The Story of Kek Lapis

On Wednesday, my husband and I had our second buffet ramadhan of our lifetime. I will blog much much more about that later, but for now, I want to talk about something else.

We went to Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya for the buffet because it has serawa durian. No buffet with serawa durian can be wrong.

But I got much more than serawa durian. The buffet had kek lapis.

No, it isn’t one of those kek lapis sarawak. It is *the* kek lapis. And I’m not the typical kek lapis fan either. Kek lapis and I have a long special history together.

This. Inside the plastic is my mom’s recipe book. The older version of this had brown hard covers, but over the years of going in and out and splattered with flours and butters, it looked like it would get destroyed any day. So my mom took the time to rewrite back her favorite recipes into this new book.

Of the pages of recipes, there are two most did recipe. The chocolate supermoist cake. And the Kek Lapis Berempah.

When we were kids, mom used to make these two to sell for raya season. Baked cakes would be wrapped in the yellow oil paper and stow away inside the cupboard. We were not allowed to eat this as much as we wantwithout permission, these two are strictly off-limits. Instead, we would wait patiently until guests went home after their raya visits and see if there are any leftovers.

I quite understand why, though, is kek lapis so precious: the long hours and patience it takes to bake one is unimaginable. As a kid, I had helped mom baked a lot of them. The cake is baked layer by layer and there must be at least twenty layers in a decent one. Mom, particularly, would flatten out every layer just so the layers would come out decently thin. She is a perfectionist when it comes to the food she makes. She would put the two baking ovens on the floor because it was easier to access; one layer takes only a some minutes to bake, you don’t want to have to stand and sit again and again. Miss the minute and you will burn a layer. Once I fell asleep next to the oven while baking and had a burn (I can’t remember was it my hand or my leg). Back then I did not know how much that cake was worth. Until one day, I saw a tiny cut selling at shop for RM5. I must have jaw-dropped at the sight of it.

Now, most of my sisters can do a chocolate supermoist. It is basically a fullproof recipe, we can do it on our own even when we were younger. But the kek lapis, it has been a while since one was made. My mom is 62 this year, she might not have the strength to stay attend to the oven for 4 hours anymore.

Which is why the kek lapis at the buffet ramadhan had those nostalgic effect on me.

Yesterday as I lounge over at mom’s while she was frying sukun, I made up my mind. I’m going to make kek lapis this year and continue my mom’s tradition. There are so many things that my mom is good at; cooking, sewing, crafts; and yet I hardly inherit one of those talents. And if there is one thing I could do, this must be it. For I must be the one who had helped my mom most on kek lapis. I should be able to do this.

What you can do as a friend is: help pray I don’t burn any layer.

P/S: I *know* my husband is going to be all just-buy-it-why-trouble-yourself. Not that he is not supportive, he just doesn’t like me going through difficulties.

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