Spekkoek – Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit)

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Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. It’s also known as spekkuk and kue lapis legit. Another name is ‘Thousand Layer Cake’ due to the many layers the cake is made of. I personally think they should also nickname this cake ‘Patience cake’ cause of the time it takes to bake this cake. Depending on the amount of layers you’re creating it can take awhile before you’re finished. A proper spekkoek should have more than 18 layers. Each layer is baked individually by grilling/broiling it. This cake is truly a labor of love. That’s probably why even a small piece is pretty expensive to buy in the shops in the Netherlands.

Where Does Spekkoek Come From?

Spekkoek is a Dutch term and literally translated it means bacon cake. The dark and light layers of cake resemble bacon. The Indonesian name Lapis Legit means sweet layer cake. In English people often call the cake Thousand Layer cake. A special blend of spekkoek spices is used in this cake. The cake was developed during colonial times in the Dutch East Indies.

In the Netherlands we usually see two versions of spekkoek, the traditional brown and yellow layered version and a green version where pandan has been added to the yellow layers to make them green. Come to think of it, I think I’ve seen a chocolate version sold as well. In Indonesia there are many variations of lapis legit, with almonds, cashew nuts, prunes, raisins to name a few, but I haven’t been fortunate enough to taste those yet. (Source: Wikipedia). I based my recipe on a recipe I found in an old Albert Heijn cookbook in my mums cupboard.

How To Make Spekkoek (Thousand Layer Cake)

Spekkoek Ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, spekkoek spice, liquid coffee creamer, vanilla extract and salt.

To make this delicious spekkoek, you’ll need butter, sugar, flour, eggs, spekkoek spice, liquid coffee creamer, vanilla extract and salt. (The full list of ingredients including measurements can be found in the recipe card below.)

 

Spekkoek: Separated egg yolks from the egg whites. Creamed butter and sugar. Added vanilla extract. Mixed batter.

First start with separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Next, cream butter and sugar, add vanilla extract and mix till incorporated and add the egg yolks one at a time until fully incorporated.

 

Spekkoek: Whipped egg whites. Egg whites added and folded into butter batter. Flour and salt sifted and folded into batter.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites till they’re stiff. Fold the egg whites into the butter mixture. Once all of the egg whites are fully incorporated sift flour and salt and fold it in to the butter mixture a little bit at a time.

 

Spekkoek: Sifted flour and salt folded into batter. Liquid coffee creamer being folded into batter.

Keep on adding the sifted flour and salt a little bit at a time till fully incorporated. Next, add the liquid coffee creamer and fold that in until incorporated.

 

Spekkoek: Batter divided into two parts. Spekkoek spice mixed into one part till incorporated. First layer of yellow cake batter spread into springform.

Divide the batter into two equal portions. Add the spekkoek spice to one part and mix till fully incorporated, you’ll end up with a brown and a yellow batter. Take your lined springform and spread on about 2-3 tablespoons of the yellow batter on the bottom.

 

Spekkoek: First layer yellow cake batter spread into spring form. Second layer brown cake batter spread onto baked first layer. More layers added.

Make sure you spread the batter evenly. Bake this first layer under the frill for a few minutes. You’ll have to check how long it takes to bake the layer usually about 1-3 minutes, depending on your grill/broiler. Use a cake tester to test if the cake is done. Once the yellow layer is done, take it out of the oven and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the brown batter on the top of the first layer. Bake the second layer under the grill/broiler and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the batter onto the brown layer. Start at the top rack of your oven and as you add more layers move the rack down. This way you ensure that the cake doesn’t just gets grilled/broiled from the top but gets baked on the inside as well.

 

Spekkoek: More layers added to spring form. Sprinform filled with baked layers. Springform covered with aluminum foil. Photo of finished cake.

Keep  on repeating the process until all of your batter is finished or until your springform is full. When the last layer is done take the cake out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil for 30 minutes.

 

Spekkoek: Trimming edges off cake

If you want, you can trim off the edges to show off the nice layers of the cake.

 

Spekkoek: Slices presented on a plate.

Spekkoek is served in small slices, a small piece goes a long way.

 

Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. Also known as spekkuk and kue lapis legit or 'Thousand Layer Cake' due to the many layers the cake is made of. | Spekkoek Recipe | #spekkoek #recipe

I love spekkoek and every time I make it I am proud of the result.

