kuih lapis

My kitchen counter-top is a goner because of this cake. 😦


This rich Indonesian layer cake needs a top grill function to make life easier. If not, many advise to place a tray of water at the lower rack to block some of the bottom heat. That didn’t work for me.


In placing a tray of water beneath, a steam bath effect is achieved and by the 3rd layer, a huge bubble had appeared in the cake. I poked it and it sank and became an ugly crater. Sobs. Since I still had so much batter left, I persevered. On the 4th layer, the brown skin for the 4th layer came off as I was pressing lightly with the special metal presser for kuih lapis. Double sobs. I gathered the steam in the oven made the cake slightly moist and even though I lightly oiled the metal presser, the slightly moist skin stuck to the presser and came off.


Frustrated but still determined to continue, I carefully removed the tray of hot water, poured all the water away and replaced the tray in the lower rack. To play safe and try my best to prevent an overcooked bottom layer, I placed a sheet of aluminum foil under the cake tin. Bad idea.


See, my oven is a DeLonghi counter-top grill and bake oven which reaches to a maximum of 225 degrees C. The oven was bought almost 12 years ago and since then was not used much. A year ago, bored to bits at home and sick of watching online movies, I charged back into baking and every weekend sees me in the kitchen baking something up. This old oven has been faithfully enduring and is still fine, except it cannot get past 200 degrees C without shutting itself off automatically (at least it didn’t boom but shut off automatically). I’ve never tried the grill function and I suppose I should have tested it before baking this cake. Sigh. When the grill is turned on, the oven shut off automatically.


Anyway, after 2-3 hours of continuous baking with the lower heat blocked, the counter-top could not take it anymore. It expanded. Upwards.


I only realized this after the 15th layer or so, as I took the cake out to make another layer and shut the oven door, the oven rocked. Stunned, I peeped under the oven and saw the expanded counter-top. God knows what the material was made of but it definitely was never made to expand like this. Shocked, I promptly switched off the oven and prayed I was in time. Lightly touching the area near the expanded counter-top, I could feel the extreme heat.


In the end, after a night’s rest, the expansion reduced in size, but it didn’t go all the way down. I heard from my colleague that due to the heat, the counter-top material expanded and though now cool, it will not return to normal as the glue had already separated from the top surface material. The only way now is to make a cut over the bump, get some glue in and press it back down. My dad is so going to KO me. He doesn’t know yet.


Well, though the kuih lapis was not fully completed, enough batter had gone in to make a decent enough height. Misadventure and disaster aside, the cake tastes quite nice. Sweet with a nice fragrance from the lebkuchen spice bought from Sun Lik and creamy rich from the egg yolks and condensed milk. Just do not attempt this cake with a counter-top oven without a grill function.


Recipe followed from Wen’s Delight. I omitted the cream of tartar and used cold egg whites.



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