Prune Layer Cake (Muhibbah Malaysian Monday)

or, Kek lapis with prunes. Hahaha

The last weekend has been filled with too much rain. All these year, Chinese New Year has been very very hot and bright, this year, it looks like it’s gonna be a damp and wet CNY. Let’s hope there’s no flood, and for those driving back hometown to celebrate this festive season, please PLEASE drive carefully 🙂

Can someone tell me, if layer cakes are originally from Indonesia or Sarawak ? I have 2 perceptions of them. See, I haven’t made kek lapis my whole life before. Really. And I’m always amazed by people who makes them cause I have been told it’s a grueling process and may take a few hours! Making an entremet could take a few hours, a fondant cake could take more than that. I don’t know why I haven’t made kek lapis yet!

So, back to the perception. Many many many years ago, my mum brought back kek lapis, from Indonesia. From that moment onwards I was hooked. Like it’s this crazy rich, aromatic and eggy cake that if you savour a few more pieces, your arteries will burst; kidding. It’s expensive, and had alot alot alot of layers! There after, I hadn’t had much kek lapis cause I don’t know where to find the Indonesian ones.

The other type of kek lapis, the one that I’m more afraid of, had tons of colours. Some had diagonal and vertical layers in between horizontal layers. Hahaha go figure. There are usually colours to make it more “interesting”, and because of that. I’ve never tasted a Sarawakian kek lapis before. The colours intimidate me. HEAPS!

Or, have I been wrong all these years. Hahaha

I found the recipe thru Wendy’s site and made a little modifications to it. Kek lapis are known for being rich in EGG YOLKS, in the recipe, it’s either 10 whole eggs or 30 egg yolks. I can’t decided which to make, so I came up with 1/2 whole eggs and 1/2 egg yolks. That way, I’m not too guilty nor skimping too much on the eggs.

This one, I had just 9 layers and it was a bit too thick (and not so straight haha ) But it’s all good.

Some of the things you may need. Timer and a flat surface to press the layers down. Since my fondant smoother is plastic, I wrapped it with parchment paper so nothing melts in between lol. And my digital timer slash thermometer device. LOVE it. (comes with both Celsius and Fahrenheit, wheee)

My 20 years old (ok not mine, my mum’s) oven has only 1 grill function, it has no temperature control over this one. And it’s a super broiler. Wendy’s recipe stated 7 minutes, but I only needed 4-5 minutes for it to be brown. Also, I used the lower rack.

Prune Layer Cake

(makes a 9″ square)

450g butter
120g sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 whole eggs
12 yolks
1 can of 510g condensed milk
240g cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
prunes, snipped half, flattened


1. Preheat oven to 230 C using the normal top and bottom heat to heat up the entire oven. If your oven has grill function with temperature control, use that. If yours’ is like mine, I heat the oven, then before I put the batter in, I turn on the grill function (which only need less than 2 minutes to warm up)

2. Line the bottom of a 9″ square pan. Prepare a water bath and put the empty pan into the oven to warm it up for more even batter distribution later.

3.Cream butter, sugar till light and fluffy. Scrape seeds off vanilla pod and add into butter. DO NOT discard vanilla pod. Put them into your sugar jar or rum. It makes everything smell nicer.

4. Crack eggs, add in vanilla extract. Mix in eggs one at a time, making sure the batter is well mixed before adding the next egg.

5. Mix in condensed milk (this stage, you can have 1 eye closed and forget about the fact that IT IS a whole can of condensed milk lol)

6. Sift flour and salt. Fold into the batter.

7. You can use a scoop / ladle to pour the batter in, making sure each time, it’s the same amount. Or separate them into 10 bowls. I used the 1st method, and ended up with 9 layers. But you can adjust it up to your liking or the size of the ladle.

8. Remove pan and water bath from oven. Turn on grill function. I transfered the water into a smaller cake tin and left it in the oven, this way my oven stays at a nice temperature without being too dry or hot.

9. Spread a portion of batter into the pan. Level batter with a spatula or tilt left and right to level the batter. Grill for 5-7 minutes or till golden.

10. Remove from oven, press cake layer to remove excess air. Spread another portion of batter, level it and arrange prunes onto the batter. Grill for 5-7 minutes or till golden.

