The Kueh Lapis Legit Experience

I need to manage your expectations.

This is not a successful Kueh Lapis attempt. Of the four elements – appearance, taste, smell and feel – it has failed in its appearance.

This is the third set of CNY goodies that I’m attempting, knowing how difficult it can be since Mel, a good friend has warned me about her failed attempt too. It could be rather discouraging having to throw away the concoction of 20 egg yolks (and you need to find other means to get rid of the egg whites), a whole box of unsalted butter, prunes, mixed spice, brandy and above all, not forgetting the hours you put in front of the oven, checking  every 7 minutes and having your face steamed (don’t get burnt!).

This is massive work. Failure will cause your heart to drop, for a while, and turn your most beautiful day into a storm. Be warned.

I woke up with full enthusiasm to attempt this traditional Indonesian layer spice cake. There were a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is a very challenging cake but I feel it is stil achieveable and secondly, Ken’s Peranakan aunties know how to make Kueh Lapis and I want to make sure I could do so before I return (in a bid to be a good wife to a Baba or maybe I want to be better = competitive. Hah!). As a good student, I did all the research and read up on the various recipes offered on the Internet.

Now, the practical aspect came in. And you know what? I had everything mise en place until I realised I bought the wrong mixed/all spice. @#$%^&. The dear hubs who had just woken up, was kind enough to offer to help me buy while I continue the preparation. How sweet of him!

The first part of mixing the ingredients went well and I was confident it would turn out fine but I had underestimated the true test of making Kueh Lapis Legit – grilling each layer until it turns a nice brown on the top. To be totally honest with you, I have this little fear of grilling or broiling ever since the bak kwa experience. It’s a method I have never used and being unsuccessful and dramatic on my first attempt at the method was good enough to destroy any confidence I have in the kitchen.

So, yes, I failed at the grilling again. How frustrating! The taste was there all right but it didn’t appear to be the Kueh Kapis Legit that I had in my mind. If you observe the closed-up picture of the cake, you would realise that each layer does not have the distinct golden-brown that it should have. A pity!

So, with that, I declare it a failure. It is fit for the stomach, nonetheless, just that it could not be presented as gifts to others. I guess I would try the second time but this, not until we could finish what we have now!

So, what do you do with 16 egg whites with the baking of Kueh Lapis Legit. Every attempt at this cake would require you to consider what other desert/pastry you need to bake in order to use up the remaining lonely egg whites. Well, you could make Italian meringue which you could store in the fridge until you want to use it or you could do Macarons or perhaps, Angel Food Cake.


I wanted to do macarons but realised I did not have the ground almond which is an essential for the pastry so it’s Angel Food Cake ( which uses 10 egg whites!) for me.

On Eggs
Nearly perfect in both nutrition and form, the egg is the food against which all others can be measured for efficiency. Loaded with protein, one egg contains about seventy-five calories, as well as all the amino acids; vitamins A, B, D, and E; and most of the minerals, including iron, essential for human life.

The colour of the shell and of the yolk have no bearing on the taste, nor is a white or brown shell or a dark or pale any indication of an egg being more “natural.” What can make a difference to its taste is what the hen eats.

Eggs should be stored unwashed with the narrow end down in the least cold part of the refrigerator. Generally, they’ll last for a month. Refrigerated raw egg whites keep for up to twelve hours; a yolk for twenty-four hours.

The white of the egg, or albumen, contains no cholesterol or fat. The yolk, which makes up about a third of the weight, has both.

Weight of the parts of an egg (for baking reference):
In shell – 57g
Without shell – 50g
Egg white – 30g
Egg yolk – 18 g

Reference: Life is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days by James and Kay Salter

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