Kueh Lapis

My favourite Chinese new year goodie, the kueh lapis from Bengawan solo. Those from the other bakeries ain’t heavy enough, ain’t eggy enough. I guess that also explains why it goes at $50 bucks thereabout for a cake that measures about 7″ by 7″. Now, I shall save myself some moolah by making it for myself! Lesson with Phoon Huat costs $36 and I get to bring some a 7″ by 7″ lapis at the end of the lesson, all in a timespan of 4 hours.

Main takeaway from the teacher that stayed in my head: The first 3 layers must be cooked, especially the centre, else all the layers above will be uncooked too! Well, that was indeed what I learnt from my next home baking experience. Cooked layers = bounce when pressed. He also repeatedly knocked the lapis tin against the oven, I think to get rid of the air pockets for those that didn’t rise evenly. Also, the lapis presser was not used unless really necessary.

Our end product, with the aid of our coach, who actually monitored the baking of all the layers for all of us 9 ovens or so, 8mins baking per round (excluding the baking of the first and the last layer). Our end products laying out to cool. Me and Hui were both worried the layers ain’t showing but these worries were unfounded, for it turned out pretty well!

And putting together my home lapis baking experience, I attempted another recipe from


due to the convenience of it being available online. The recipe I obtained from the class was missing in one of my bags and the one posted on their website wasn’t the same as the one taught (not that it couldn’t be followed but I didn’t have all of the ingredients). I replaced the rum with cointreau, for I am not a fan of the distinct rum / brandy flavour and prefer to have something more refreshing.

The cointreau lapis was definitely less oily, and I omitted alcohol for the prune and plain lapis (same batter with prunes place on one side of the square tin), with no replacement whatsoever. The latter two were definitely oilier and heavier though they did make a much higher cake than the one with alcohol. A google search told me alcohol neutralises oil. I will definitely try with cointreau again! 3 votes for the cointreau being the preferred choice of the three – mine, mum’s, sis’.

My oven was much hotter because of it being small and thus, distance from the top (i.e. grill) heat was nearer. I barely had time to put one layer on the round tin before the square one’s layer is cooked. So two baked tins is a good number to keep me occupied throughout.

As I was saying, one of the main takeaway from Phoon Huat’s class was that, once the centre of the first 3 layers of lapis isn’t cooked, the rest of the lapis’ centre will not be cooked. I saw that for myself when the sides of my square lapis wasn’t cooked. The 4 sides were all yellow (not brown) when i removed it from the tin. I was really crossing my fingers that the centre works out fine, because during the process I only noted the sides being lighter in colour. Thankfully, that was the case. We shaved off the sides, a fair bit, before the above was obtained. Still, we get to eat nonetheless! Hope to try more lapis with various kinda liquers / alcohol. Till then!


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