KUCHING, MALAYSIA: The Sarawak layered cake (kek lapis) was yesterday added to the list of the state's signature products.
Popular among visitors from the peninsula, the cake has joined the salted ikan terubok as a must have food item.
"We have agreed to recognise kek lapis as a signatory product of Sarawak and we are on a drive to promote it," Datin Fatimah Abdullah, assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Department announced after chairing a meeting of the various government agencies tasked with the promotion of the state's cottage industry.
The agencies involved in the promotion are the state Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, the Federal Agriculture and Marketing Authority and the Bumiputera business development unit in the Chief Minister's Department.
Fatimah said one of the immediate priorities of the agencies was to standardise the quality of the cake in order for it to be awarded the "Sarawak's Best" certification.
She said the quality of the cake, especially among small producers, was currently low.
The popularity of the cake was such that one Sarawak producer churned out the cake from her home in Kuala Lumpur, raking in RM40,000 in sales during Hari Raya, Fatimah said.
The layered cake has its origins in Indonesia but the Sarawak layered cake is considered tastier because it is made with margarine.
"The Indonesian cake is more like a sponge cake and is a little bit dry," Fatimah said.
"Visitors from the peninsula seem to prefer the more moist Sarawak variety."
Fatimah added that Sarawak layered cakes were now considered works of art and that was why they were popular with visitors.
She added that agencies promoting the cottage industry were currently looking for a site here to build a gallery to showcase products.
It would also be a place for producers to link up with potential partners like marketers, retailers, exporters, importers and suppliers.
Only one Sarawak producer, Mariam Kek Lapis, has been awarded "Sarawak's Best" certification.
The largest producer in the state, the company has a bakery in Samarahan and Satok.
Sarawak layered cakes are also exported to Singapore and Brunei.