Classy Indonesian Layer Cake (Kek Lapis)

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Indonesian layer cake (kek lapis)

Indonesian layer cake (kek lapis)

Here’s one of my greatest baking adventures……Indonesian Layer Cake, commonly called ‘Kek Lapis’ in Malaysia and Indonesia. The other being macaron. They were for my Valentine’s Day last week. You can read more about my Valentine’s Day fun at My Big Fat Valentine’s Day. This cake is really time consuming but it’s worth every bit of my time and effort. Not only did it taste fantastic but it looks really pretty and classy.

25 free range eggs

25 free range eggs

Looking at the ingredients, you may say this Indonesian Layer Cake is one of the most fattening cakes with so much butter and 25 egg yolks. It’s actually a fairly big cake. This cake is always served in small portions. to give it that classy look. I think it won’t look classy when served in big portions. It’s really good with a cup of coffee or tea.

Royal Albert cup and sauce

Royal Albert cup and saucer

If you serve this Indonesian Layer Cake in pretty little classy cups like the Royal Alberts collection, they look fit for the Queen! But sadly I don’t have those cups. I’m not an avid collector of them. This one here is just so pretty but cost about £30!! Using them would be a little stressful for me. What if I drop or break it? That would give me unnecessary sleepless nights!

This cake is very popular during Chinese New Year or Hari Raya. I just think that this cake is not any more fattening than other cakes. Too often when we eat other cakes, we add layers of frosting in between and on top or pour cream, custard, caramel or chocolate sauce over it. And we eat a big serving of it. But not for this Indonesian Layer Cake or Kek Lapis. Remember, it’s served in small portions.

The ingredients are rather simple. I got this recipe from Ann at Pig Pig’s Corner but made some adjustment to it. I won’t know what to do with so many egg whites so I added more egg whites to the cake and use the others for macarons. I heard from a friend many years ago that she brushed each layer with butter so I tried that. So here’s my Indonesian Layer Cake recipe.

Ingredients A
500g butter
1 tin (397g) condensed milk
1t vanilla essence
2T honey
1 & 1/2t ground mixed spice
2T brandy

Cream Ingredients A. I used the canned condensed milk. I think if I used my homemade condensed milk, it would taste much better. I will do that next time.

If you like to make your own condensed milk, click How To Make Condensed Milk. If you don’t like it so thick, use less milk powder. My version is good for baking. You can cut down on the butter if you like, especially if you want it for making drinks.

Ingredients B
25 egg yolks
100g castor sugar

25 egg yolks

25 free range egg yolks

I used free range eggs. Look at the eggs yolks, so orange and beautiful. Separating the egg yolks from the egg whites is very easy. I’ll show you a cool, neat way to do it in my next post.

Beat egg yolks until creamy

Beat egg yolks until creamy

Beat Ingredients B until thick and creamy. Add to creamed mixture of Ingredients A.

Ingredients C
170g flour
1/4t baking powder

Add flour to egg mixture

Add flour to egg mixture

Sieve Ingredients C. Add to the egg mixture above and mix well. The flour is not much so I added all in one go and folded through the egg mixture gently.

Ingredients D
10 egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
10g sugar

Beaten egg white

Beaten egg white

Beat Ingredients D until stiff. I just added all together and beat it up.

Cake batter

Cake batter

FOLD the beaten egg white GENTLY into the batter mixture above. Don’t beat it up. Otherwise it will lose its volume.

Now the fun and patience begins!

Spread cake batter

Spread cake batter

Lay a piece of baking paper at the bottom of the tin only. Turn on the grill to medium. Heat up the tin for a minute or so. Scoop some cake batter into the tin. Spread it out. The tin is hot so it’s easy to spread it out. It takes a few minutes to turn brown. So don’t go away otherwise it will get burnt. I didn’t realise that and my first layer was slightly burnt. The batter may look a little lumpy and curdled but it’s perfectly fine. The cake still turned out very well as you can see from the picture.

Brush with butter

Brush with butter

Once it’s brown, careful remove the tin. Use a tooth pick and prick all the bubbles if there are any. Mett some butter and brush a little over the top. It gives a more moist and lovely flavour and taste. Then spread another layer and into the grill it goes again. Mine had 18 layers and it took me about 2 hours or maybe more.

Indonesian layer cake (cake lapis)

Indonesian layer cake (cake lapis)

I must say I am really proud to have made this cake. Will I make it again? Of course I will, especially on special occasion. I think it’s a good cake to help build patience if you are one like me that lacks patience in the kitchen…haha.

Now, what to do with all the egg whites? You can make macarons, my favourite Meringue With Lemon Cream or Pumpkin Seeds Crisps (Tuiles).

