Authentic Lapis Legit (Spekkoek 印尼千层蛋糕)



I am very disappointed with my authentic version of the Lapis legit because the color tone for each layer are not even.. Sorry for being not humble to say that I know I can do much better than this as baking lapis is nothing new to me. I have to tell all readers frankly that some layers are slightly burnt. and those layer with a very dark lines are those that are burnt..However, I knew the exact reasons and if you follow this recipe closely, your lapis will definitely look much better than the one in this post.


I prepared this lapis with a spoilt oven. My oven fan mode and temperature control were out of order but can still be functioned.. I made a gamble to bake this expensive cake by investing 500 grams of butter and 30 egg yolks.  I lost as with the same grilling temperature of 180 degree Celsius, some of them refused to brown after 5 minutes but some were burnt at 3 minutes. I have to adjust the temperature up and down, keeping a really close eye for the entire bake…Hmmm, as the date of issuing this report, this problem have been solved because I have ordered a new oven for the Chinese New Year. Ha-ha


The reason that I proceed to issue this post is because I do not foresee I will be preparing this cake in the very near future… Well, it is a very delicious cake but it is just too taxing for my body with the rich ingredients.. So, shall the readers bake this cake? Sure, why not? Bake and give it as Chinese New Year gift and it is definitely a presentable gift.


If you ask me whether preparing lapis is difficult or not? I will say NO if your oven is normal.. Is it very time consuming? I have baked numerous times and I do have a way to enjoy the process. However, it did not  apply to this bake because of the fluctuating oven temperature and I have to monitor closely every layer..

Being a poor blogger without any helper, I need to clean the kitchen and cooking utensil myself after every bake. For the first 1-2 layers, I will generally monitor the progress. from the third layer onwards, I will start dishing and cleaning the kitchen. By the time the cake is done, my kitchen is cleaned too. How long does it take? Possibly 20 layers times 5 minutes = 1 hour and 40 minutes..


If you think that it is time consuming, why not bake 2 cakes at one go.. or even 4 cakes (top 2 and bottom 2). But you have to rotate the baking tin systematically and it basically means that your oven door is always open which is okay since what you need is basically top grilled heat to brown the layer.


Why lapis need so much butter and egg yolk? The answer is very obvious, it is a cake that requires high temperature to bake with long baking hours, the cake will be dry if you use whole egg or less butter..Egg yolks and butter do make the cake “moister”.


Per Wikipedia:

“Spekkoek (spekuk in Indonesian), also more popularly called (kue) lapis legit in Indonesia, is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. It was developed during colonial times in the Dutch East Indies and may have been based on Dutch cake recipes using local ingredients. The firm-textured cake is the Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) version of baumkuchen, but without a chocolate or sugar shell. It contains a mix of spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace and anise. The cake is very rich – a 20 cm × 20 cm (7.9 in × 7.9 in) cake can contain up to thirty egg yolks, 500 grams (18 oz) of butter, and 400 grams (14 oz) of sugar. In Indonesia, the cake is popularly known as (kue) lapis legit, literally “delicious layers (cake)”, because it consists of many thin layers of cake. As a good lapis legit has more than 18 layers, baking it is a very labour-intensive process requiring much patience. Each layer is made by pouring a small amount of batter from a cup into the baking tin, which is then put into an oven until the layer has turned golden from the heat. The tin is then removed from the oven and the process repeated to build up the remaining layers.Dutch ovens with a charcoal fire on top of the lid are said to produce the best results, while electric ovens are superior to gas ovens as cakes bake much faster in the former.”



Recipe modified from: All About Lapis Legit – Recipe & Tips on the Indonesian …

Servings: Prepare a 20cm x 20 cm cake


  • 500 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 100 grams of condensed milk
  • 200 grams of icing sugar
  • 120 grams of cake flour
  • 30 egg yolks
  • 1.5 tablespoons of kueh rempah or mixed spice
  • Additional 100 grams of melted butter for layering (optional)



  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.



