Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. It was developed during colonial times in the Dutch East Indies and may have been based on Dutch cake recipes using local ingredients. The cake may be connected to a type of Dutch biscuit called speculaas and the mixture of spices is similar to kek lapis, with the pepper being replaced with mace and anise.
The name of the cake is derived from the typical bi-coloured layered structure which is reminiscent of bacon (lit. bacon-cake). This layered structured is achieved by using two colours of batter, dark and light, which are poured on top of the cured layer consecutively. This makes the baking of spekkoek a very labour-intensive process. The product is therefore a rather expensive delicacy.
In Indonesia, spekkoek is enjoyed during Chinese New Year, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas celebrations. It is also served or given as gifts in many local festivities, sometimes in a birthday party and wedding. In the Netherlands, the sliced cake is traditionally served as dessert in rijsttafel. The cake has a firm texture, similar to the one of a Baumkuchen in a baking plate but without a chocolate or sugar shell. Baking the cake requires much patience.
Each thin layer is made by pouring a small amount of the batter from a small cup, baked one layer after another in the oven until golden with heat from the top. Cakes baked in gas ovens usually have a better aroma compared to cakes baked in electric oven, but Dutch ovens with charcoal fire on top of the lid produces the best results. In some cases where clove buds or cardamon seeds are difficult to find, bakers use spekkoek powder as a replacement. Milling and mixing the spice before baking produces a cake with an excellent aroma.
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Thousand-Layer Spice Cake: Spekkoek Lapis Legit, www.foodnetwork.com
Spekkoek (Thousand Layer Spice Cake), www.food.com