Other layered desserts that you may be interested in:
9 Layered Coffee Rice Pudding
Best Layered Chocolate Cheese Cake

Quote of the day……

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

- John F. Kennedy

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Lindsay  on February 20th, 2011

Wow!! What an amazing looking dessert!! congratulations on tackling it!

somewhere in singapore  on February 20th, 2011

I never interested to do this, as i don’t have the patience to do it…

Belinda @zomppa  on February 20th, 2011

That’s a heck of a lot of eggs, but I can only imagine how fantastic this tastes!

penny aka jeroxie  on February 20th, 2011

So much work though! Love this cake but the layering has stopped me from making.

Von  on February 20th, 2011

Wow! 25 egg yolks!! And 2 hours!! :O
This cake looks amazing though :)

Ivy  on February 21st, 2011

This sounds delicious. It reminds me of pancakes which are baked in layers. I don’t think I have the patience for such a dessert.
P.S. You can freeze your egg whites in smaller batches and use them whenever you like.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef  on February 21st, 2011

Haha, I wouldn’t be able to use such expensive cups either BUT I would definitely be able to eat a piece of this super classy cake! Very impressive to look at.

suituapui  on February 21st, 2011

Ooooo…I love your Royal Albert crockery. My missus used to make kek lapis…but in the end, she got fed up and mixed everything together to put in to steam or bake. LOL!!!

LeQuan  on February 21st, 2011

Oh my gosh, Mary! 18 layers?! You really do have A LOT of patience. I think I have a lot of patience as well, but not when it comes to cooking or baking because I want to eat my food as quickly as possible. My mom knows not to ask me to help peel cooked shrimp ever because once I ate half of the shrimp even before she could finish her dish. Haha! I’ll bet this cake is delicious with all those layers. I’ve never tried this type of cake before, it’s very intriguing. Whomever you’re baking this for again next time must be a very special and lucky person. I don’t even know if I’d have the patience to bake this for myself. Lol. Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Mary.

Kathy Gori  on February 21st, 2011

I love these cakes and you make them so beautifully!

kristy  on February 21st, 2011

Mary, I am looking forward to make this soon. Hopefully, I don’t stress out by the layering. haha… I’ll have to say yours look perfectly & beautifully done. Great job! Hope you’re having a great week ahead.
Blessings, Kristy

Mary  on February 21st, 2011

@Lindsay - Thanks very much, Lindsay! :D

@somewhere in singapore - Haha…like me…but who knows may be one day you will take up the courage to make it :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Haha….the 25 eggs….still ‘rolling’ in my brain :D

@penny aka jeroxie - Exactly…so much work. Can’t even really leave the kitchen! That’s why won’t make it often :P

@Von - Haha….the eggs and the time to make sure frightens everyone! But the end result is really good…totally satisfying to eat and look :D

@Ivy - Baking pancakes in layers? Wow..I have never heard of it. Must be interesting and very delicious. Thanks very much for letting me know that I can freeze egg whites. That’s really useful to me! :D

@Conor @ HoldtheBeef - Haha…I think the same way. I can go to the shops to look at the cup and saucer but not necessarily use it :D I think my hands are too clumsy for such dainty cups…haha

@suituapui - To me the Royal Albert collection is more for decoration. I’m sure many people do that. But they are really beautiful. Haha…I’m so amused how you described about your missus making this cake. Now I think I will be tempted to do that next time :P

@LeQuan - Haha…patience under pressure…all because of Valentine’s Day! :D I’m amused how you finished half of the shrimps. That’s why sometimes I hesitate asking my girls to help…haha…the risk is always there. Sharon is the worst! :D

@Kathy Gori -Thanks very much, Kathy! :D

@kristy - Yes, I’m so excited to hear that you are making this cake soon. Can’t wait to see yours. Thanks very much for your lovely compliments :D Hope you have a great week, too!

Priya  on February 21st, 2011

Omg, wat a beautiful and marvellous layer cake..

anncoo  on February 21st, 2011

Perfect layers, Mary :) I would like this for my afternoon tea too!

Sharon @ Fun and Life  on February 21st, 2011

Delicious!!!! YUM! And such beautiful layers!

divya  on February 21st, 2011

looks absolutely wonderful…I can’t take my eyes off these yummy layer cake…

pigpigscorner  on February 21st, 2011

Yours looks perfect! I like the idea of brushing every layer with butter, must try this next time!

sharifah  on February 21st, 2011

Wah Mary… u r so advanced ya, baking layered cake is no joke

marla  on February 21st, 2011

This layer cake is beautiful! I love all kinds of Indonesian foods, but have never tried anything like this. Gorgeous!

busygran  on February 21st, 2011

I used to enjoy eating this cake. Now I don’t eat it nor bake it for health reasons. You have done it very nicely.

