If it isn’t stressful enough to be preparing for a big Tea Party in the park where both Spiker and I would be responsible for making the cakes and other forms of sugar rushes, I woke up this morning with a mission. Would this be one where I decide to measure the bottom of the deep tart tin I have so I can cut out 40 round circles of parchment paper? A task that would make my individual vanilla & raspberry cheesecakes making process simpler on Saturday.
Then, maybe, I could make the Genoise cake for the base of the individual vanilla & raspberry cheesecakes in advance so they can be cut to shape and frozen for when I start making said cheesecakes on Saturday?
So what did this muppet decide to do? I despatched my slaveboy to the supermarket to purchase 2 dozen eggs, 18 of which I had eyeballed for a traditional Malay/Indonesian cake recipe I have.
Now, there is a story behind this cake. It is called Lapis Legit. I didn’t know it was called this until I found a book with a recipe of it in it. Up until that discovery, I thought only the enlightened be-sarong-ed mak ciks in Malaysia held the secret to this cake. As far as I was concerned, this cinnamon layer cake was as heebie jeebie as making things out of holes, a.k.a. knitting.
Having found this Holy Grail of traditional Malay cakes, I was set on making it. Now bear in mind, I have had this recipe for about 14 years. IT IS OLDER THAN MY ELDEST DAUGHTER! And today, Goddamit, I was going to make it. Nothing was going to stop me. Not the Tea Party, not the parchment paper, not the Genoise cake.
NOT EVEN THE FACT THAT WHEN I WAS PRESENTED WITH THIS CAKE NUMEROUS TIMES AS A CHILD IN MALAYSIA, I COULDN’T SEE WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT.
Here is a photo of the scrap of recipe.
I do believe that I might be mid-cycle.
Anyway, so the process involved some convoluted method of creaming an outrageous amount of butter (funny how Malaysians are not known for having cholesterol problems) with sugar. You then have to take EIGHTEEN egg yolks and beat that with some more sugar. Throw in some token amount of flour and then somehow gently fold in whisked-t0-stiff-peaks 8 egg whites. Don’t worry, the whole process is so baffling that you won’t even have the brain space to start figuring out what you are going to do with the 10 egg whites you have going spare (Mine will be made into macarons. Have I made macarons before, you might ask? Have I fuck!). Some dividing of the mixtures into two bowls (which would be easy if you hadn’t spent your Saturday breaking all but one of your mixing bowls) and then chucking in some spices into one bowl and vanilla extract into another.
Then the theory is, you then pour (ha ha ha, I am laughing already) enough of one mixture into a loose bottomed square tin to a height of 3mm. Uh huh. You then put that under a grill and grill it for about say, 3 minutes, or maybe 5 minutes, hell, it varies! Even the recipe doesn’t tell you for how long. Then once the top of it is cooked, you then pour the same amount of the other mixture (which is a different colour) into the tin and repeat the process. Uh huh.
Now boys, and girls, pay attention. It says here in this scrap of recipe I have. A good Lapis Legit will consist of 12-14 layers or more. I was 36 when I started this cake………….
So, then, it sort of got easy and I got complacent. At layer no. 7, I fucked up. I took the tin out from under the grill too soon and when I pour (or more like teased) the next lot of mixture on, it broke the surface of the previous layer and started merging together. I would have liked to put the blame on one of my children for distracting me (Hell, I have enough of them) but alas, it was all due to my complacence.
So, I decided to just carry on, since the only thing that would be affected would be how it looks and not the flavour. About 10 layers later, or maybe 12, I then popped it in the oven for 10 minutes. Helped myself to the Port I use for my game pie (that I actually CAN cook!) and pretend that I can put it down as experience.
I might post a picture of it too. Aren’t you all lucky?
P.S. Have fed family the cake. They are still alive and said it tasted yummy.
P.P.S. I am actually quite good at this baking malarkey.
LAPIS LEGIT by Sri Owen
RECIPE (MAKES 1 x 8-9 INCH CAKE)
- 2lb (450g) unsalted butter
- 1tsp of vanilla extract
- 8oz (225g) caster sugar
- 16-19 egg yolks (size 2)
- 3tbs top of milk (I used cream)
- 5oz (150g) plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- 8 egg whites
- 2tsp ground nutmeg
- 4tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp ground cloves
Beat the butter and half the sugar until creamy. Beat the yolks with the other half of the sugar in another bowl until creamy and thick. Once you have done this, combine the two mixtures together and add the milk. Add sifted flour and salt into the bowl and carefully fold into the mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in.
In one bowl, place half of the mixture, to which you add the vanilla extract. In another bowl, the spices should be added to the other half of the mixture. You will end up with one cream coloured mix, and another brown colour.
Butter a square tin with a loose bottom. Heat the grill to its maximum temperature. If your grill is in the oven, then heat the oven to 150c. Turn it off prior to putting the grill on.
Pour cream mixture to about 1/8 inch (3mm) over the bottom. Grill this for a few minutes (I did it for about 180 seconds – anal, moi? Surely not). What you are aiming for is for the mixture to set firm. Once set, take it out, pour on the same thickness of the spiced mixture. You repeat this process til you run out of mixtures and remember girls and boys, a good Lapis Legit will consist of 12-14 layers or more. Clear? Good.
Final step, put the tin into the oven at 150c for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from tin and cool on a wire rack. Cake will keep fresh in a cake tin or in the fridge for a week, wrapped well in foil. You can also freeze it quite effectively.
So, here is a picture of my youngest daughter eating said cake. She is still alive, lucid and being her general pesky self. Damn.