Thursday, December 19, 2013
Spekkoek (Lapis Legit or Thousand Layer Cake)
I found this beautiful layered cake on the internet and was intrigued by the many layers. The original recipe was found here but I used Emeril Legasse's
technique for baking the layers, using the broiler instead of the oven.
Lapis legit, thousand layer cake, was made by the Dutch people of Indonesia. It's made by baking each layer individually using a combination of spices called Spekkoek. This recipe looks daunting but once you try it you'll realize just how easy it is. Plan on spending a couple of hours in the kitchen and don't be frightened by the ingredient amounts, this is probably only going to be a once a year event! Spekkoek Layer Cake is well worth the time and expense, I hope you'll give it a try!
Use a 10 inch springform pan, buttered and the bottom lined with parchment paper.
This will serve 20 or better, this is a very rich cake so small slices are recomended. I made this recipe and cut the cake in half and brought it to a party. The other half will be served at Christmas. Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake will hold well in the refrigerator for a week.
16 eggs at room temperature, separated
750 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400 g granulated sugar
200 g all purpose flour, sifted
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardomom
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
Set your oven to broil. Position your oven rack in the middle slot.
1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until very creamy and white colored. Add egg yolks, a couple at a time, mixing well to combine. Add sugar, mixing well, then add flour in 3 parts. Mix to completely combine. Transfer this mixture to a very large bowl (you'll need this to fold the eggs and butter mixture together)
2. Clean your mixing bowl well so there is absolutely no trace of butter left in the bowl and add the egg whites and salt. Whisk together on medium speed until very frothy then raise the speed to high and whip the whites until stiff peaks form.
3. With a large rubber spatula, scoop a dollop of the egg whites and add to the butter mixture. Fold in to lighten the batter a bit. Add remaining whites and fold them through until combined. Your not going to blend this batter completely, so don't try. Your egg whites may start to deflate and there may be a little liquid around the edges. Don't worry, everything will be good. Don't over do it, there still should be egg whites marbled through the butter mixture.
4. Divide the batter equally between two bowls, I find that weighing the batter on a scale will give you a perfectly equal amount. Add spice mixture to one of the bowls and fold in carefully.
5. Now that you have your two batters, one spice flavored, one not, you can begin the baking process. Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out a slightly rounded amount of the spiced batter first. Spread it evenly to the edges and around the entire bottom of the pan. Carefully place the pan under the preheated broiler and cook for 3 minutes. I find setting a timer is very helpful. When your timer goes off, remove the cake from the oven, you will see that the first layer pulls away from the side of the pan, that's fine, the rest will fall into place nicely.
Scoop your second layer of plain batter, same amount as the spiced and spread to the edges carefully and evenly around the bottom of the pan. At this point the batter may start to melt over the previously baked layer, don't worry everything will be fine. Get it under the broiler and set your timer again for 3 minutes, then repeat the whole process over, layering spiced batter alternately with plain batter until both batters are used up. When you finely get to the end, you'll have about 18-20 layers and a beautifully executed cake!
6. When all layers have been cooked, place the cake pan on a rack and carefully remove the ring, you may need to coax it a bit with a sharp knife around the rim to loosen. Allow to cool completely. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove disk and parchment paper, then reinvert onto a pretty cake plate.