11. Repeat step 9 and 10 till batter is finished. After that, I turned off the grill function, turn down the temperature to 180, and let the cake bake for 10-15 minutes to let it dry a little.

Not too bad for a kek lapis first timer lol. Though lines aren’t straight and the layers are abit too thick. Myth revealed, it actually wasn’t as long as I thought it would take. I took about 1 hour for the whole baking process.

These cakes can be kept for a pretty long time. I left it out in room temperature for 1 week it’s ok. If it can last 1 week out, it can last 1 month or more in the fridge. Just make sure to wrap it with cling film and keep it in an air tight container. Like butter cakes, kek lapis  are best eaten the next day, or following day. It’s so rich and aromatic with the Tahitian vanilla beans. oh yum.

I made another one, Horlicks and am maybe going to make another one. HAHA I’m sorta addicted to making them. And another recipe to finish off the egg whites. 🙂

*edit* Ok so this is a Sarawak type of Kek Lapis since it doesn’t have any spices like the Indonesians, so I’m submitting this to “Muhibbah Malaysian Monday” hosted by Sharon of Test with Skewer and Suresh of 3 hungry tummies


22 thoughts on “Prune Layer Cake (Muhibbah Malaysian Monday)

  1. eh, last year’s side trimmings still in my fridge, not a mould in sight, Hahaha!
    I tilted the batter layers to level them, they sort of melted before they went into the oven. Maybe that’s why mine looks more even.
    BTW, abt the origin, I think the Indon ones are very traditional with spices and not much patterns and variations. The Sarawak one is a rip off from the Indon version but it comes with lots of flavours, colours and patterns. And the Sarawak ones love putting in milk la, kaya la, horlicks la, all sort of funny weird stuff.

  2. Ai Wei : hehe make lor. hehe

    Wendy : Oh, mine hasn’t melted much before going into the oven, I had to use a spatula to spread it a little so it covers the side. Maybe next time I’m going to let the butter soften more so the batter is thinner.

    Ann: Well, then I think so Sarawak version it is then. hehe 25 yolks :S :S

  3. That’s a brilliant first attempt. I’ve never attempted this kek lapis before because the amount of eggs really scares me 🙂 But I do like eating them, he he he. Can’t remember the last time I had some but it must have been Indonesian because it was very aromatic with spices. Thanks for a great contribution to MM .

  4. I always like kek lapis but it is too time consuming to make. Have to be at the oven for hours. Seeing yours make me wanted to make one too. Wishing you and your family Gong Xi Fatt Cai!!

  5. Omg that looks SO good. Now I want both durian tarts and kek lapis, lol. I’ve never made kek lapis, the thought of all that egg yolks scares me somewhat. But I might just have to when I’m off in a couple of weeks time! Maybe a milo kek lapis… *yum*

  6. I am tempted to make this too as I see it didn’t use so much of egg yolk. Other recipes scares me ha ha.. Wishing you and your family Gong Xi Fa Cai and may the year of Rabbit brings you health, wealth, peace and happiness.

  7. omg! this cake looks so hard to make! kudos for doing it this year!

    have a happy Chinese new year !! best wishes for you and your family to enjoy a prosperous year of happiness, health and wealth! 🙂

  8. This cake looks AMAZING – and I’m sure it tastes awesome too. Don’t feel too bad about all the eggs, prunes are healthy right? 😉 Happy happy New Year!!!

  9. Your prune layer cake is nicely baked. I usually baked classic lapis, maybe I should try to bake prune one next year.
    So far what I noticed that kek lapis between Indonesia & Malaysia, much on the egg yolks. Most of Indonesia lapis can use from 25-40 egg yolks and very little flour, that’s why it is so rich, aromatic and eggy taste like what you described above. While Malaysia/others’ recipes mostly included egg whites.

  10. Hi all, Thank you for your kind comments. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply each and everyone. Been particularly busy (still doing the whole Chinese New Year visiting and all).

  11. I must be so “kesian” – never seen prunes in all the kuih lapis I have eaten so far. And Swee San…you so generous with the prunes. I bet I will have a pleasant visit to the loo the next day if I ever had the chance to enjoy your kuih lapis. Yums!!!

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