The Day My Dreams Died, or the Day I tried Spekkoek/Lapis Legit in Indonesia

While in Indonesia, I made it a point to search out one of my favorite cakes in the world: Spekkoek or Lapis Legit. Seeing as I am not even a cake person, this is a big deal. Spekkoek, as it is generally called in the Netherlands, or Lapis Legit, as I found it to be called in Indonesian, is truly a special dessert. Imagine a butter-rich cake laden perfumed with pungent Indonesian spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and more. On top of that, the cake is aesthetically beautiful because it consists of incredibly thin layers: tons of them.


The first time I had it was in Amsterdam. I wolfed that puppy down like there was no tomorrow. The cake was fragrant, dense and such a treat to eat along the grey canals. The next time I had it I made it myself. That’s definitely a recipe that I should share with you all sometime soon because it is off the chain folks. The only difference between my cake and the original is the layers. I don’t layer. I started to layer and I realized I just don’t have the time for that. (More like the patience, but whatever…) I marbled and the cake came out just as great as that first piece in A-dam.

Then, I found a piece in Jakarta at the Holland Bakery. Not an artisanal bakery by any means, but it is a pretty well-established chain there. Anyway, I tuck it safely into the pockets of my Thai harem pants until we get back to the hotel. Once there, I dig in. Instead of tasting delicious spices, I get the sensation of something margarine-y. Greasy, fake, weird Indonesian trans fats. Literally, there was no taste of spice whatsoever!

And so, that day, my dream of tasting the best lapis legit died. Thankfully I know that my lapis kicks butt and can make one whenever I want. Minus the layers, of course!


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