Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kueh Lapis a.k.a thousand layered cake (千层糕)

After slogging for five hours (preparing the ingredients till finish baking it)..finally..a post on kueh lapis. I think i've mentioned it a few time in a few of my previous posts, but it seemed as if i was only obsessed with making pineapple tarts and almond cookies.

Well, I did attempt one kueh lapis some few days back, but it was just not pretty enough for a photoshoot. This time, I made this for a friend of mine, Hui Min, who very kindly ordered a couple of cny goodies from me, including this kueh lapis. I hope she and her family likes what i've baked =)

I am pretty satisfied with how things turned out. Not too charred/black, layers visible and definitely taste like kueh lapis. Although I've upped the spice again this time, but i felt it was still lacking a little.

A little surprise from the people at home. My younger sis told me this was much much tastier than the ones i made before (though i really think it just all taste like kueh lapis, duh~) and my other sis "couldn't stop eating" it. I'm really really glad they love it. =DD

A friend commented that the layers are much thinner than what is sold outside and i kind of have to agree. Although i've increased the amount of batter for each layer from the original recipe, it still looks thin. But I guess i'm satisfied with how it is and am gonna stick to it. I have to admit its real tedious work to bake this kueh lapis. Having said that, i actually quite enjoy the process as well. And it is always the anticipation, excitement and eagerness when it is cooling to see if the layers turns out nice and visible.

Although i wouldnt say it looks really professional, but i am really really satisfied with the product. I think i probably will venture into trying out those with pitted prunes..soon..i hope..

I remember the crazy period i went through, mad about baking kueh lapis. I was just sooo intrigued by how it was done and how each and every single layer produces this fascinating looking cake. Though, i must say, i'm not really a kueh lapis fan =X

I looked for recipes everywhere, even bought a book on it. Before I had fixed my built in oven, i was using the Sharp Water Oven. Many failed attemps in there before i finally understood why. It turns out that the lapis should be grilled! Hence, as the layers built up, only the newest added layer gets cooked, preventing from the previous layers from being charred. My Sharp Water Oven didn't have a upper grill element (unlike built in ones) and that explained my multiple failed attemps. I would consider myself mad as well, having baked a lapis every single day for one week with only the last one being successful.

After that, it was lapis overdose and i never attempted it again until the trial a few days ago. The recipe I'm using is from Rose's Kitchen but i have adapted it and changed several proportions in the recipe. I have included the recipe below so those who wants a shot at this "thousand layer cake" can try it out.

*disclaimer: I have not tried a real indonesian lapis before and hence cannot comment on the authenticity of the outcome of this recipe. The lapis i have always or ever eaten are from bengawan solo. I can't give a comparison though, as it has been a while since i had them, plus, i'm not a fan of lapis. so..there you have it.

Kueh Lapis (makes one 8" x 8" x 2.5" lapis cake)
25 egg yolks
100g sugar

B: 5 egg whites + a pinch of cream of tartar
100g sugar

C: 500 gm butter (Golden Churn)
1 tin condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 ½ tbsp brandy or rum
1 ½ tbsp mixed spices

D: 170 gm plain flour
1. Sieve Flour (Group D) and set aside.
2. Cream butter with condensed milk, vanilla essence, golden syrup, brandy & mixed spices (Group C) till well mixed and set aside.
3. Beat egg yolks with sugar (Group A) on high for about 10 mins until thick and creamy (i.e. ribbon stage).
4. Add beaten egg yolk mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix well. Fold in sieved flour.
5. Beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar and sugar (Group B) till stiff and fold in the mixture. [Beat egg whites with pinch of cream of tartar till frothy on medium speed (speed 3 on kMix) for 1 min. Add in 1/3 of sugar, continue beating for 1-2 mins. Add in the second 1/3 and continue beating 1-2 min. Add in the rest of the sugar and beat for 1-2 min. ]
6. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. (baking mode: top + bottom heat) Grease and line an 8″ square tin and preheat tin [Just preheat for a few mins to make the tin hot, making it easier to spread the batter]. Grease bottom and line base only.
7. For first layer, spread 3 - 3 ½ tbsps of mixture in tin and bake in oven at lower middle/ lower rack at 180 degree C for 10-15 mins. Or until lightly browned. [timing may differ depending on individual ovens. Just bake till surface is lightly browned] Use a satay stick, prick holes (if there are air bubbles) into the lapis and gently press the lapis with a lapis press to ensure the layer is even.
8. Switch oven to grill mode. (i.e. top grill only)For subsequent layers, grill each layer at lower middle/lower rack for about 3 mins. Or till lightly browned. [timing may differ depending on individual ovens. Just bake till surface is lightly browned. The darker the surface, the darker the layers will be later. The brown surface is what defines each layer.] After removing from the oven, use a satay stick, prick holes into the lapis (if there are air bubbles) and gently press the lapis with a lapis press to ensure the layer is even. Repeat this for each layer.
9. When top most layer is completed, switch oven back to baking mode (i.e. top + bottom heat), cover with a metal tray or a piece of foil and bake at middle rack at 180 degree C for a further 5 min. It will take longer if the sides are still wet.
10. When the cake is done, turn cake out onto a metal grid. The lapis with 'fall' out on it's own. Let it cool on the cooling rack completely before cutting. If cooling rack markings are not wanted on lapis surface, flip it right side up after cake has 'fallen' out and let cool completely before cutting.
adapted from Rose's Kitchen
1. it isn't a really easy cake to make, yet not very difficult either.
2. it is important to know "how brown" should each layer be and may differ from time to time even with the same oven. So, it is best to sit in front of the oven and observe and remove it once the layer is done and proceed with the next.
3. DO NOT stir the batter during the whole process. i.e. the last time you should be stirring/mixing the batter should be when you're folding in the whites. Once the batter is ready, and you've started baking, so not stir it anymore.
4. You will notice that liquid comes out of the batter towards the end of the process. DO NOT stir to mix the liquid into the batter. Be careful not to scoop up the liquid to spread in your layers. If it becomes too difficult to scoop without avoiding the liquid, discard the batter. You should be on your last few layers by then.
5. Try not to spread the batter too fast/too slow. It is difficult to explain the consequences of doing so. Practice would probably get you accustomed to how you should do it =)
6. Lapis spice can be bought from major supermarkets, phoon huat, sun lik, etc. I get mine from sun lik.
7. The brandy/rum can be omitted if not available or if you're halal. Replace it with either orange juice or water. [updated 30 Jan '09: brandy/rum usually added to prolong "shelf" life - not too sure how true is this fact though]
I understand that it is a little difficult to visualise the whole process although you may have read through the recipe umpteen times. It is really pretty different when you are actually baking it. Here's a video which i found really really useful as I was making my numerous kueh lapis attempt last year.

Cherry's blog provides a recipe as well, but i did not really like the outcome of it and how it tasted so I switched to using Rose's recipe after trying it out. I can't really say that cherry's recipe is bad or what, I guess it just didn't suit my family and friends' taste buds. But do give it a try if you wish too.

I hope those interested would give making kueh lapis a try =)

Update  (March 6th, 2010): I've finally posted my own video HERE !


ade said...

hi can i know if the taste is too sweet?

youfei said...


the taste is very much acceptable, not too sweet.

I tried making it using more egg whites to make it "lighter", but the orginal recipe stillt aste the best

Related Posts with Thumbnails