Thursday, March 13, 2014
coffee kueh lapis cake.
Lately I've taken to daydreaming. In school. About cake. I love how math lessons unleash my creativity by being so boring I just drift so far away from reality. It was in yet another math class that I got inspiration for this cake.
I get a lot of ideas for cakes from leftover edibles in my fridge, be it a handful of M&Ms, a few squares of white chocolate or the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter. This time, I had kueh lapis to desperately use up, since it has been over a month since I got it for Chinese New Year. I have absolutely no idea how I arrived at this final creation - coffee cake layers alternating with slices of kueh lapis, glued together with condensed milk and frosted with a salted condensed milk buttercream, but I'm really glad I thought of this.
The best part hands down was the buttercream. The amount of condensed milk seems small and insignificant but it actually shows up quite a bit in flavour. And the salt makes a world of difference. Creamy, milky, buttery, sweet and salty. This is a winning buttercream for sure. My only regret is not making more to fill the layers instead of relying on condensed milk.
The cake has a strong fragrance of coffee but it's still a bit sweet in my opinion. To me, anything coffee has to be slightly bitter. The recipe below reflects the measurements of sugar in the original recipe but I've added in my proposed adjustments in parentheses.
There's something about the spiciness of the kueh lapis (like cinnamon-spice not fiery-spice) and the coffee that gelled together perfectly with the milky buttercream. I guess my math lesson that day was a very productive one.
Coffee Kueh Lapis Cake
cake portion adapted from here
For the coffee cake:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup boiling water + 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp milk
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar (I recommend 3 tbsp)
1/4 cup brown sugar (I recommend 3 tbsp)
1 large egg
For the salted condensed milk buttercream:
1 stick butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt
kueh lapis, cut to fit
Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two mini (2-cup capacity) loaf pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
Combine the water and instant espresso and stir until the powder has dissolved. Let it cool for a while before stirring in the milk.
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add in the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and milk mixture (in 2 additions) alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for about 15 minutes or until and inserted skewer comes out mostly clean, with only a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely before assembling.
Make the buttercream: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Use immediately.
For assembly: Trim the tops of the cooled cakes such that they are level. Split the cakes into half lengthwise. You should get four layers but due to my clumsiness, I only got three.
Take one layer, drizzle some condensed milk on top and use a knife to spread it evenly and thinly across the entire surface area. Layer the slices of kueh lapis on top, packing them as close together as possible. Drizzle more condensed milk on top and spread it out evenly again. Repeat until all the cake layers have been used up.
Frost the outsides of the cake with the buttercream. You can decorate the top of the cake with scrap pieces of cake. Chill cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours for the buttercream to firm up. I recommend that you let the cake sit longer than this duration though, to let the condensed milk moisten the layers of cake and allow the flavours to develop. A day ahead would be great.