Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Interlude - Kek Lapis Sarawak

It's finals time and I've almost graduated from high school, so baumkuchen machining has been shelved for now. However! I have made minor progress. I now have a working propane camp stove which, despite having a lame burner, might have the regulator I need. I also learned that one of my Internet Friends has a grandmother with an antique German baumkuchen oven that she still uses from time to time. More will come of these developments later.

For now, however, I have an interlude. You see, baumkuchen isn't the only cake baked in a special way. It's not even the only cake baked on a rotisserie: similar or nearly identical cakes exist in Serbian, Croatian, Swedish, Lithuanian, and Czech cultures. Other cakes not made in the traditional manner (I really need a better term for that, don't I?) include cakes resembling flatkuchen or cake-rings molded to make giant cake cornucopias with fruit inside. Even others, such as Vietnamese bánh, are steamed or fried.

But possibly the most impressive untraditional cake (Hey, "untraditional cake". That's kind of an okay term. Maybe I'll think of a better one before the end of the post.) is the Malaysian Kek Lapis Sarawak. It is many precisely cut layers of cake cemented together to make a smartly arranged pattern or picture. The woman responsible for making these famous, Rabiah Amit, has already published three recipe books. They're all in Malay but dammit, it is tempting to buy them! If I could learn to make these and good baumkuchen I could become an untraditional cake messiah.

(Original image from www.keklapissarawak.com)

How does it taste? Well, I'm assuming it tastes similar to its simpler English variant, Battenberg cake, a tea cake which I have made a few times and which I can assure you is terrific. It bodes well for Kek Lapis Sarawak.


Baumkuchen said...

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Max said...

i'm curious. baumkuchen and kek lapis are both layered cake. or are there difference in preparing/ingredient-wise? are they both of different taste?

Ushanka said...

I'm glad you asked, Max! I've never eaten kek lapis but I believe it's a very different batter and a very different structure. The kek lapis layers are made by baking a larger cake and very precisely cutting it into thin layers, which get cemented together with jam. I bet it's really delicious!

There's a series of recipe books for kek lapis that you can find here: http://www.mphonline.com/books/nsearchdetails.aspx?&pcode=9789676114402