Saturday, January 13, 2018

New life's learning - Baking Kueh Lapis :)

Pic source: Channels News Asia

Bbbrrrrrrr......... It was so cold this morning!!! Most Singaporean chose to have their window opened last night to let the cooling air entering their house and bedroom. The air-conditioner was retired for the day. The rain had poured for sometime, and even some days. But only yesterday night I could feel the drastic temperature change. It felt so cold at the Outram Park when I walked to the four-star hotel in the area to meet two new Bhutanese friends to pick my parcel up from Bhutan. My other friends felt the same too and I could see many people walking on the road wearing additional layer of cloth to keep themselves warmed.

The new Instagram account - rimareyka.writes - for the love of thinking and writing. Add me there if you have not yet done so! ;)

Before leaving the house, I saw my in-law lying down in the sofa with blanket covering from her neck all the way to the feet while playing the Pokemon games from her mobile phone. So enviable!!!! In this kind of weather, I would have snugged inside my blanket with a book on hand and a cup of hot coffee at the side table next to me. Or otherwise I would have just browsed the Facebook, gone through the Instagram photos and stories, checked new posts on We Chat Moments, or thought deeply on what poem to post at the new installed Apps - (In case you have joined, you can follow me there - Rima Reyka) or add me on Instagram - Rimareyka.writes.

Unfortunately I had to leave the house at 8.30 am with small umbrella on one hand (to save me from the drizzling rain that had poured continuously since the night before) and the batik patterned bag slung on my right shoulder.  I had to reduce my walking speed as my purple flip flop had grown old and slippery (to prevent myself from getting blue mark on the butt and unlimited embarrassment if I really fell down hahaha.. :P).

I finally started doing my first part-time job since last Saturday. My Indonesian bestie recommended me a job to bake the Indonesian Kueh Lapis (Thousand Layer Cake) since the lady boss needed someone to do it as the Chinese New Year was coming soon. If you have no idea what am I talking about, please watch the following Youtube video to explain what the Kueh Lapis is and why people usually order, buy, and eat it during Chinese New Year.

By watching the above video, hopefully you can have a better idea now about what Kueh Lapis is, using what ingredients (a very sinful cake using lots of egg yolk, butter, sugar, condensed milk, etc.), how to make it layer by layer (spread the mix dough into one layer, put it into oven until the color turns brownish, and continue to do so until it is at certain height), and what's the meaning behind it or on why people eating them during Chinese New Year (it is believed that each layer of cake represents each layer of prosperity in the upcoming year).

Both my besties had done it in previous years and asked me to do it as well before. But since the location of the working place was very far from my house (it required more than an hour to reach the place by MRT and bus), I never thought of doing it. But this time, since I had free time before pursuing another thing at the month-end, so I thought, why not??? At the same time I could earn some pocket money to buy stuffs for the upcoming Chinese New Year :)

One oven fits 4 moulds of cakes inside

So last Saturday I tried it together with my bestie. The lady boss trained me personally. One person was in charge of one oven that could place 4 mould of cakes at one time. We did not have to worry about the mixed ingredients as it had been prepared by the lady boss' son. We just had to bake the ready made dough.

This is how the sliced Prune Kueh Lapis looks like - Sold at $2 each

She taught us how to bake the Prune Kueh Lapis - same process with the Original Kueh Lapis, but we added preserved dried prune in between the layers, and there were steps to follow. E.g. Baked 3 layers of cake. On 4th layer, added the prune. Topped it another 2 layers and on the 3rd, added the prune. Topped it with other 2 layers, and on the 3rd added the prune again (meaning added the prune 3 times), and end it with 2-3 layers. Something like that. The ending product would be just like the above photo (I made that! :D)

