malted (horlicks) layer cake

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this is a chinese pastry – by which i mean I do not know of anything like this in the western baking world. asian pastries have different textures and flavours, and very often like this one, a special technique.

this is most eaten in singapore during chinese new year and also colloquially known as ‘kueh lapis’, which is also a name interchangeable with a rainbow-coloured jellyish cake.

this cake traditionally uses upwards of 30 egg yolks – yes, yolks only – per full recipe, which usually gives a surplus of an incredible amount of yolks. I didn’t want to have to deal with this problem as I am moving our soon, and so used a recipe that used 10 whole eggs. you notice also the different layers within the cake: this is made by pouring thin layers of batter onto the pan consecutively on top of each other, almost like making pancakes on top of each other, and darkening the top enough so the layers are indistinguishable. of course, if you bake this batter in a pan it will probably render you a whole cake, but I’ve never tried that.

also the point of this cake is the fact that the dense layers are meshed together tightly but can also be separated as you’re eating (and who doesn’t love playing with food that way?). I only managed 9 layers on this first try, but really experienced cooks can double or triple this amount. the key is to use a standard measuring scoop that gives you even layers.

the recipe was taken from here, and I used the recipe without change but I am going to include some notes here for you:

  1. take your time – there is no rush involved even though at first I thought there would be. each layer cooks like a pancake and makes no real difference to the ones below since you’re only going to be using the grill function
  2. there is no need to dry it out in the oven further, which I tried. it made it a bit dryer than I would have expected, but that could also be the fault of the recipe since I have not baked a cake like this at home before
  3. the cake might look a bit burnt on top but as long as it’s a superficial layer as mine were, it does not translate to a burnt taste
  4. the cake is dense, and slices very nicely as it is kept. the recipe does make it a bit too sweet, so I might reduce the sugar by even 20 or 40 grams. it is also a very dense cake with a texture that is almost unique to asian sweets so do not expect a fluffy cake, maybe more like a heavy cream cheese pound cake if you need a reference.

for all of you who do not know what horlicks is, it’s a malted milk drink mix very popular in asia and australia. go try it out! your local supermarket should carry it.

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