Blackswan  on February 21st, 2011

Kueh Lapis, here I come! Mary, do u know this is my fave nonya cake?? I’m still feeling very full after another invitation to a food-tasting session. But u’re killing me with this! Hahaha! Chk this out OpenRice S’pore Food Tasting Event At Charly T’s!

wendyywy  on February 21st, 2011

Wow, and you brushed butter on each layer?
I’m too lazy to do that step each time, kekeke.

Jeannie  on February 21st, 2011

Wow! Mary you manage to make your layer cake so evenly distributed! Lovely and so tall! I still cant get into the mood to bake this cake! Way too much work!

Jasmine  on February 21st, 2011

OMG! AMAZING and LOVELY!! each layer is so nicely baked! (: so mouthwatering too!

lena  on February 21st, 2011

hey mary, i’ve seen a few bloggers making these lately, i’m so tempted looking at these but i’m not sure if i’m adventurous as you but still, i wld love to give it a try one of these days

Joy  on February 21st, 2011

Ohh I have been wanting to try kek lapis for so long. This is look great.

Cheah  on February 21st, 2011

Good job, Mary! Perhaps I shall try making a small one to test my patience! The layers on your cake look so neat.

Mary  on February 21st, 2011

@Priya - Thanks very much, Priya! :D

@anncoo - Thanks very much, Ann! Come and join me for tea :D

@Sharon @ Fun and Life - Thanks very much, Dear! My gosh…you ate so much! :D

@divya - Thanks very much, Divya! Give a try if you have time. It’s worth making :D

@pigpigscorner - Thanks very much for the recipe, Ann! :D

@sharifah - Haha…I have definitely improved in my baking! :D
This would never have happened if I am back home.

@marla - Thanks very much, Maria! Give this a try if you see any or maybe make it yourself if you have time :D

@busygran - Whah… are very discipline! I don;t think I have that iron will. Must learn from you :D

@Blackswan - Haha…I know what to serve you if you come to visit…this cake :D are so lucky to o for food tasting. How nice if I can follow along!

@wendyywy - I just try to have the best kek lapis…do everything that people mentioned since it’s already such a difficult cake to make. Very happy it turned out very well :D

@Jeannie - Thanks very much, Jeannie! Ya, it’s so much work. Don’t think I will make it again so soon :P

@Jasmine - Thanks very much, Jasmine!

@lena - Do give it a try. I feel so happy and satisfied after making this cake. It’s like I had achieved a successful climb to the top of a mountain…haha :D

@Joy - Thanks very much, Joy! Now it’s your turn to try :D

@Cheah - Thanks very much, Cheah! Yes, give a try :D

Katerina  on February 21st, 2011

It looks perfect with all the layers. I would love to try it!

Juliana  on February 21st, 2011

I love this cake, and always get it at the local Asian bakery…haven’t tried to make…so much work…but I am sure that it is worth the effort as your turned out awesome…have a great week ahead Mary!

swathi  on February 21st, 2011

Looks awesome delicious. It is looks similar to goan bebnca ( dessert of goa)

teresa  on February 21st, 2011

oh they’re so beautiful! great job!

5 Star Foodie  on February 21st, 2011

Wow, look at all those layers, you did an incredible job with this cake, it’s just gorgeous! I sure would love to try!

The Kitchen Masochist  on February 21st, 2011

I love looking (and eating, of course) at this cake. I only ever have this cake when I’m in Singapore or KL.


Jess @ Bakericious  on February 22nd, 2011

nice kuih lapis, i love it but stil ve not enough courage to attempt it :P

nammi  on February 22nd, 2011

wow, looks just like the ones i buy from shops here, !!!

Catherine  on February 22nd, 2011

What a wonderful dish, Mary :) patience is a virtue and I’m sure it was worth the 2+ hours in the end :D

Nasifriet  on February 22nd, 2011

Oh wow! This is not only a lovely cake, but really delicious. I can vouch for that :-) Love this cake, but it’s darn tedious to make. Can you ship some to Belgium, pls ;-) There are many variations of this cake and is very popular in Sarawak - just google for kek lapis Sarawak and voila! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Mary. You’re amazingly hardworking! Hehehe..

My Man's Belly  on February 22nd, 2011

WOW - 18 layers! I’m not sure I’d have the patience to make that…but I sure wouldn’t mind eating a slice of it. ;)

This would make some really pretty petit fours too.

Christine@Christine's Recipes  on February 22nd, 2011

It took you a lot of time and effort, Mary, wasn’t it? But I bet the 18 layer cake would be gone very quickly. It looks so delicious.

momgateway  on February 22nd, 2011

I admire your work…18 layers is not trivial…but it’s beautiful and must be so good!