  • Beat the butter, condensed milk and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in the cake flour and mixed spice. Use the standing mixer’s lowest available speed to mix for 1 minute or until well mixed.


  • In another mixer, beat the egg yolks until ribbon stage which took about 10-15 minutes. Ribbon stage means that the beaten eggs will drip slowly rather than very liquid. Add the beaten egg yolks gradually to the batter and use the lowest speed to mix until well combine. If the mixer mixing are not thorough, use a spatula to manually mix the batter,


  • Pre-heat the tin in the preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 2-3 minutes. Once done, TURN THE OVEN TO TOP GRILLING MODE. Place about 1/2 cup of the batter to the baking tin. Put it back to the oven for about 15 seconds to let the heat melt the batter, swirl around the tin to make a thin layer.


  • Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the top part starts to brown. Once it browns, put another 1/2 cup of the batter to the baking tin, repeat the same process. If there are bubbles noted, use a toothpick to break it and use a icing smoother to lightly press the layer. Repeat the same for all the layers until all the batters are used. For the last layer, reduce the temperature for 160 degree Celsius and bake for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on each layer to ensure browning are even.

  • For moister cake, you can brush the melted layer on each layer. However, I have by passed this step and come out with equally moist cake.



Pardon me for the poor layering but I am happy that this cake have 26 layers that meets the Wikipedia’s definition of kuih lapis. Lapis is not difficult to prepare if your oven temperature is operating normally. After seeing the ingredients, it is up to readers to decide whether to proceed to bake the lapis. What I can say is that it is a nice and delicious cake but everything have to be eaten in moderation.  If you have a yearly ritual of buying lapis for Chinese New Year, this recipe will save you some money and what you get is this delicious cake plus sense of achievement.


For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at and separate arrangement can be made.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


I’m submitting this post to Best Recipes for Everyone Jan & Feb 2015 Event Theme: My Homemade Cookies organized by Fion of XuanHom’s Mom and co-hosted by Victoria Bakes





Not A Lapis Legit But A Rich Dense Lapis–Lapis Horlicks (Horlicks Layered Cake)

When readers are reading this recipe, they will think that the cake will be very sweet. Today, I have decided to try a version which is less sugar, less butter and less eggs.
My verdict is I still prefer the original recipe or recipe 1. But for those who are health conscious, you can always try recipe 2 (highlighted in red) and the cake is slightly drier, less dense and definitely not sweet.



I came from Sarawak and Sarawak is famous for its layered cake or kek lapis. A Google about Sarawak Kek Lapis will give you all sorts of impressive kek lapis in terms of designs and colour. Kek Lapis is rather new in Sarawak and introduced by the Indonesians in late 1980’s. However, within these 30 over years, the kek lapis industry in Sarawak has transformed significantly. 


Wikipedia even have an article on Sarawak kek lapis and it was written that:

“Kek Lapis Sarawak is a layered cake, traditionally served in Sarawak, Malaysia on special occasions. In the Malay language, they are known as Kek Lapis Sarawak, Kek Lapis Modern Sarawak, Kek Sarawak or Kek Lapis. They are often baked for religious or cultural celebrations such as Eid ul-Fitr,Christmas, Deepavali, birthdays and weddings. People in Malaysia practice an open house on festival day. A unique feature of Sarawak’s open houses is the modern layered cakes. Modern Sarawakian layered cakes were introduced to the people of Sarawak from Indonesia officially around 1988.The Indonesian version has been known since the Dutch colonial era; its most famous varieties are the Lapis Legit, a spice-flavoured multi layered cake, and Lapis Surabaya. In 2011, the history of Sarawak layered cakes once again change by a new generation (Sarawakian) of innovative natural layer cakes evangelist named Kek Lapis Qalas Qalas. By introducing modern design and traditional layer, coupled with new flavours which inspired from home-made inspiration, each layer is tastefully interlaced with various natural flavours in between the original recipe, modern taste and knowledge from their ancestor.” (Source:

Besides the appearance, home made kek lapis have a lot of other flavours. Other than the lapis legit (original layered cake) and the common one like prune and cheese kek lapis, there are very innovative flavours like chocolate peppermint, almond milk, strawberry, fresh yam flavoured, cheese flavoured, hawthorn candy layered cake etc. etc. etc.… So in the last 30 years, we have been exposed to various types of kek lapis and during Chinese New Years,  it is very common that a  household have 4-5 types of kek lapis to serve its visiting guests.


