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

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

It's my tradition to make a traditional Indonesian cake every Indonesian independence day which is on August 17.

Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan ke 65, Indonesia!
Happy 65th Independence Day, Indonesia!

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 didn't use artificial red colour, but I added a beetroot juice.


• 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 our 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 neead 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.


  • • 250 grams tapioca flour (original: sago flour)
  • • 800 cc 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

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