Thousand-layer cake (lapis legit)
- March 2019
- Serves 16-20
- Hands-on time 1 hour 20 min
This Indonesian thousand-layer cake, also known as lapis legit, is fittingly named for its many layers. It’s spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg and drizzled in a final layer of rum and ginger icing. Georgina Hayden says:
”Lapis legit, a Dutch-influenced Indonesian cake, is one of my favourite cakes (‘lapis’ means ‘layers’ in Indonesian and ‘legit’ means ‘rich’ or ‘sweet’). It’s a spice-laden batter that’s baked in fine layers to stunning effect. It takes a little time but I think it’s worth the effort.”
- 24.1g (14.1g saturated)
- 36.2g (27.4g sugars)
For the cake
- 500g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra to grease
- 390g golden caster sugar
- 75ml milk
- 10 large free-range eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Generous grating fresh nutmeg
For the ginger glaze
- 2 tbsp spiced rum (optional)
- 1½ tbsp milk (or 3½ tbsp milk if not using the rum)
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 150g icing sugar
- 6 pieces crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
You’ll also need…
- Deep 23cm springform cake tin, greased and base lined with non-stick baking paper
- For the cake, put the butter in a large mixing bowl with the caster sugar and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Sift over the flour and baking powder, then fold in using a large metal spoon.
- Heat the grill to high (see tip). In a clean bowl using clean beaters, beat the egg whites and salt until the egg whites form stiff peaks that don’t flop over when the beaters are removed. Add 1 large spoonful into the yolks/flour to loosen, then, using a metal spoon, fold in the rest of the egg whites quickly and carefully until you have a light, smooth batter. Spoon half the mixture back into the bowl you whisked the egg whites in, then fold in the cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and grated nutmeg.
- Spoon just enough of the unspiced cake batter into the prepared cake tin to cover the base (use about 4 tbsp). This layer will be a little thicker than the others to get going. Put under the grill to cook for 2-3 minutes – it should be cooked through and a little golden on top.
- Spoon 2-3 tbsp of the spiced batter mixture into the cake tin, spreading it out evenly once again to cover the previous layer. Repeat the cooking process under the grill.
- Continue to cook all the batter, alternating between layers of spiced and unspiced batter, then grilling until each layer is cooked with a slight golden crust. As you build up the cake and it gets closer to the grill, reduce the heat and the height of the oven shelf so the batter doesn’t brown too quickly on top, but cooks all the way through. Once all the batter is used up, set the cake aside and leave to rest in the tin for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and put on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the ginger glaze, mix the rum and milk (or just milk) in a small bowl with the ground ginger, then beat in the icing sugar until smooth and runny enough to drizzle. Once the cake has cooled, drizzle over the glaze and spread it evenly using the back of a ladle, then scatter the crystallised ginger over the top
and slice to serve.
If you have a particularly fierce grill, only heat it to medium-high.
The finished cake will keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
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