The recipes of Sarawak lapis are many and varies in terms of number of eggs/egg yolks used, method of preparation (egg separation method vs. creaming, steaming vs. baking), flavours and etc.


Though I have many recipes with me, however, I am reluctant to take a step to prepare them due to its large quantity of egg yolks needed. I continue searching and I stumbled across this Horlicks lapis that uses only 10 whole eggs. Immediately when I saw the word Horlicks, it caught my attention. Horlicks lapis is definitely not new to me. In fact, my favourite lapis is Coffee Horlicks flavour where one layer is Horlicks and another layer is coffee flavoured. For those who are not familiar with Horlicks, it is a type of breakfast malt drinks. You can substitute with cocoa powder if you prefer.


Well, for those who are new to Sarawak lapis, the texture of this lapis is slightly different from the light fluffy type of lapis. It is rich, dense, soft and moist. It is not difficult to “visualize” the texture if you analysed the ingredients. One can of condensed milk in any cake will make it dense. Don’t worry, it is not overly sweet as less sugar have been used. It flows down the throat and it is extremely creamy and buttery. The beauty of this lapis is it uses 10 whole eggs as compared to those that uses 20 egg yolks and ovalette.




Recipe adapted from : Kek Lapis Horlicks


Recipe 1 (original version)

  • 240 grams of plain flour
  • 200 grams of Horlicks
  • 180 grams of castor sugar or brown sugar (sugar reduced)
  • 385 grams of butter
  • 10 whole eggs
  • 1 can of condensed milk (about 380-400 gram)

Recipe 2 (healthier version)

  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 200 grams of Horlicks
  • 100 grams of castor sugar or brown sugar (sugar reduced)
  • 350 grams of butter
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 1 can of condensed milk (about 380-400 gram)


  • A ladle
  • One fondant icing smoother



  • Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.

  • Grease a 9” x 9” square tin.


  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale. Add in one egg at a time and ensure that the egg and butter mixture are well mixed.


  • Add in the condensed milk, use the machines to slightly stir it. Sift in flour and Horlicks and stir until well mixed.



  • Heat the greased baking tin for about 1 minutes and turn the oven to top grill mode. Put 2 ladles of batter in the tin and ensure that it is equally distributed in the tin. Bake for 5-6 minutes until the surface start to turn brownish. Take out and use the fondant icing smoother to roughly press again the cake (to ensure that it is flat). If you note of some bubbling, use a toothpick to poke the hole and let the trapped air escape.


  • Put another 2 ladles of batter, bake until brown and press it slightly. Repeat the same procedures until all the batters are finished. After all the batter have finished, for the last layer, reduce the oven to 160 degree Celsius and resume to the “top heat and bottom heat” mode, bake for additional 10-15 minutes. Cooled completely before cutting. Keep in refrigerator for up to at least 2 weeks.





If you like moist dense cake, this lapis is for you. It is not difficult to make but a bit laborious. However, the hard work is worth the wait. I will possibly share another  post on the traditional lapis legit where egg separation method are used for the preparation. You can then see that the texture of the cake will be slightly different.


It brought fond memories when I cut and ate the cake. I have been cutting this type of cakes for donkey years during the first day of Chinese New Year. Putting them in nice serving plate waiting to serve visiting guests. This cake is also a celebration cake during Christmas in Sarawak. May be you want to try making one to serve your guest?


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.