August 21, 2012

Kue Lapis: A Tradition Alive in My Kiwi Kitchen

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Having afternoon tea with our good friends. #Tuesday #tea #food #foodphoto

Kue Lapis is a popular layer cake, commonly served in Eid and Christmas in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Ever so popular I won't want to miss baking it this year. 

'Lapis' means layer. Some people translate kue lapis as thousand layers cake, which is quite hyperbolic really, given that the cake consists of only 10 to 15 layers, 20 to 25 at the most perhaps. Mine reaches 10-12 layers mostly. The more layers, the more egg yolks it requires.

With 10-12 layers, I have to use 30 egg yolks. Put triple exclamation marks if you like, but it indeed requires that many egg yolks. Since I haven't got problems with egg production at our chicken farm, I baked a batch of Lapis Legit (Indonesian Spiced Layer Cake) and Lapis Agar (Indonesian Agar Layer Cake).

Lapis Legit

Lapis Legit
Years ago when I started baking lapis legit to sell to an Auckland-based Indonesian caterer, I didn't use salted butter. I had to receive complaints from her customers as the result that the cake did not reach the standard-taste test, for what they were after was a rich spiced cake with a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness in each layer. The salted butter could have done it, they recommended. I failed, but I learned. 

These recent years, I use half salted butter-half margarine and I agree that the taste is so much improved, although I bake them only for our plates. I might try to sell this cake again one day, if only I have more time.

Eid Mubarak 1 Shawwal 1433H
Lapis Legit 
by Yasa Boga

300g butter,
200g margarine,
3 Tbs sweetened condensed milk,
1 Tbs mixed spice,
100g plain flour,
350g caster sugar,
30 egg yolks,
½ tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Beat the butter and margarine until fluffy and pale. Add in the sweetened condensed milk. Beat until well mixed. Set aside. 

Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until thick and pale. Whisk in the butter mixture one spoon at a time, mix well. Fold in the sifted flour and spices, mix well. 

Prepare a square cake tin 22x22cm, line with greased and floured baking paper. 

First layer: Spoon the batter into the tin, 3 Tbs at a time, level the surface. Bake first layer. 
Next layers: Spoon in 3 Tbs batter on to the first layer, level. Bake under the grill for about 3 minutes or until the surface is golden brown. Remove and repeat the process until all batter is used. 
Last layer: adjust the oven back to 170C. Spoon the last mixture, level and bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the wire rack.

Sliced to serve.

There are many versions of kue lapis. I have tried several of them. Let's see.

Lapis Legit Gulung (Rolled Layered Cake)

Posted on my blog on Multiply:
Lapis Legit Gulung
This is basically a version of lapis legit with reduced egg yolks and baked on a Swiss roll tin, which then rolled.

Lapis Legit Keju (Cheese Layered Cake)

Posted on my blog on Multiply:
Lapis Legit Keju
This is a cheese version of kue lapis. Not my favourite, but worth to try out. The cake was quite nice when it has been kept for days after being baked.

Lapis Tikar (Tikar Layer Cake)

Posted on my blog on Multiply:
Lapis Tikar
This kue lapis is made from egg whites. Not so much the texture I like to taste, but it is a great entry to use-up the heaps of leftover egg whites used on the previous baking. Sadly, this recipe and photo had been copy pasted by an irresponsible party who breached my copyright and downloaded it all and wrote it on a recipe book published in Indonesia without my permission or any other effort to give me a notice. I wrote it on my blog post here. I was so angry I wanted to sue these people, but then it won't worth the money and time.

There is one version I try out recently. It is called Lapis Agar. And yes, it is made from agar-agar powder. Allison of Pease and Pudding sent me a little jar of agar-agar powder months way back and I still have half of them to use.

I found the recipe from my mother's old recipe collection, handwritten by her. I have been searching for a reason to bake it, now I have found it.

Lapis Agar
Lapis Agar (Agar-Agar Layered Cake)

The thing about old recipe is that you don't get the exact amount of measurement. They use 'glass' in many of measurement in the olden days. In the original handwritten recipe, the amount of butter is using 'glass' instead of cup. But which glass? Which volume? So, I just adapt this recipe to our modern standard measuring cup as much as I can.

The use of 1 can of sweetened condensed milk is too much for me, so I reduce it. Even so, the cake is sweet enough to my taste. I also add 1 tsp vanilla extract into the mixture.

10 eggs
1 cup butter (I use salted butter)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I only use 1/4 cup)
11/2 cups caster sugar
1 sachet agar-agar
4 glasses of water
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the tin lightly and lined with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add in eggs, one at a time. Beat in milk. Set aside.
Cook agar-agar in 4 glasses of water, cooled down. When it's cool, pour into the butter mixture, mix well.
Bake a layer at a time. (at this stage, I use lapis legit baking method, to bake first layer with 180C, then change the oven function setting to grill, 100% on my oven. Last layer, I turn the setting to conventional and set the temperature back to 180C). 

1 comment: said...

It looks amazing Arfi, I would love to try it one day but I doubt i have the patience to make all those layers!