Spekkoek; plain and with pandan
|Alternative name(s)||Lapis legit, spiku|
|Place of origin||Netherlands and Indonesia|
|Main ingredient(s)||Egg yolks, butter, sugar, cinnamon, clove, mace and anise|
Spekkoek (also called Spiku in some cities in Indonesia) or more popularly called 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 cake is the Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) version of Baumkuchen and contains a popular mix of spices of cinnamon, clove, mace and anise.
In Indonesia, the cake is very popularly known as lapis legit, which literally means (very) rich layer-cake. The cake is very rich for a 20 cm × 20 cm size cake and contains up to thirty egg yolks, 500 g of butter, and 400 g sugar.
The name of the cake is derived from its layered structure. This layered structured is achieved because of the many very thin layers of cake that are piled on the top of each other. A good lapis legit has more than eighteen layers. This makes the baking of spekkoek a very labour-intensive process. The product is therefore a rather expensive delicacy: about EUR 20 per kilogram in 2010. In Indonesia, a 20x20cm-sized spekkoek (or lapis legit) can cost up to IDR 400,000 (approx. EUR 12.5).
In Indonesia, spekkoek is enjoyed during Chinese New Year, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas celebrations. It is also served or given as gifts in many local festivities, sometimes in a birthday party and wedding. In the Netherlands, the sliced cake is traditionally served as dessert in rijsttafel. The cake has a firm texture, similar to the one of a Baumkuchen in a baking plate but without a chocolate or sugar shell. Baking the cake requires much patience. Each thin layer is made by pouring a small amount of the batter from a small cup, baked one layer after another in the oven until golden with heat from the top. Cakes baked in electric ovens have a better taste as the cake can bake a lot faster. Gas is not recommended, but Dutch ovens with charcoal fire on top of the lid produce the best results. In some cases where clove buds or cardamon seeds are difficult to find, bakers use spekkoek powder as a replacement. Milling and mixing the spice before baking produces a cake with an excellent aroma. The spice must be sieved into the flour at least three times as the spice is very fine and balls of spice will appear in the batter
- De Bazel, a building in Amsterdam nicknamed "De Spekkoek"
- Pandan cake, a similar cake of Malay origin
- Dobos torte, a similar Hungarian cake
- In 2006, a cook at a restaurant in Enschede was fired after stealing a spekkoek. "Diefstal spekkoek kost kok zijn baan". Dorpsplein Enschede. 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- Rinsky, Laura Halpin (2008). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry. John Wiley and Sons. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0.