Indonesian Spiced Layer Cake (Kue Lapis)

This layer cake is a traditional Indonesian favorite. The combination of rich Dutch butter cakes and savory spices bring you a truly unique flavor. Made up of 8-10 thin layers cooked under the broiler, this cake boasts a lightly caramelized flavor and beautiful presentation. 

Incredibly rich, we suggest you enjoy this cake very slowly, bite by bite, so you can savor every bit of it. In fact, many people believe this cake should only be shared with those you care most strongly about, especially over coffee. 

Want to make it easier? Get the recipe card and pre-measured freshly ground spices in one packet with our Indonesian Spiced Layer Cake Recipe Kit.


Butter-Sugar Mixture:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp. plus some to line parchment paper
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Flour Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Remaining Ingredients:


Preheat broiler to high with the racks set in the center of the oven. Line a 9-inch circle baking pan with parchment paper and butter the top side of the parchment. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, just until blended. Clean the beaters. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form, 4-6 minutes.  Stir in ¼ of the egg whites into the butter-sugar mixture until smooth. The batter will be thick. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining egg whites into the butter-sugar mixture. Then, fold the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Add half of this batter to a separate bowl and fold to combine with nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. You should now have one bowl of spiced batter and one bowl of plain batter.

Using an offset spatula, spread ½ cup of the spiced batter in the prepared pan. The layer will be thin. Broil until fully set, 45 seconds – 1 minute. Remove pan from the oven, brush with some of the melted butter, and then carefully spread ½ cup of the plain batter over the baked layer. Broil until set, about 45 seconds – 1 minute. (Touch the cake gently to ensure it is set and springy.) Repeat this process, alternating batters, broiling, and buttering. As the cake gets higher and closer to the broiler, the layers may take less time to cook. Be sure to use a timer, the layers can burn easily. You will have 8-10 layers in total. Once complete, enter a toothpick into the enter of your cake. If it comes out clean, proceed to cooling your cake and omit the next oven step. 

Remove cake and set oven temperature to 350F. Once pre-heated, bake cake for 10 minutes or until toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the edges and flip the cake out onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar. 


Inspired By:  Samantha Seneviratne, “The New Sugar and Spice

Makes: 16 servings

Prep & Cook: 2 hours

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