Kuih Lapis

March 14, 2011
Kuih Lapis also known as kue lapis or Gao teng Kueh (九层糕) is a traditional Asian dessert, popular amongst Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans.

 Kue lapis


What is Kuih Lapis?

Kuih Lapis means "layered cake".

Kuih Lapis is also known as kue lapis (Indonesian) or Gao Teng Kueh (in chinese character  九层糕),  is a popular dessert or afternoon sweet treat for Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans.

Kuih Lapis is made of rice flour, although some do mix with tapioca flour to get that chewiness texture and some add plain flour to the batter.
Other ingredients are sugar, coconut milk and food colouring.

 Kuah lapis

How to make Kuih Lapis?

Kuih lapis is simple an easy to make.

Basic ingredients are rice flour, coconut milk and sugar.

But the most important ingredient is PATIENCE!!!

Why do I need to be patience in making kuih lapis?

Kuih lapis supposedly to have 9 distinct layers, alternate red and white.

Each layer of red or white layer that you see in this kuih lapis, consists of another 2 layers.
Meaning, I steamed 1/2 cup of red kuih lapis batter for 5 minutes then I add another of the same colour before I proceed to white kuih lapis batter.

Mathematically, I have 18 layers that makes cooking time 90 minutes plus extra 15 minutes at the end.

How to Steam Kuih Lapis?

1. Prepare sugar syrup and set aside to completely cool
 sugar syrup for kue lapis

2. Grease heatproof container. I used 8inch diameter round tray
 vessel used to steam kue lapis

3. Mix rice flour and coconut milk
 kuih lapis batter

4. Strain sugar syrup into rice flour mixture
 Add coconut milk to kuih lapis batter

5. Divide the mixture into TWO: one white and the other add food colouring. 
I used red food colouring.
 Add red food colouring to kuih lapis batter

6. Steam alternating between red and white.
Read the instruction in the Kuih Lapis recipe card below.
 steaming kuih lapis

7. Set kuih lapis aside to completely cool before slicing and serving
 Resipikuih Lapis

Video on "How To Make Kuih Lapis"

Other Steamed Malaysian Kuih (Dessert)

Kuih Talam
Apam Beras
Kuih Lompang
Kuih Seri Muka

Kue Lapis

Kue Lapis
Yield: 10
Author: Lisa Ho
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 1 H & 45 MTotal time: 2 H & 4 M
Traditional Asian dessert popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Made of rice flour, water, sugar, coconut milk, pandan leaves and red food colouring. Kuih lapis is made by steaming layer by layer with alternating colours.


Sugar Syrup | Sirap Gula
  • 350 g sugar | gula
  • 700 ml water |air
  • 2 knotted pandan leaves | daun pandan di ikat
Kuih Lapis Batter | Adunan Kuih Lapis
  • 350g rice flour | tepung beras
  • 300ml water | air
  • 400ml coconut milk | santan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  | garam


In English
  1. Cook sugar syrup by mixing sugar and water with knotted pandan leaves in a pot.
  2. Once sugar dissolves, set aside to completely cool.
  3. Start the steamer going.
  4. Grease an 8 inch heatproof container.
  5. Mix rice flour with coconut milk, water, stir and ensure no lumps.
  6. Add syrup and stir.
  7. Divide equally to 2 portion : add red food colouring to one.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup of RED mix into the pre-heated tray.
  9. Steam for 5 minutes.
  10. Pour another 1/2 cup of red mix and steam for 5 minutes.
  11. Repeat 2 steps above but using WHITE mix.
  12. Alternate until you fill up the tray and end up with 2 layers of REd mix.
  13. Final steam for 15 minutes.
  14. Leave KUIH LAPIS for at least 3 to 4 hours to completely cool before slicing and serving.
in Bahasa
  1. Masakkan sirap gula. Ketepikan sehingga sejuk.
  2. Panaskan periuk kukus serta loyang.
  3. Campurkan tepung beras, air dan santan.
  4. Kacau hingga sebati.
  5. Masukkan sirap yang telah sejuk tadi.
  6. Bahagikan kepada 2 bahagian, masukkan perwarna merah kepada satu bahagian.
  7. Gunakan sukatan 1/2 cawan.
  8. Mulakan dengan warna merah, kukus selama 5 minit.
  9. Di ikuti warna merah lagi sekali dan kukus selama 5 minit.
  10. Kemudian tuangkan bahagian yang berwarna putih, juga 2 lapisan selama 5 minit setiap lapisan.
  11. Ulang langkah di atas sehingga penuh loyang.
  12. Akhiri dengan lapisan warna merah.
  13. Kukus kali terakhir selama 15 minit.
  14. Sejukkan selama 3 atau 4 jam
  15. Kemudian barulah potong kuih Lapis anda.