 

Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. Also known as spekkuk and kue lapis legit or 'Thousand Layer Cake' due to the many layers the cake is made of. | Spekkoek Recipe | #spekkoek #recipe

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Spekkoek - Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit)
Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. Also known as spekkuk and kue lapis legit or 'Thousand Layer Cake' due to the many layers the cake is made of.
Votes: 19
Rating: 4.21
You:
Rate this recipe!
Cuisine Dutch, Indonesian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Spekkoek
Extra tools
Cuisine Dutch, Indonesian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Spekkoek
Extra tools
Votes: 19
Rating: 4.21
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Line the bottom of your spring form with parchment paper. Clean a bowl with the lemon juice, just wipe it down with a kitchen towel. The lemon juice will remove any fat that's possibly still on the bowl. Use some of the lemon juice to wipe down the whisk you'll be using to whip the egg whites as well.
  2. Start with separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Add the egg whites to the cleaned bowl. Next, cream butter and sugar in another bowl, add vanilla extract and mix till incorporated and add the egg yolks one at a time until fully incorporated. 
  3. In a separate bowl (cleaned with the lemon juice), mix the egg whites till they're stiff. Fold the egg whites into the butter mixture. Once all of the egg whites are fully incorporated sift flour and salt and fold it in to the butter mixture a little bit at a time. Keep on adding the sifted flour and salt a little bit at a time till fully incorporated.
  4. Next, add the liquid coffee creamer and fold that in until incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter into two equal portions. Add the spekkoek spice to one part and mix till fully incorporated, you'll end up with a brown and a yellow batter.
  6. Preheat the grill/broiler of your oven to 350 °F / 175 °C.
  7. Take your lined springform and spread on about 2-3 tablespoons of the yellow batter on the bottom. Make sure you spread the batter evenly. Bake this first layer under the grill/broiler for a few minutes. You'll have to check how long it takes to bake the layer usually about 1-3 minutes, depending on your grill/broiler. Use a cake tester to test if the cake is done. Once the yellow layer is done, take it out of the oven and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the brown batter on the top of the first layer. Bake the second layer under the grill and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the batter onto the brown layer.
  8. Start at the top rack of your oven and as you add more layers move the rack down. This way you ensure that the cake doesn't just gets grilled/broiled from the top but gets baked on the inside as well. Keep on repeating the process until all of your batter is finished or until your springform is full. When the last layer is done take the cake out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil for 30 minutes.
  9. If needed, trim off the edges to show off the nice layers of the cake. Serve the spekkoek in small slices.
Recipe Notes

Please note that the cup measurements in this recipe are approximate. I have added cups for those that prefer using cups. The recipe is most accurate using weights measurements.

  • You can make your own Spekkoek Spice Mix using my Spekkoek Spice Mix recipe on the site.
  • You can substitute spekkoek spice with pumpkin pie spice.
  • Stay close to your oven when grilling/broiling the layers of the cake. Each oven is different, some take longer than others. Check every 1-2 minutes to make sure you don't burn your layers.
  • Some grills/broilers just don't have degrees but only the ability to choose between 1, 2, 3. In that case, just start at the lowest and only increase the heat if needed.
  • Spekkoek is served in small slices.

8 comments

  1. RC
    21 May 2019

    What are you referring to when you say coffee creamer? What % of fat cream? Otherwise, great recipe. Looking forward to making it.

    1. 25 May 2019

      Hi RC,
      I usually use a coffee creamer that has a 4% or higher percentage of fat.

  2. lyndadhorgan@hotmail.com
    21 April 2019

    Love this site

    1. 22 April 2019

      I’m glad to hear you like it 🙂

  3. Vinnie
    22 January 2018

    In the US the grill setting of the oven is called the broiler. IN case that helps anyone.

    1. 24 January 2018

      Thanks for the additional info. I’ve incorporated it into the text 🙂

      1. Diane Greer
        7 November 2018

        I tried this cake and it didn’t cook through just burned the top layer. I cannot set my broiler to 350, do you mean bake at 350?
        I ended up doing layer upon layer and the. Baking like a marble cake. I was disappointed. Thanks

        1. 11 November 2018

          Hi Diane,
          I’m sorry to hear the cake didn’t work out for you. You do have to bake the cake one layer at a time under the broiler, if you can’t set a temperature you will have to test it out by adjusting the heat start low and increase the heat if it takes too long. Every oven and every broiler is different so the temperature given in recipes are always an estimate. Between ovens there can be a difference in degrees.
          Each layer needs to be baked under the broiler separately to get the distinctive look of the thousand layer cake. If the layer cooks too fast, turn down the heat a bit and lower the rack so it’s not that close to the broiler. It only takes a few minutes to broil one layer.

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