Slices of kue lapis cake on white plate
Kue Lapis Is The Indonesian Layer Cake With Unbelievable Textures
Indonesia is home to sizzling satays, aromatic spicy curries, and vibrant noodle dishes, but if you’re craving dessert, the one-of-a-kind cake called kue lapis is just as unique.
The cake has an extraordinary texture known as “Q” in many Asian countries, which denotes a certain springiness or bounciness akin to al dente pasta or boba pearls.
The cake gets its flavor from coconut and the herbaceous plant pandan, creating an aromatic and not-too-sweet dessert that is popular across Southeast and East Asia.
Kue lapis was inspired by the German layer cake Baumkuchen, brought to Indonesia by Dutch colonizers in the 1500s. “Kue” means “cake” and “lapis” means “layers.”
Today, the cake is a daily snack and staple at Asian Lunar New Year and Ramadan celebrations. In Chinese culture, nine layers in a kue lapis symbolize longevity and blessings.
To make kue lapis, blend rice flour, tapioca flour, coconut milk, and sugar into a smooth, even batter. Divide the batter into several bowls and dye each portion a different color.
The cake is then steamed layer by layer. Add your first layer of batter to a container and let it steam, and once it sets, add your second layer in a different color, and so on.
After steaming, refrigerate the cake to ensure a bouncy texture. Once your technique is down, explore different flavorings like beetroot, butterfly pea flower, or turmeric.