Saturday, June 9, 2012

Making Traditional Kue Lapis

I experienced pregnancy breathlessness yesterday morning and must say that it gave me quite discomforts. While I tried to relax myself by doing nothing, the shortness of breath was still there. In the end, I decided to keep myself busy in the kitchen by testing some recipes instead of just sitting in front of my laptop or lying still in my bed for hours.

I made Pandan Chiffon Cake and a traditional Indonesian steamed layer cake (Kue Lapis) commonly sold in local wet markets. Although I was a bit tired after baking the chiffon cake, since I had the mood, I continued making this Kue Lapis in the afternoon. I thought of doing whatever things that I enjoy while I am still pregnant and because I still can. It is not that I won't be able to do all my hobbies again after I have a baby later on, it's just that things are a little less complicated now with my time management.

Anyway, here is the recipe of the Kue Lapis that I made yesterday. I used the recipe from an old cook book I bought in Indonesia many years ago. This book is intended for beginners in the kitchen and the recipe for this Kue Lapis doesn't use rice flour but uses mungbean flour (tepung hunkwe) instead.

First trial of making Indonesian Traditional Kue Lapis.

Kue Lapis Tradisional


  • 900ml Thick coconut milk from fresh grated coconuts
  • 3-4 Pandan leaves
  • 220gr Sugar
  • 150gr (Cassava) Starch
  • 50gr Flour
  • 50gr Mungbean Flour (tepung hunkwe)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Red and green food colorings


1. Bring to boil the coconut milk, pandan leaves, vanilla extract and sugar. Let the liquid cool for a while until it is not too hot too handle. Then, run it in a strainer. Set aside.

Boil the coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and vanilla extract.

2. In a separate large bowl, combine starch, flour, mungbean flour and salt.

3. Gradually pour the warm strained coconut milk to the flour mixture. Mix well by using rubber spatula.

4. Divide the mixture to 3 parts. Give green and red colorings to two parts of it and leave the last part white as it is.

Divide the mixture into 3 different colours of choice.

5. Put 2-4 serving spoon/ladle of the white mixture into a loaf pan already greased with vegetable oil and covered with plastic. Steam the first layer in a preheated steamer for 10 minutes. Use big fire to steam this Kue Lapis.

Pour the white mixture into a pan greased with oil 
and covered with plastic for easy release.

6. Pour another 2-4 serving spoon/ladle of the red mixture on top of the white mixture. Make sure the measurement of the mixture for each layer is the same. Steam for 5 minutes. 

Steam each layer of the Kue Lapis for 5 minutes.

7. Pour another 2-4 serving spoon/ladle of the green mixture on top of the red mixture. Steam for 5 minutes. Repeat these last three steps alternately until the all mixture is finished. 

8. Once the last layer is poured to the pan, steam the whole Kue Lapis for 25 minutes before turning the stove off.

9. Release, cut and serve the Kue Lapis once it is completely cold. To achieve nice and smooth Kue Lapis slices, cut the Kue Lapis by using a knife covered with plastic and greased with a little bit vegetable oil.

Cut and serve Kue Lapis when it's cool.

In my opinion, making this traditional Indonesian Kue Lapis is not difficult but the whole processes really test one's patience and endurance as we need to create the layers one by one and steam each layer for 5 minutes before adding another layer. There were times when I wanted to quit making it halfway but luckily I managed to pull through. I am happy that I finally tried making Kue Lapis by myself and pretty glad with the result too. Surprisingly, the kids in my house also love eating this Kue Lapis.

In the future, I think I might just want to buy this kind of Kue Lapis from outside as making it at home indeed takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, if you are determined to try making it yourself or crave it terribly (and you are not in Indonesia), give this recipe a try.


  1. I've never had or even heard of kue lapis but, it sounds very interesting! I love coconut milk so, I'm sure I would enjoy it! Great recipe!

  2. Respect you for the patience and spending time in making the layers. My mum used to make for us when we were younger but I don't have the patience neither like to spent time in making desserts. You brought back memories of eating this cake but ours are just the white and red layers only.

    Have a good rest but than again I think you are right that cooking by itself can be a soothing therapy. I too do the same, when I am stressed out, I get into my kitchen and start cooking.

  3. Looks delicious and I hope your morning sickness goes away.

  4. My aunt use to make these for family gatherings. She normally does 2 colors, green and yellow (mung beans). I always wanted to give it a try myself. Since you said it takes some time and patience (which I don’t have much of) it might be difficult for me. ..

    Good job on yours; it looks very pretty and I bet it tasted a lot better since you made it yourself. Hope you’re feeling much better now and enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can!

  5. Thanks all! @Nava and @Lilly - Yes, this Kue Lapis reminds me of childhood memory that's why I was tempted to make one!


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