Surabaya layer cake or in Indonesia we call them Lapis Surabaya..  This is one of Indonesia’s signature cakes. There’s a story behind the name of this cake. “Surabaya” is the name of a city in Indonesia. But the term “Lapis Surabaya” is only known by people outside Surabaya, while people in Surabaya don’t even know that name. It is popular by the name of “Spiku”. So, most of the people in Surabaya won’t even know what Lapis Surabaya cake is.

Whether it’s a birthday or wedding in Jakarta, they always have this cake.  I remember my mum always bought me this cake every year for my birthday. It brings back lots of memories. I always took this cake for granted because almost everyone in Jakarta (where I come from) can make it.  Once I started running Ma’ cake I became curious and fascinated about this cake not as a consumer but as a baker.  Not many places in Sydney sell this cake or should I say not many people know how to make it. There are quite a lot of things that can go wrong when making this cake. If it does go wrong the result is horrible, but when it goes right it is amazing. It took me a few times to get this cake right but once I did, my husband just can’t get enough.  My son loves the yellow layer but for some reason he just won’t eat the chocolate layer.  Anyway the cake tastes like sponge cake, but lighter and smoother… it just melts in your mouth.

There are two versions of this cake.  One that need lots and lots of egg yolk (you’ll see in the minute why I said lots) and the other one is the economic version, which uses less egg yolk.  I’ve tried them both but if you use the first recipe with lots of egg yolk, you can tell the difference – it is smoother, more velvety and has a richer taste, although the second recipe is excellent too. However I prefer the economic version since less egg yolk meaning less calories..  (thinking about my diet…lol)  So it’s your choice which one you prefer…

Yellow Layers (make 2 layers of yellow layers) :

  • 20 egg yolks
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp emulsifier* (Please see note)
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 250 g melted butter

Choclate Layer :

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 1tsp emulsifier* (Please see note)
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • 125 g melted butter

Strawberry jam or raspberry jam or whatever jam that suited to your liking (the indonesian recipe use strawberry jam)

1.Grease and line 3 x 8 inch baking tins

2.Pre heat oven to 175C (fan forced)

3.Prepare the yellow cake mix : Beat together sugar, egg yolks, sifted flour and emulsifier until pale and thick. The cake mix will expand to around three times the original volume.  Put the melted butter in to the cake mix and fold in thoroughly.

4.Pour the mix into the cake tins and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes until springy to the touch.

5.Place cake tin on a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

6.Carefully remove cake from tin and place on rack to cool completely.

7.Prepare the chocolate layer in the same way as the yellow layer except beat the sifted cocoa powder together with the other ingredients.

8.To assemble the cake place one yellow layer on a cake board and spread the top of the cake with thin layer of strawberry jam to stick the layers together.  You can put as much or as little jam you like.

9.Place the chocolate layer on top.  Spread with jam

10.Place yellow layer on top

You can eat the cake as is or you can use any type of buttercream frosting surrounding the cake

Now for the economic version :

Yellow layers : (You need two of this recipe to make 2 yellow layers)

  • 5 egg yolk
  • 3 egg white
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 35 g plain flour
  • 15 g milk powder
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp emulsifier* (Please see note)

Chocolate layer :

  • 5 egg yolk
  • 3 egg white
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 15 g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp chocolate paste
  • 10 g milk powder
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp emulsifier* (Please see note)

1.Grease and line 3 of 8 inch baking tins

2.Pre heat oven to 175C (fan forced)

3.Prepare the yellow cake mix : Beat the egg whites to until stiff peaks form and set aside. Beat together sugar, egg yolks, sifted flour, milk powder and emulsifier until pale and thick. The cake mix will expand to around three times the original volume.  Put the melted butter into the cake mix and fold in thoroughly. Finally fold in the egg whites.

4.Pour the mix into the cake tins and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes until springy to the touch.

5.Place cake tin on a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

6.Carefully remove cake from tin and place on rack to cool completely.

7.Prepare the chocolate layer in the same way as the yellow layer except beat the sifted cocoa powder together with the other ingredients.   Put the melted butter and chocolate paste into the cake mix and fold in thoroughly. Finally fold in the egg whites.

8.To assemble the cake place one yellow layer on a cake board and spread the top of the cake with thin layer of strawberry jam to stick the layers together.  You can put as much or as little jam you like.

9.Place the chocolate layer on top.  Spread with jam

10.Place yellow layer on top

Note : I normally buy the emulsifier from asian grocery store or go to Randwick Oriental supermarket in Randwick, NSW.  I don’t know where to get them in another state. It comes in a little yellow tub and has the letters SP on it.

Enjoy and happy baking… Don’t forget to let me know how you go with this recipe…