1.Ayam coconut milk in a can, seems to be oilier than its powdered form



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Created using The Recipes Generator

 Kuih Lapis also known as kue lapis or Gao teng Kueh, a 9 layer kueh recipe (九层糕) is a traditional Asian dessert. Kuih Lapis is very popular among Malaysians, Indonesians, and Singaporeans.  Kuih Lapis is made of rice flour,  water, sugar, coconut milk, pandan leaves and red food colouring.  Kuih lapis is made by steaming layer by layer with alternating colours.

What I wrote on 14th March 2011.

I am not sure the origins of this beautifully layered dessert or afternoon snack...
its either Nyonya or Malay.
All I know is that my mom used to make this...  or sometimes she would buy from a Vendor, named Ali, who cycled to our village and nearby villages  with his huge stainless steel version of tiffin ... about the 0.5 meter in diameter, strap to the back of his bicycle...
He would 'hoot' as he passed by our street... mothers and children would gather around and we would chose our favourite kuih. Ali would have varieties of kuih in his big tiffin.... from sweet to savouries... one of many would be this beautiful layered kuih made from rice flour... I love to have this... either for breakfast or for my afternoon delight...  

This is really an easy kuih to make... all that is required is a steamer,  and steam for 3 minutes between each layers. The layers will not come off clean if  'oversteaming'... That is how I gauge whether the kuih (as I would call it...)  is oversteam or otherwise ... I would savour the kuih by peeling one layer at a time ... I hate to bite into that beautiful layers and leave my ugly teethmark.... so NOT ladylike.... hehehe 


  1. hehe...Lisa, kuih ni memang hanya boleh dimakan selapis demi selapis. kalau ngap terus, oh....tak bestnya!
    I too suka kuih ni, esp. dah tua2 ni...kuih2 macam ni nikmatnya!

  2. It's so pretty. Must be delicious too with the coconut milk. I tried to make mochi with rice flour and failed miserably. Maybe I'll have more luck with this recipe :-). Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is my fav kuih! I eat the same way ... peeling each layer off. Even my 7yr son eats the same way.

    I'm so glad we found a shop (in Toronto) that sells these (weekends only).

    Can't wait to give your recipe a try.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ni memang kuih favourite!! Adik I memang suka makan sangat ni.. i ingat dia tu selalu makan each lapis separately..
    I think.. ni kuih Nyonya and Malay joint.. I think the Nyonya learnt this from the Malay..

  5. Your kuih lapis looks perfect! So beautiful with identical layers and colours.

  6. Kak Yati,
    I pun suka kuih lembut2 but not liat :)

  7. Cooking Rookie,
    Thank you :)

    Glutinous Rice flour is used in Mochi... I attached here the link to Mochi or Daifuku cakes..


    Have fun in trying :D

  8. Tricia,
    Phew...I was not the odd one... none of my siblings eat the way I do... :D

    Have fun in making the kuih and enjoy :D

  9. Leemei,
    I pun confuse :( but the good thing is... we love it :D

  10. Ellie,
    Thank you :)

    I made this for my friend's CNY gathering ... hence the 'ang-ang'/ red colour :D

  11. I too love to eat this cake layer by layer and now my youngest eats it the same way too :-). I think eating it this way makes the eating experience so enjoyable!

  12. when do you add the coconut milk?

  13. lemongrass,
    I was told off for 'peeling'... they thought I was playing with my food :( ...

  14. Anonymous,
    oppsie daisy... my proofreader is sleeping on his job!!
    Thank you :)...I have amended

  15. Peeling it layer by layer is the way to go. My girl loves eating kuih2 melayu/nyonya but her brother won't eat any except for serimuka (the pulut only) and karipap.

  16. Flower,
    Now you mentioned serimuka... yumm, will look for pulut this Friday :)

  17. Do you eat durian? I saw nice sebiji2 durian malaysia in one of the oriental store near my place. Bukan yang siam or yg dah siap pack tu ye, yg masih dlm kulit berduri. Wanted to buy but dear hb's home. Big pantang...

  18. I used to eat them layer by layer when I was younger too. Younger? So what happens now? I don't even get to eat them now :(

  19. Flower,
    I eat durian but dont really miss much after the XO durian incident in KL about 8 years ago... had a bad headache for 2 days... :D
    Kesian you tak dapat makan when hubby at home...

  20. tigerfish,
    now that we are few days older (still young... hehehe) and living abroad ~ we have to make them in order to eat them ;P

  21. Mouthwatering! I wish I could just grab one to try!

  22. Lisa, the kuih lapis is so beautifully done!!

  23. Oooooh your blog has all the local Malaysian delicacies! Hullo! It's nice to know another Malaysian blogger in Australia! :D Thanks for coming by my blog. We're both connected by our love for authentic Malaysian cuisine. :)

  24. Happee Monkee,
    Selamat Berkenalan... :D