A delicious, rich, spiced cake that is beautiful as well.
by Ena Scheerstra
Spekkoek (also called spekuk, spiku or lapis legit) is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake, consisting of cream coloured plain/vanilla layers and brown spiced layers. You can also find spekkoek in which the cream coloured layer is flavoured, for example with pandan, coffee, rum, or chocolate. The origin is not completely known, it may have been based on Dutch recipes made with Indonesian products, but could also be inspired on another European layer cake, Baumkuchen. It is a very rich and dense cake, containing lots of eggs, butter and sugar. That is why this cake is usually served in small slices, in the Netherlands often as a dessert (with coffee) after a rijsttafel. Sometimes slices of spekkoek are served with whipped cream.
Making spekkoek is quite labour intensive and costs time, which also makes it costly. A good spekkoek consists of at least 18 layers and the cake is build layer for layer, baking each one in the oven before another layer of batter is spread on top. This is a job in which patience is very important, if you hurry the layers will blend together, ruining the typical spekkoek look. Spekkoek literally means bacon cake, this is because the stripes of the cake resemble bacon.
Of course it is easy to buy a spekkoek, but I love to be able to prepare classics like this myself. Unfortunately, I have to gather some more patience before I bake another spekkoek…. mine had the looks of a zebra cake, but it was still very delicous!
For more information on the Dutch East Indies and the relation between the Netherlands and Indonesia, check my post about nasi goreng.
- 650 g butter, room temperature
- 18 egg yolks
- 9 egg whites
- 600 g sugar
- 2 bags of vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 300 g flour
- 6 tsp cardamom powder
- 5 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp mace powder
- 2 tsp nutmeg powder
- butter and flour for the form
- butter for brushing
- Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- Whisk the egg yolks and whites together with the sugar and vanilla sugar.
- Add the flour, fold through gently.
- Add the creamed butter, mix.
- Divide the batter over two bowls. Add the spices to one, mix.
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Prepare a spring form with butter and flour.
- Spoon ½ cup of the unspiced batter into the form and let it spread.
- Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Spoon ½ cup of the spiced batter on top of the first layer and let it spread.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Place after every 4 layers a piece of baking paper on top and use the round side of a spoon to rub the cake firmly. Remove the baking paper and brush the cake with a little butter.
- Repeat this until both the batters are finished.
- Leave to cool in the form. Spekkoek can be stored at least a week when wrapped securely. To serve, cut thin slices and serve with coffee, or with some whipped cream as a dessert.
Ena Scheerstra has a lifelong love for food and cooking, starting to collect cookbooks at age 10. She spends most of her free time on cooking and everything food related. She is a strong believer of honest food, produced sustainable and sourced locally, and cultures her own vegetables on her balcony and in her small allotment. Her blog is very internationally orientated, reflecting the variety of food she cooks, but on Honest Cooking she is focusing on showing the world the wonders of Dutch food.