This is my very first attempt at making a kueh lapis cake! There isn’t a thousand layers, to be honest, but I believe at least 15 layers. By the time I finished baking, I was so tired I couldn’t stand on my feet anymore.
Kueh lapis, meaning sweet layered cake, is well-known in Singapore as it’s served during many festive occasions such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa. The recipe apparently originated from Indonesia, but slowly became adapted to the local flavours to include more spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. This cake is very expensive, and for good reasons. Having made this cake myself, I can see how much time and effort is required to bake and grill it layer by layer. I pride myself for making it at home by myself, albeit with indistinct layers but hey, I did it all manually, without any machines! And it tastes great!
Don’t eat too much of this though. I’m counting my calories and cholesterol. And this cake just doesn’t help me a lot. Time to pull up my tights to go cycling soon. But before that, I’d like to wish everyone a happy lunar new year! May the year of the rabbit bring more prosperity and luck for one and all, young and old!
- Cake flour: 220g
- Ground nutmeg: 1/2 tsp
- Ground cinnamon: 1 tsp
- Unsalted butter: 500g, frozen overnight, cubed before whisking
- Condensed milk: 300g
- Rum (optional): 3 tbsp
- Egg yolk: 22
- Egg white: 8
- Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
- Caster sugar: 300g
- Sift cake flour, nutmeg and cinnamon into a bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together butter and condensed milk till pale.
- Add in cake flour mixture. Whisk till evenly combined.
- Add in rum, then egg yolks one by one. Continue whisking till evenly combined.
- Separately whisk egg whites with baking powder till stiff peaks form.
- Add in caster sugar. Continue whisking till glossy.
- Fold whites into yolk batter.
- Line baking tin with baking paper. Grease well. Heat 2min at 200 degrees Celsius in oven.
- Spread 130g of batter into tin. Bake 5min till brown. Press down with lapis press and remove any bubbles by poking.
- Turn oven to grill. Spread 100g batter for next layer. Grill 5min till brown.
- Repeat the pressing and spreading of layers till all the batter is used up.
- Slice away the sides of the cake to reveal the layers. Slice into 1-cm thickness to serve.
Place dried cherries onto the base of the baking tin before pouring the first layer of batter into the tin. Subsequently, place them randomly in between the layers, similar to the way it’s spread out in a prune lapis. The cherries, once baked, are very soft and gives the cake a much desired tangy flavour which makes it so much more delectable than the original flavour.
I did not have a lapis press, so I made do with a potato masher to press the cake down at every layer and grill. It’s a possible reason why my layers didn’t turn out neatly and as well as the ones made by the experts.
2 small loaves or 1 large loaf