Kue Pepe (Lapis Sagu) Recipe – Indonesian Steamed Layered Sago Cake

Indonesian Steamed Layered Sago Cake

Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan ke 65, Indonesia!
Happy 65th Independence Day, Indonesia!
August 17 is the 65th Indonesian independence day. On that day, it’s a ritual for kids to do a parade on the street and participate in traditional games. Ooo boy, how I miss that day.

It becomes my tradition to make a traditional cake of Indonesia with red and white colour once a year to celebrate Indonesian independence day.

Speaking about the cake, this cake has two names. In the west part of Java especially the Betawinese calls it kue pepe and other regions call kue lapis sagu.

I found two different recipes, once was posted at Haramain’s Kitchen and another one was from my cookbook, The Best of Indonesian Desserts. Both recipes use the same measurement, just a different method. I decided to use a simpler method than both methods. Since sago flour is not common to be purchased, I substituted for tapioca flour. Furthermore, I added two ingredients that were stated at Haraiman’s Kitchen; they were lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

My recipe is quite different too as I didn’t apply any artificial red colour. Instead, I used cooked beets.

Anyway, I’d like to share with you all. From August 14 for a month, Food Network Canada would like to share the love with fellow foodies and cooking enthusiasts by giving you and your readers a chance to win a $250 William Sonoma Gift Card or 1 of 4 prize packages from foodnetwork.ca! Check this link www.fortheloveofgoodfood.ca out for the contest.

Kue Pepe – Kue Lapis Sagu
– Indonesian Steamed Layered Sago Cake –

• 250 g tapioca flour (original: sago flour)
• 800 mL coconut milk from 2 coconuts (I used 600 mL coconut milk and 200 mL water)
• 225 g sugar
• 100 g rice flour
• 4 kaffir lime leaves
• 1 pandan leaf
• 1 lemongrass, take the white part
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
• 1 tbsp oil, for brushing
• 60 g cooked beets, for natural red colour
• 2 spice muslin bags

• Preheat a steamer.

• In a small food processor, grind pandan leaf, kaffir lime leaves and lemongarss until smooth. In a spice muslin bag, put those leafy mixture; tied up.

• In a pot, combine coconut milk, spice in a muslin bag, sugar, and salt. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. Set a side and take the spice bag out

• Get ready with the whisk. In a big bowl, place tapioca flour, rice flour and vanilla powder. Gradually add coconut milk mixture to the flours. If you are a right handed as I am. Use your left hand to pour the coconut milk while your right hand, keep stirring with a whisk.

• Divide the batter into two for colouring.

• Grind cooked beets and fill a clean muslin bag with the ground beets. Squeeze the juice over to colouring batter 1 and whisk. Leave another mixture with its colour, white.

• For a tin pan, you need to line the bottom part with banana leaves or plastik wrap before brushing. I didn’t need one, since I used a silicon loaf pan. Brush a loaf pan with oil. I needed 1 tbsp oil for brushing. If you use the tin pan, you will need about 2 tbsp oil.

• Place the pan in a steamer. With a laddle soup, add 2 laddle soups of red batter to the pan. Steam for 5 – 6 minutes. With the same measurement, add white batter on top of red layer. Steam again. Repeat process until all the batter is used up.

• Steam the whole contents for about 20-30 minutes until done. Allow to cool and slice a knife that is wrapped with plastic wrap or use string to slice.

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.