Layers of goodness : Zaveen showing some versions of her Kek Lapis Betawi.
JOHOR BARU: The all-time favourite Kek Lapis Betawi has many “upgraded versions” these days.
In the old days, the layer cake was only available in the spicy variety made up of cinnamon, cardamom, clove and star anise.
But this has evolved over the years. The cake is now available in chocolate, prune, masam-manis (sour and sweet) and even durian and cempedak.
“The older generation still prefers the traditional spicy flavour while youngsters go for a new taste,” said ARF Best Foods Sdn Bhd proprietor Zaveen Lim, 42.
She said kek lapis, which is a must-have in most Malay households during Hari Raya, has now become popular among the Chinese.
Zaveen said the demand for her layer cake was on the rise from Chinese customers, including those from Singapore, for the Lunar New Year as many of them were fond of its uniqueness.
Kek Lapis Betawi (or Batavia which is the old name of Jakarta), baked sparingly with the four spices, used to be served during afternoon tea for the Dutch administrators.
Many prefer to order the cake because baking it is so tedious with 20 to 25 layers per cake.
“It is time consuming to prepare the cake as a thin layer is spread over every layer and it takes about an hour to bake one,” said Zaveen.
She said a layer cake could last about a month if kept properly in an airtight container and refrigerated.