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Spekkoek is a traditional Dutch-Indonesian spice cake that Mum used to make around New Year’s every year. They call it lapis legit in Indonesia these days. It’s a unique cake in many ways. The most unique is that it is not baked; it is broiled aka grilled, thin layer by layer, alternating a dark spice layer and a white cake layer. The older generation would compete and try to see who could get the most layers. Over the last couple of years, Mum’s ceased making it, and since I’m usually on my own, I never can be arsed; but this morning Mum showed up on my doorstep bearing this cake (shop-bought, but very tasty…though her own is still unsurpassed).

Here’s the recipe:

1 pound (8 ounces) of unsalted butter
10 large eggs separated
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons ground anise
10 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Set out eggs and butter so they can come to room temperature. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and lightly mix. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until dry and stiff. Then mix into batter, folding in a little bit at a time. Add flour in a few small batches. Mix on low until incorporated.

Divide batter into two bowls, reserving just a little bit extra in the “white” batter bowl. In the other bowl, add the spices (it helps to add all the spices in a smaller bowl and give it a quick whisk before pouring into batter).

Grease and flour a 9” or 10” springform pan. You can cut out wax or parchment paper and insert on the bottom of the pan if desired.

Start with the white batter. With the back of a spoon or spatula, cover the bottom of the pan with the white batter. Push the batter all the way to the sides of the pan as it will slightly shrink up once it’s grilled. Grill it from the centre rack of your oven. The first layer will take longer to grill than succeeding layers. Bake each layer until lightly browned with small bubbled up holes, almost like a crepe or pancake, about 2 minutes. Alternate layers, white, black, white, black, until all the cake batter is gone. Make sure your first and last layers are both white layers.

When finished, let the cake cool, remove from pan then dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired. It can keep in a cake tin or wrapped in aluminium foil for a few days. Cut the cake in 1/4’s and serve in very thin slices.

Selamat makan!



( 12 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Dec. 30th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
That looks incredible! Bookmarking.
Dec. 30th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
If you can ever spare the time (because it is time-consuming to make!), then the result will be well worth it ;-)
Dec. 30th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
That's fascinating - broiling is the same as grilling isn't it?
Dec. 30th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yes. I don't know why I used the American word in the translation ;-)

The layers on this shop-bought cake are actually too thick. When you do your own spekkoek, make sure the alternating layers are at least half as thin. You should ideally build up your cake in about 20 layers or so.

And if you don't like anise, you can replace it with vanilla.

Edited at 2011-12-30 11:11 pm (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
I saw this done on TV this year by one of our Aussie TV chefs. I was a bit confused with the use of the word broil as well - it's a word that's just not used here and rhymes so much with boil that I was wondering where to put the water!

I'm currently trying to decide if I have the energy - one thing's for sure, I do not have 10 eggs right now (it seems like a LOT of eggs!), so it will have to wait. A pity, because it's NYE and it would be nice to do something special for it. If I was to make it, I would use vanilla, if only because I only have whole anise, and no mortar and pestle. :)

Happy New Year! I hope that the new year brings you good health and a good new job. *hug*
Dec. 31st, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
Well, just because we in our family only make it at NYE doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself to that time of year if you want to give it a go sometime...

If you do, you should probably figure in 1 1/2-2 hours cooking time per cake. Mum used to make them for the whole family so she usually spent 2 days on her knees in front of the cooker. Me, I've never had that level of patience. But I think I will make my own next year.
Jan. 23rd, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
Whoa! That looks fabulous!

I am so sorry that the job situation still isn't sorted out. You seem a remarkable person, and I hope you find something satisfying soon.
Jan. 23rd, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
You seem a remarkable person

Hee. I have no objection to being so described.

And thanks. ;-)
Jan. 25th, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
That looks amazing. Next time I am in the mood to spend a day in the kitchen, I may give it a try. (I am glad you used "broil" so I know what to do. Grilling to me implies outside cooking over an open flame.)
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
A-ha! So that's why you Americans came up with another word for it! Now it all makes sense...or almost (I'm still mystified as to the reason you lost an 'i' from the metal the rest of the world refers to as 'aluminium').
Jan. 27th, 2012 05:41 am (UTC)
It's easier to say? I really have no idea about that one either...but Jeremy on Top Gear likes our way better.
Jan. 27th, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
You know Jezza just likes to be contrary ;-)
( 12 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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