat process. Note: as the cake height increases, it will be nearer to the heat element and hence cook faster. You might want to adjust the heat accordingly.

6. When cake is done, remove and set aside to cool. Cut the burned sides. Transfer prune calligraphy on top of cake.  (This step is entirely optional).

Still remember we have 6 egg whites? Besides the usual omelette, here are two recipes that could help you finish the egg whites..

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