Spekkoek – Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit)
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)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want, you can trim off the edges to show off the nice layers of the cake.
Spekkoek is served in small slices, a small piece goes a long way.
I love spekkoek and every time I make it I am proud of the result.