New Business Ideas No. 11: Kek lapis (Layered Cake)

One of the most splendid cakes known for its richness and smooth texture in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore is the cake lapis or layered cake. It’s one of the specialties of festive seasons, and one of the foods that has some of the most creative interpretations. In Sarawak, on the island of Borneo kek lapis production is becoming a major industry, where tourists leave Sarawak with their bags full of them for their friends.

lovers of cakes and baked sweets will always have a special spot in their hearts for kek lapis, and this is what makes this product a very viable entrepreneurial opportunity. A business you can start from home, or a special cake you can serve in your coffee shop where you can be rest assured not too many other competitors will be serving.  

Making kek lapis is a little more time consuming than ordinary cakes, but the results are worth it. A simple recipe would require the following;

  • 455 g butter

  • 115 g flour

  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (ground cinnamon, cloves, anise and cardamon)

  • 17 egg yolks

  • 5 egg whites

  • 255 g caster sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

The cooking procedure is as follows;

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of square cake pan.

  2. Preheat the top grill of the oven to 180°C.

  3. Sift flour with mixed spice and set aside.

  4. Beat butter and vanilla essence until creamy.

  5. Cream egg yolks and sugar well until thick and tripled in volume.

  6. In a different bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.

  7. Mix the creamed egg yolk mixture with the creamed butter and slowly fold in the spiced flour, alternating with the beaten egg whites. Carefully fold and mix well.

  8. Take one ladleful of cake mixture and pour into cake pan. Spread mixture evenly to make about 0.5cm layer and bake under the grill for 5 minutes or until light brown. Remove pan from oven and using a skewer, prick top of cake to prevent air bubbles from forming.

  9. Ladle another layer of cake mixture onto the baked cake and repeat this process until all the cake mixture is used up.


Kek lapis has the potential for creative imagination to produce varieties that are both visually and culinarily appealing. The cake is totally up to your imagination and this is the best way to keep ahead of your competition and maintain this cake as a true specialty.

Kek lapis is rich and should be eaten sparingly just like a connoisseur tastes wine and cheese. Kek lapis deserves to be one of the finest cakes in the world and proudly stands beside blackforest and cheesecake as a treat. 

There are many business models you could use in the development of a kek lapis business. You could just do it as a hobby and rely on some ad hoc sales among your friends. Alternately, being more serious you might actively go out and sample coffee and cake shops in your area and collect regular orders. Or you might already have a coffee shop and kek lapis would certainly make your shop as something special. Try serving kek lapis with whipped cream and fine ice cream.

The world is ready for kek lapis. From the African continent, to Europe, Japan, the US, and Australia, this treat of the East will be appreciated. Even in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore where kek lapis already exists, there is still plenty of room for new creations.

Kek lapis production is a business you can start right away with the minimum amount of capital and maximum amount of culinary creativity.

Good luck.

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