Johor royal family member shares signature cempedak kek lapis. Born in Johor, Balkis and her family are members of the Johor royal family who moved to the Klang Valley in the 1970s. But their passion for heritage Johor food has never wavered, inspired at least in part by the indomitable Esah’s talent for cooking these meals.
For Balkis’ family, Hari Raya simply wouldn’t be complete without her kek lapis (layer cake), something that deviates from Johor food but that she learnt how to make herself as her family has such a proclivity for sweet treats.
Originally thought to be from Indonesia, kek lapis has acquired new life in Sarawak, where talented bakers have transformed the basic cake into thrilling creations featuring geometric patterns in all kinds of hues.
Making even the simplest version of the cake (striped layers) requires determination, as the constant layering during the baking process (every five minutes or so) can be quite exhausting.
Although Balkis sticks to simple striped layers for her kek lapis, her flavour range is where she really experiments, with kek lapis variants that include chocolate, Nutella and even durian! But it is perhaps her cempedak kek lapis (jackfruit layer cake) that is truly outstanding – a lightly sweet affair that features buttery, dense cake with the distinct flavours of jackfruit running riot throughout.
“For my kek lapis, I only use good quality butter and a lot of eggs to get the consistency right. And for the jackfruit filling, I make it from scratch using fresh jackfruit, ” she says with pride.
This recipe first published in Food News under The Star.
- For the cempedak puree
- 600 grams of cempedak, cored
- 220 grams caster sugar
- 220 ml of water
- For beating together in stand mixer (high speed)
- 500g butter
- 4 tbsp condensed milk
- 1 tsp cempedak essence (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- For adding to stand mixer
- 20 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites
- 270 gram caster sugar
- 1 tbsp ovalette
- For the flour mixture
- 120 g Hong Kong/Top flour
- 250 gram milk powder
- 150 gram cempedak puree
- Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth. Cook briefly over low heat until thickened stir continuously)
- Beat the butter, condensed milk, cempedak essence and vanilla essence in a stand mixer on high speed. Set aside.
- Using a clean bowl, beat the eggs, caster sugar, ovalette in a stand mixer using high speed until fluffy and thick. Add the butter mixture into the egg batter and stir well.
- Add sifted flour and milk powder little by little until fully absorbed. Then add cempedak puree and stir well until immersed into the mixture.
- Grease an 8” x 8” pan and pre-heat the oven to 170C.
- Put half a cup of batter for the first layer and bake it using upper and lower heat for about 5 minutes to 7 minutes. Pour another half cup of batter into the pan and bake the second layer using the upper heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Bake the rest of the layers using the same method.
- Once done, bake the last layer using lower heat for 10 minutes and temperature between 130°C to 140°C