Record down the number of steps I had done :P

It sounded easy but I had poor memory. Hahahahaha.... In the middle of baking it, suddenly I lost count on how many times I had put the prune in it. OMG!!! Or I lost count how many layers I had put in the first few layers - 3 or 4?? Since I had to multi task doing other things like taking the cake out from the mould, transferring it to the tray, spreading the butter into the mould, and so on. I felt very bad if I accidentally made it not as expected as the cake was sold at a very expensive price. The price for the Original Kueh Lapis is SGD $58 while the Prune is SGD $61!!! (Imagine how many hours should I work to be able to buy one??? ^^"). Luckily the lady boss and her son were very kind and understanding. They said they would use the wrong one as the tasting sample to prevent waste. Therefore, to prevent the miscalculation, I had to write down the no. of steps on the paper each day now and put more attention on the timing to produce a good cake :)

Me caught in the action (Pardon me for the blurred picture as my friend took candid shot when I was working) :D

I had to stand up most of the time and faced the heat from the oven. My left arm and hand were aching as I had to take the mould in and out (each layer) and rotated them (to distribute even heat inside the oven) for hundred over times - daily. My right hand was paining from opening and spreading the dried prune one by one, also from spreading the mix dough into the mould layer by layer.

To finish two batches of the 8 cakes required two and half hours. On my first day, I managed to do 20 cakes (5 batch) from 10 am to 6 pm. In between I had about half an hour lunch break. So at least I had to stand up for 7.5 hours each day. We were allowed to sit down but we could not sit for long as we had to put our attention to the cake all the time to prevent over and under cooked.

My working table - Dough container, dried prune (some had been separated to make the process faster, water to clean the hand, wooden thing to press the layer and stick to pop the bubble out :)

On the second day, the speed increased as I found some ways to reduce the time in making it without affecting the quality of the cake. E.g. Separated the dried prune one by one so I could place it faster into the dough layer, prepared the cleaned and butter spread mould filled with dough when the current ones were almost done, and so on. In the end, I managed to make 27 cakes. So much improvement on the speed, but I felt very tired after that as it finished around 6.30 pm, and reached home almost 8 pm. The day after that I told the lady boss that I had to finish before 6 pm and instead, I would reach the place earlier (around 9.40 am). With this timing, usually I made 6 batches or 24 pcs of cakes daily - 2 batches before lunch and 4 batches after lunch.

Trays filled with the fully done Kueh Lapis!!! :)

Well, one week has gone and two more weeks to go. I hope I am blessed with good health (with raining days many people gets fever, cough, and cold), so that I can fulfill my duty as I had agreed to the lady boss. And although tiring, it was all worth doing as I learned something new in my life (added on knowledge and experience as I only knew how to eat and had zero idea on the making it before).

My Doraemon Piggy Bank! :P

Plus, at the end of the day when I reached home and entered to my room, it felt so good to slip the earning of each day into my Doraemon piggy bank that I hung on my room's door. I already planned in my head to open and calculate it on my last working day, purchase few necessary items, treat some good food to family members, and enjoy my upcoming holiday!!! So, let's pray that all my wishes come true!!! :D


Sonam Choden said...

Wow!I appreciate your work. I think by now you can make around 50 cakes per day 😀. Would definitely like to try the Kueh Lapis( it looks yummy with all those layers).And I pray that your work end successfully without any hindrance. Buddha bless you 😊

Rima Reyka said...

Hahaha... No la... I will faint of I make 50 cakes a day. Imagine, 8 cakes = 2.5 hours. 50 cakes = 15.5 hours Hahaha.... Thank you for your lovely wish and prayer la. Buddha bless you both too!!! Take care!! :) on New life's learning - Baking Kueh Lapis :)

Tashi Chenzom said...

Soon I may hear you are being hired by a 5 star hotel. Hehehe. It looks really delicious and expensive too.

Happy Sunday!! Enjoy the chill😆

Rima Reyka said...

Hahaha... Thank you. Yes, time to rest :)

Flora said...

Wow! I didn't know that you can also bake cakes, that also expensive one used for then new year celebration! You are blessed with lots of talent and passion! Good luck a head!

Rima Reyka said...

Hahaha... Thank you Charo!! Despite your busy time holidaying, you still spared your precious time reading my blog and posted your lovely comment here :) Hope you enjoy your time with loved ones to the fullest there!!! See you soon!! ;)

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