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Old fashioned Indonesian-Dutch Layer Cake Secret Recipe

Lapis legit with prunes

Lapis legit with prunes

Why so special?

LAPIS LEGIT literally means very-rich layer cake a.k.a Spekkoek was brought to Indonesia during colonial times in the 19th century. It was then modified using local ingredients. Some would add the mix spices powder ( cinnamon, clove, mace, and anise) and some would like the original flavors.

the name is derived from many thin layer structure that are piled on top of each other, sum up to more than 18 layers. The baking process is very labor intensive, requires much patience, but worth the time.

this cake is usually enjoyed during special celebration, such as Chinese New Year, Ramadhan Day, Christmas, also can be given as gifts.

being very popular up until now, the varieties of the cake are greater with the addition of cheese, almonds, prunes, raisins, and in a different flavor, such as pandan.

As for me, the original is the best amongst all. The recipe i would like to share is originally modified by my great grandmother who was once a genius baker in her time. Thank you granny!

Let's get started ( ^ . ^ ) v


  • 100 ~ 125 grams All purpose flour, ( depend on the water binding )
  • 10 Medium eggs, White and yolk in separate bowl
  • 300 grams Icing Sugar
  • 125 ml Condensed milk
  • 100 grams Unsalted Butter / Dutch wjisman
  • 200 grams Margarine
  • 4 grams Vanilla powder / essence, ( best if using vanilla beans and scrap yourself)
  • In moderate amount Rum / brandy, ( if you like )
  • 1/4 tsp Mix spices powder, ( if you like )
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Good quality of lapis legit consists of many thin layers

Good quality of lapis legit consists of many thin layers

Baking Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

2 hours

2 hours 45 min

1 round 20 cm x 20 cm removable bottom pan

Step-by-step Procedures

  1. Cream the butter+margarin together with icing sugar and vanilla powder until pale and soft at speed 3 ( medium-high )
  2. Adjust your mixer to minimum speed. Add egg yolk one step at a time with a constant speed 1 (low -medium), until looks shiny and fluffy, approx. 7 ~ 10 minutes. Important note : do not mix at high speed, it may results in overmixed batter.
  3. Turn off your mixer. Gradually add flour to the batter. Stir manually using a wooden spatula. The consistency of the batter is not runny and also not thick. The way to measure : When you spoon it, the first drop shall be falling after few seconds. This, you get the right consistency. Next, gradually pour condensed milk into the batter. stir gently in one direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise until well-blended.
  4. Rest the batter for a moment. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C (392 F) for 15 minutes.
  5. When the temperature is about to reach 200 C ( 392 F ), beat the egg whites until soft peak is formed.
  6. Incorporate 1/3 of egg whites to the batter, using wooden spatula stir in one direction gently, then add the rest of the egg whites, stir carefully until well incorporated and small air bubbles appear on the surface of the batter. Important note : do not over mix the batter as the cake will not rise properly during baking process.
  7. Grease the bottom of the pan or using non-sticking spray. For the first layer, spoon about 60 grams of the batter to the pan, flatten with the round-bottomed spoon in a circular motion gently until the batter distributed evenly that there's no air gap visible.
  8. Bake at 180 C ( 356 F) using the upper heat and place the pan at the lowest rack ( provided the oven consists of 2 racks ). Bake until the surface turns golden brown ( about 3 ~ 4 min.) and immediately remove from the oven. Important note : do not leave your cake, it will get burnt easily. As i mentioned above, baking the cake requires much patience and tricky at the same time.
  9. Pile up another layer with the same step as above. Repeat pilling up until all the batter being used. Important note : keep the temperature constant at 180 C ( 356 F ). The thicker layer you have achieved, the quicker it browns.
  10. When the cake is done, remove from the oven and place to the cooling rack. Wait until the cake gets cooler, take it out of the pan. It should not stick around the edge nor at the bottom.
  11. Slice your cake with size you desire. Serve with hot tea or coffee. Tell me how it tastes :)
Alternate layer of Lapis Legit with mix spices

Alternate layer of Lapis Legit with mix spices

Important Points

  • If you would like to add mix spices ( spekkoek powder), set aside 1/3 of the final batter, mix well. The color of the batter will be brown.
  • Layering procedure : The first 2 layers will be original batter and pile up with 1 layer of spices batter. Continue with 2:1 procedure until all being used. It requires much more patience and delicacy. The color and taste will be more sophisticated.
  • Practice makes perfect. the more passionate you are, the better result you will get. When you are mad about baking, you will never want to give up until you get what u want it to be. I am, myself failed on my first attempt. When you indulge yourself more, you will understand how to make your cake looks perfect ^ ^

Vote it!


Joanne Yeoh on May 05, 2019:

Lovely cake.. I would love to try your recipe and need your advise what is the percentage% if sugar need to be reduce.

Foon Lam on November 28, 2017:

At least your recipe has only 10 eggs, I've seen some using 20 egg yolks! I'm definitely going to try yours.

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