Inspired by the European spit cakes that the Dutch colonists loved to eat when invading Malaysia in the 70s, Kek Lapis Sarawak (Sarawak) was born in the state of Sarawak (on the side). Northwest of the Sea of Borneo) circa the 70s of the last century.
It is essentially a much more complicated version of the Indonesian Kek Lapis Betawi (Betawi tart) and has been raised by the people of Sarawakia into an art of complexity and color. much more abundant from natural colors.
Each layer is a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and anise with butter, flour, and eggs.
While the outer layer of the cake has a very simple color (brown or beige), when cutting the cake, you will feel like entering the world of kaleidoscope with countless colors arranged very delicately.
It shows that the person who makes these cakes must have a very rich logic and imagination with great dexterity and patience.
To create a Kek Lapis Sarawak (Sarawak Cakes), it takes 4-8 hours, depending on the complexity of the cake and the skill of the baker.
The baking process begins with dough stuffing in deep pans. Each layer of cake will be stuffed in a different pan due to the coloration. On average, each layer of cake takes about 10 minutes for stuffing and baking.
This step is considered the easiest in the baking process. The most difficult is to combine these soft fluffy crusts together. The binder between the crust is jam or sweetened condensed milk.
Due to the complexity, time-consuming to make, and completely handmade, the Kek Lapis Sarawak cake is considered one of the hardest cakes to make even by professional chefs. It is also the most expensive dessert in Malaysia, with prices up to RM 250 per cake.
One of the reasons why the cake is so expensive, besides the effort of making it, is the expensive ingredients of butter (making the cake smooth).
The Sarawak class cakes used to be made only on major holidays such as the Gawai Dayak Season or the Hari Raya Vegetarian Month Ending Ceremony. Today, it is sold all year round for birthdays and weddings. In 2010, the state government of Sarawak considered the Sarawak layer pancakes a “legacy to be protected” and can only be made in this state.