|Alternative names||Kue lapis legit, spekuk|
|Place of origin||Netherlands and Indonesia|
|Main ingredients||Egg yolks, butter, sugar, cinnamon, clove, mace and anise|
Spekkoek (spekuk in Indonesian), also more popularly called (kue) lapis legit in Indonesia, is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. It was developed during colonial times in the Dutch East Indies and may have been based on Dutch cake recipes using local ingredients. The firm-textured cake is the Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) version of baumkuchen, but without a chocolate or sugar shell. It contains a mix of spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace and anise. The cake is very rich – a 20 cm × 20 cm (7.9 in × 7.9 in) cake can contain up to thirty egg yolks, 500 grams (18 oz) of butter, and 400 grams (14 oz) of sugar.
In Indonesia, the cake is popularly known as (kue) lapis legit, literally "delicious layers (cake)", because it consists of many thin layers of cake. As a good lapis legit has more than 18 layers, baking it is a very labour-intensive process requiring much patience. Each layer is made by pouring a small amount of batter from a cup into the baking tin, which is then put into an oven until the layer has turned golden from the heat. The tin is then removed from the oven and the process repeated to build up the remaining layers. Dutch ovens with a charcoal fire on top of the lid are said to produce the best results, while electric ovens are superior to gas ovens as cakes bake much faster in the former.
Where clove buds or cardamom seeds are difficult to find, bakers can use spekkoek powder as a replacement. Milling and mixing the spices before baking produces a cake with an excellent aroma. The ground spices must be sieved into the flour at least three times as the spice powder is very fine and tends to clump in the batter. In Indonesia, there are many varieties of lapis legit, including cakes containing almonds, cashew nuts, cheese, prunes or raisins, and even cakes flavoured with chocolate and pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius).
Due to the effort required to bake the cake, it is a rather expensive delicacy, costing about €20 per kilogram in 2010 in the Netherlands. In Indonesia, a similar-sized lapis legit can cost up to Rp400,000 (about €12.50). Lapis legit is enjoyed during Chinese New Year, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas celebrations. It is also served or given as gifts during many local festivities such as at birthday parties and weddings. In the Netherlands, the sliced cake is traditionally served for dessert in rijsttafel.
- In 2006, a cook at a restaurant in Enschede was fired after stealing a spekkoek: "Diefstal spekkoek kost kok zijn baan". Dorpsplein Enschede. 4 April 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
- Laura Halpin Rinsky (2008). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0.
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