An Indonesian all-time favourite, Indonesian Layer Cake or Kueh Lapis Batavia, is a very rich, moist, spice-flavoured butter cake which is baked layer by layer, flavoured with ground mixed spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, with subtle hints of brandy liquer.
Happy New Year, everyone! I’m starting 2015 on a sweet note with this recipe for an Indonesian Layer cake or kek lapis Batavia. With the New Year, comes the next big festive event on the Chinese calendar, the Lunar New Year. So I am starting early with an ambitious list of Chinese New Year goodies that I’d like to work on.
Indonesian layer cakes or kek lapis are must-have treats in my home when family and friends come calling or visiting. Indonesian layer cakes also offer interesting flavours and textures, when filled with dried or mixed fruit such as prunes, cranberries, or fruit puree such as durian (check out this oh-so-good recipe for a durian Indonesian layer cake), as well as, chocolate chips or cocoa, etc.
This cake, and many other delightful sweet treats and savoury offerings such as home-made pineapple tarts, bak kwa (barbecued pork slices), sugee cookies, kueh bangkit, almond biscuits, fried prawn crackers and so much more, all take centre-stage during the Lunar New Year feasting.
This Indonesian layer cake or kek lapis recipe has an insane amount of egg yolks -17 yolks, to be precise, and oh, so much butter. Some traditional Indonesian recipes call for as many as 25 egg yolks! You can definitely forget about counting your calories. However unhealthy, it is my humble opinion that this cake truly deserves to be regarded as one of the most unique butter cakes on this planet. It has a rich, deep flavour tinged with the faintest hints of mixed spice, and is delightfully moist.
Kek lapis cake is quite easy to make, even for beginners, but you’ll need to be attentive. This is because, as the name suggests, you will need to bake a layer till it’s cooked and very importantly, browned nicely, before adding on the next layer to bake. You continue with this process until all the batter is used up.
Don’t be tempted to add on until you achieve that golden brown, as it is this top browning that creates the distinctive layer pattern. You could aim for more layers by using less batter per layer, thus creating thinner layers, but I usually aim for anywhere between 9 to 12 layers. By all means, try your hand at creating as many layers as you can – it will be sure to impress your guests!