Kue lapis ready in 30 minutes

Shiny and lovely: kue lapis. An Indonesian layered cake. It is sweet, soft and instant eye candy ;-). It’s made out of rice flour and tapioca flour (cassava root flour) and coconut milk. It’s ready in half an hour. Really!

Each layer needs 5 minutes to complete in the rice steamer. If you closely stick to the correct amounts of the layer batter and choose a mold that fits in the steamer, it will be a succes.

Rijst en tapioca meelKue lapis is not in Beb Vuyk famous cook book but this blog needs a kue lapis; an Indonesian classic.

Many online recipes are for huge cakes but a kue lapis doesn’t need to be huge. A thin slice or two with a fragrant cup of tea is the way to present your kue lapis. Well, that’s the way I do it ;-).

A kue can be frozen easily. It will come out fresh as ever. In that respect, bigger cakes are perfect for slicing up and freeze for later. Once out of the freezer the cake is easily cut while it’s still a bit frozen.

Salt is important for kue lapis. The small amount lets the sweetness and coconut  flavor of the cake stand out.

pandan-pastaFood coloring
The Indonesian natural colorant I use will add to the flavor. I use in this one pandan coconut flavor paste. Regular pandan paste or rosewater is delicious as well.

This is what I did (good for six people).


100g tapioca flour
25 grams of rice flour
100 grams of sugar (regular granulated sugar)
225 ml coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
pandan or other food coloring
oil to wax the mold

I proceed as follows

Stir it
You do not need a machine to make the batter. Just mix with a whisk the tapioca flour, rice flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt together and add the coconut milk bit by bit until your batter is smooth and shiny.

You can dilute your coconut milk with a cup of water. Coconut milk from a pack can be a bit too thick sometimes. Keep the total amount of 225 milliliters of (diluted) coconut milk.

kue lapis

Be precise
It’s important to weigh the ingredients. Your cake will only succeed if the ratios are in order. I use ordinary white granulated sugar by the way. That works fine.

Pudding, cake and plastic mold
I use a ceramic pudding mold. The amount will fill about 1/5 of the mold. Enough to make a heart shaped pattern in the lapis.

The heat from the steam bursts the outside a little. When it cools down, the cracks close again. It’s probably better to use a silicone mold or a metal cake tin. A plastic container that can withstand heat, works fine too. Make sure it fits in your steamer.

kue lapis

In the mean time I heat up the rice steamer with the mold inside until steam comes out with the lid on. I tie a tea towel over the lid, to prevent drops falling on to the batter.

kue-lapis9Today I make kue lapis with two colors. Therefore, we divide the batter into two bowls. Loulou knows exactly how much coloring it needs: 1 dash is enough.

Then stir in well. Remember that the color darkens during the steaming process. So this light pink batter is fine.

We’re going to make this a 4 layered cake because I want to make a kue lapis in 30 minutes. You can divide the batter in four equally sized bowls. Your layers will be evenly thick.


Pour it in
The steamer is blazing hot now. I wax the inside of the mold with a bit of oil. It will prevent the cake to stick to the mold. Ready for the first layer… Just pour 1 part of the batter in, close the lid and let it steam for 5 minutes on high heat.

Change color every time you add a new layer and pay attention to the amount of water in your pan. This process is repeated until all four layers are in. Steam the final layer 1 minute longer (6 minutes steaming for the final layer). Then every layer is properly cooked.

kue lapis in puddingvormLet the cake cool down in its mold on the counter top for 5 minutes.

Remove the kue lapis
You have to remove the cake during the cooling down time. After 5 minutes on the counter top loosen the edges of the cake from the mold with your fingers. Stick a chopstick gently in between the cake and the mold. It will pop out.

Place the firm jelly like cake on a plate waxed with a bit of oil. Let it cool down for 20 minutes and pop it in the fridge for another 20 minutes.

kue lapis

Cut the cake
Wax your knife with a bit of oil and cut your homemade kue lapis into evenly thick, 1 centimeter slices.

The layers should be clear, not blurred into each other. If so, your pan and mold were not hot enough. If you eat the cake and the layers are easily separated when pulled, you’ve made the perfect kue lapis. Selamat makan!


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3 Responses

  1. Frank vanDelden says:

    Thank you. We’re so excited We wish you were local. We live in Maryland USA

    • Pauline Chavannes de Senerpont Domis says:

      I am excited that from so far my blog is visited! Love to hear your experiences with Indo cooking 😉 With Love Pauline

  2. Pxiong says:

    Can you give me the recipe measurement in cups and not grams? Thank!

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