Kueh Lapis, sometimes spelt as Kuih Lapis or Kue Lapis, is an iconic dessert that’s buttery, sweet and wonderfully fun to eat — the key is to peel back each of the layers clean without breakage.
Yet, did you know that the multi-layered cake’s roots can be traced all the way back to the baumkuchen? When the Dutch arrived in Indonesia in the 15th century, they brought with them their version of the German ring-shaped layered cake that’s typically crafted with a simple batter of butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour. Many years later, the kueh lapis was born, this time with each batter browning on a rectangular/square pan before a new layer of batter is poured over.
While the baumkuchen still has its fair share of fans, we reckon the kueh lapis something we’d almost always prefer, perhaps because of the slight richer texture and the addition of spices like cinnamon, clove, mace and star anise in the batter that add another dimension to the dessert.
The sinful snack finds itself on our tables most frequently during Chinese New Year, but we say the calories of the best kueh lapis in Singapore are worth having all year round.
Here, where to get the best kueh lapis in Singapore:
(Hero and featured image credit: Kueh Lapis by Mom)
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It might be a little late to order Diana Layer Cakes for Chinese New Year, but you can bet we’ll be ordering more of these well after this intense festive season. The Batam-based bakery churns out incredibly fluffy kueh lapis with a wonderful buttery aroma, and they are (thankfully) not too sweet as well. The bakery ships a limited amount of their freshly-made kueh lapis to Singapore on Saturday every other week. Order the original, prune, or mixed flavour via the Diana Layer Cakes Facebook page below.
Ollella’s box of kueh lapis is the perfect gift for a loved one; after all, who can say no to a mouthwatering cake in such a photogenic box? Our go-to order is the Prune Rum Lapis, an elevated flavour that’s courtesy of the sweet rum that’s been gently misted on each layer. This year, Ollella has also come up with a brand new, limited edition Triple Huat Lapis, a sweet and savoury combination of salted egg yolk, chicken floss, and chicken bak kwa that you won’t want to miss.
Sure, Kedai Kue Kue’s kueh lapis only comes in a simple, crisp white paper box, but you won’t regret giving this treat a go. Inside, the moist, dense cake is surprisingly rich, crowned only by a perfume of aromatics that balances out the buttery taste perfectly. Get the original Lapis Legit if you’re one for tradition, but the Lapis Pandan is one of our favourites too.
The traditional kueh lapis usually finds itself unembellished, so for something a little different we like the pleasant crunch from the almond slivers on one from IndoChili. That, coupled with a generous cinnamon-laden fragrance, is what makes this version one we often go back to time and time again.
Kueh Lapis By Mom is an under-the-radar joint that’s been serving kueh lapis since 1977 to fans around the island with their timeless recipes, each one more addictive than the next. Here, the online shop’s bestseller has to be the spiced Signature Mini Lapis Batavia, while others like Mini Lapis Nutella and the Mini Lapis Biscoff see a delicious, modern spin on treat that’s great for guests of all ages.
While the Pandan Chiffon Cake at Bengawan Solo is one the establishment’s most popular items for both locals and tourists alike, you shouldn’t be sleeping on their Kueh Lapis either. Freshly baked with a comforting aroma from its blend of spices, the version here at Bengawan Solo is pillowy soft and addictive. This is one of the best options on the list if you’re looking for a last minute gift when visiting relatives, since they have a whopping 38 retail outlets across the island.
Now, we love our value-added calories from scoffing down kueh lapis just as much as the next person, but if you’re on a diet and you want to cheat a little without feeling too much guilt, then head straight to The Lapis Place. The kueh lapis here uses less butter and sugar in its batter, perfect for those who are counting their calories. Want to really lean into the holiday spirit? Get the Mandarin Orange Kueh Lapis for citrusy touch.