Kuih Lapis: Steamed Layer Cake

Venture into the colorful world of Malaysian desserts with Kuih Lapis, a visually striking and utterly delicious steamed layer cake. This traditional delicacy, with its vibrant layers and soft, sticky texture, is a feast for both the eyes and the palate. Made from rice flour, tapioca starch, and coconut milk, and flavored with pandan and sugar, Kuih Lapis is a staple in festive celebrations and afternoon tea sessions. The art of making Kuih Lapis lies in its meticulous layering process, which requires patience and precision, but the end result is absolutely worth it.

Kuih Lapis: Steamed Layer Cake


  • 200 grams of rice flour
  • 100 grams of tapioca starch
  • 400 ml of coconut milk
  • 300 grams of sugar
  • Pandan juice, for color and flavor
  • A pinch of salt
  • Food coloring (optional)

Cooking Steps

  • In a bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the coconut milk gradually, stirring to form a smooth batter.
  • Divide the batter into two. Add pandan juice to one half for a natural green color and flavor. If you want a more vibrant color, you can add food coloring to the other half.
  • Prepare a steamer and heat it over high heat.
  • Pour a thin layer of one colored batter into a greased cake pan. Steam it for about 5 minutes or until it sets.
  • Once the first layer is set, pour a layer of the other colored batter on top and steam until set.
  • Repeat this process, alternating the colors, until all the batter is used.
  • For the final layer, steam for about 15-20 minutes to ensure it is fully cooked.
  • Once done, let the Kuih Lapis cool completely before cutting into pieces.

In conclusion, Kuih Lapis is not just a delightful dessert but also a testament to the vibrant culture and tradition of Malaysia. The ingredients used in Kuih Lapis, such as rice flour and coconut milk, are gluten-free and dairy-free, making it a suitable treat for those with dietary restrictions. When selecting ingredients, always opt for fresh coconut milk for the best flavor and texture. The quality of your pandan juice also plays a crucial role in the taste and color of your Kuih Lapis, so choose fresh pandan leaves when possible. Enjoy the process of making this layered delicacy and savor every bite of this Malaysian gem.

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