Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: The Making of a Sarawak Layer Cake

Kek Lapis Sarawak – Sarawak Layer Cakes

kek lapis sarawak layer cake medley - copyright house of annie

Want to know what goes into making such beautiful cakes? So did we!

Getting to Know You

Kek Lapis, or Layer Cake, is originally from our neighboring country of Indonesia. It is made of many, millimeter-thin layers of cake, baked one layer at a time to emphasize the layers. The recipe usually calls for butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and other coloring or flavoring ingredients, but no leavening agents. It’s more like a pound cake than the light layer cakes that we have baked in the House of Annie’s own oven.

About 20 years ago, Sarawakians took kek lapis to the next level by incorporating vibrant colors and different flavors than the original Indonesian recipe. They went even further by crafting intricate designs into the middle of the cakes. These beautiful designs are what makes Sarawak Layer Cakes so unique. The cakes are served on special occasions like birthdays, weddings, or cultural celebrations such as Aidilfitri, Christmas, and Chinese New Year.


Simple, Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad

sweet and spicy cucumber salad

I bet that for those of you that grow your own veggies, you’re probably inundated by cucumbers right now if you’re growing them. That and zucchinis—well, if you’re growing zuchs, you should expect to be inundated!

Cucumbers are lovely to eat when they’re fresh. Crisp, juicy, and so cool when the summer is so hot. Living here in Malaysia, cucumbers are used raw in so many dishes (mostly as garnishes but also as a nice contrast to spicy and heaty foods).

While visiting a friend’s aunt recently, we were invited to stay for dinner (have I already mentioned how hospitable everyone is here?). She served us this cucumber salad and Nate just loved it. It was really delicious, a nice combination of sweet, tart and spicy. I, of course, asked for a recipe. It was such a simple recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it out myself.


Cooking with Leafy Midin (Fiddlehead Fern)

Stir-fried Midin with Garlic and Shallots

Stir-fried midin with garlic and shallots

Midin, not to be confused with Paku, is a local fern that, according to my Sarawakian friends, is only found in Sarawak (but that I have not yet verified for sure). When we first got to Kuching, we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner and we had our first taste of Paku. It was delicious! But my friend said, “If you like this, you really have to try Midin, it is much tastier.” She then proceeded to buy us a bunch the next time we saw them.

I took home that bunch and put it in the fridge to cook the next day (ferns are best cooked the day it is bought but if you cannot, it will keep an extra day but it won’t taste as good). Never having cooked with any type of fern, I had asked some questions before leaving my friends the day before. Armed with some idea of how to cook them, I set to work on them the next day.


What to do With a Pandan Plant

We’re renting a house here in Kuching, one with a backyard. On first day after we arrived in Kuching, we went over to see the house. What do we find, but a stand of pandan growing over on one side of the yard!

Pandan Growing in our Yard

pandan growing in our yard

About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

Learn more about us by clicking here: About House of Annie.

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