Shirley  on February 22nd, 2011

Reminds me of Bibinca.

Angie's Recipes  on February 22nd, 2011

This takes patience and skill! Looks very beautiful!

Cooking Gallery  on February 22nd, 2011

You made kue lapis…! That’s totally awesome! I still remember eating it many years ago.

Simply Life  on February 22nd, 2011

oh wow! this is SO impressive! they look perfect!

Anna Johnston  on February 23rd, 2011

No wonder you ended up making macarons after making your kue lapis, the perfect way to use up all the eggs. A really interesting cake Mary, thanks for sharing your recipe.

Mary  on February 23rd, 2011

@Katerina - Thanks very much, Katerina! Have fun baking :D

@Juliana - You are very lucky to be able to get it at Asian shops there. I’m not so lucky here. But if you ever want to make this cake, just make a big one to make your time worth :D

@swathi - Thanks very much, Swathi :D

@teresa - Thanks very much, Teresa! :D

@5 Star Foodie - Thanks very much, Natasha :D

@The Kitchen Masochist - Thanks very much! :D

@Jess @ Bakericious - Thanks very much, Jess! Give a try. You’ll enjoy that great sense of achievement and also enjoy the cake :D

@nammi - Thanks very much, Nammi! :D

@Catherine - Thanks very much, Catherine! Yes, a real test of my patience :D

@Nasifriet - I wish I can send you some! Have to make again My family were just too quick to finish all :P Yes, Sarawak is very famous for this cake. I must try to google it and find more :D

@My Man’s Belly - Yes, I wish, too, that I can just eat it without having to make it :D

@Christine@Christine’s Recipes - Yes, lots of time and effort to make this. Can hardly leave the kitchen or sit down!! The cake was sure gone very quickly :D

@momgateway - Thanks very much! :D

@Shirley - I need to check out that Bibinca :D

@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! :D

@Cooking Gallery - I didn’t know it was so much work! Good thing is that it’s good I did not know, otherwise I would have chickened out…haha :D

@Simply Life - Thanks very much! :D

@Anna Johnston - Yes, the egg whites were just perfect for my macaron experiment :D

Janice  on February 24th, 2011

Now that is a labour of love!

hopeeternal  on February 24th, 2011

Amazing cake, Mary, but afraid I just don’t have the patience … or the time!
‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’

Lucy  on February 24th, 2011

Mary, that is absolutely amazing, I am in awe of your patience! I don’t think I would even have the time to crack 25 egg yolks, let alone bake 18 layers of cake. But I do know what you can do with all those egg whites - make Ottolenghi’s amazing meringues. Email me if you don’t have the recipe and I’ll post it back to you. Have a great weekend, Lucy x

Jill Colonna  on February 26th, 2011

Mary, you are so impressive! Your layer cake looks absolutely stunning and so special. You have no idea how a recipe using as many egg yolks gets me all excited, as I’m always looking for recipes that use them. This is definitely something deliciously different. And yes, I guess I would use them for macarons, not surprising ;-)

Maria @ Scandifoodie  on February 26th, 2011

I saw this cake on tv and I’m very intrigued to try it, it looks great!

Mary  on March 2nd, 2011

@Janice - Thanks very much, Janice! :D

@hopeeternal - I actually had to build up a lot of courage and patience for this cake. Glad I did :D Give a try one day.

@Lucy - Oh, I learned something new here…Ottolenghi’s meringues. Got to check that out and try that when I make this cake again. Thanks very much for sharing :D

@Jill Colonna - Thanks very much, Jill. It frightens me in the first pace with so many egg yolks, but no regrets after I saw what I got :D

@Maria @ Scandifoodie - Give a try. It’s very beautiful and tastes very good :D

Joyce Thay  on March 20th, 2011

This is nice…. Would love to try it…=) usually i get to eat this during Hari Raya Visiting…

thavamani ramasamy  on April 15th, 2011

mary, i love baking.i will this cake .tk.

Yana Dunk  on June 30th, 2011

Mary, thank you very much for this special Lapis legit recipe. This morning I made around 5 hrs frm the start until finish. Very yummy… I have been serching for a long time how to make this cake. Your recipe r the best! Thanks again :)

Lea  on May 8th, 2012

It is compulsory to used brandy?

Mary  on May 9th, 2012

@Lea - I think you can use any liquor. Just that I have brandy at home. I think rum would be nice too. You can give a try. Have fun baking! :D

Amy  on March 4th, 2013

This looks absolutely wonderful! I’m going to have to try to make it! I’ve done a layered cake before it was a 21 layer crepes cake and it takes a ton of patience to do. This seems like a challenge which I shall accept. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this recipe!

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