Kuih Lapis, a small asian cake cooked layer upon layer until golden brown is a favourite among my family members during Chinese New Year. Since I wasn’t around for last year’s celebrations, I went on a baking spree this year to make up for my absence, and Kuih Lapis was on the list~
I’ve seen my mother make Kuih Lapis before, but it was a long long time ago. She didn’t like the tediousness of the cake as she had to prepare other dishes as well and that cake took up a lot of her time. Since I ‘had’ the free time (or whatever time I had after cleaning the house before CNY), I decided to give it a go, and the recipe didn’t look too daunting either~
Well… making the batter wasn’t difficult considering it was like making a sponge cake but the baking process was really tedious. Firstly, the recipe said bake the layers for 4 minutes and only after waiting for a good 10 minutes for it to turn brown that my mom mentioned that grilling the cake would allow it to brown within the required time. OTL
Anyway, after baking a small thin layer of batter, each layer has to be pressed down with a flat object, usually a aluminium presser. This step is repeated until all the batter is used up, to give the cake its nice layers.
Here’s a photo of the presser, basically its a flat sheet of metal with a handle! I think substituting with a flat object would be ok instead of buying the presser just for this purpose.
Doing all these steps took me roughly a good 2 hours, with most of the time spent in front of the oven watching the layers brown and quickly taking them out of the oven before they burn. But making your own kuih lapis is well worth the effort put into it. Mine were not perfect (see all the gaps) but they were still good to eat and the smell of brandy was so so fragrant!
Pretty layered Kuih Lapis~~~
Adapted from Terry Tan’s Straits Chinese Cooking
(A very old book that my mom still uses, seems to be out of print)
Makes a 18 by 18 cm (originally a 14 by 20 cm) cake
- 10 egg yolks
- 180g caster sugar
- 250g unsalted butter
- 75g plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp rempah powder (a spice mix/no image! found in the baking section of asian stores/baking stores)
- 4 egg whites
- 2 tbsp rum or brandy (NOT HALAL!)
- Grease and line a 18 by 18 cm square tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180˚C on the grill setting.
- Beat the egg yolks and castor sugar in a bowl until thick and creamy.
- In a seperate bowl, cream the butter until soft and add the egg mixture a little at a time until thoroughly mixed. Fold in the flour and rempah powder.
- Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form and fold it into the batter. Add the rum or brandy and mix gently but well.
- Layer the base of the tin with roughly 3 tablespoons of batter and bake the first layer until light brown (or however brown you would like it to be)
- After each layer, use a flat bottomed glass (or the presser I mentioned earlier) and press gently all over the cake to remove any air bubbles.
- Continue to layer the cake and watch it carefully as it bakes under the grill. There is no definite time to bake the layers. Just watch it. Repeat the process until all the batter is used up.
I’ll definitely make it again whenever I have 2 uninterrupted hours to spare, and if my DS doesn’t catch my attention first…… NO! I’m not that lazy!!!!