Monday, 27 August 2012

Moon Cake - Traditional Chinese Delicacy

Moon Cake (Yue Ping,月饼) is a Chinese pastries traditional eaten during Mid-Autumn Festival.  The skin is thin and sweet and prepared in the shape of the moon and filled with sesame seed paste, lotus seed paste, red bean paste, five kernel and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in the cake center to symbolize the full moon.

Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie,中秋节) or more commonly named in Malaysia as Moon Cake Festival and is celebrated on the 15th day of the eight lunar month. Usually, around mid or late September. In recent years, the Mid-Autumn Festival has benefited from a popularity boost. It is now the second most celebrated Chinese Festival in Malaysia, that is, if you measure it by the amount of advertising and promotions dedicated to it. 

Traditional Moon Cakes are shaped like a pie or tarts, round or rectangular measuring about 10 cm in diameter, 4.5 cm thick and is about 190 g ~ 220 g per piece. Moon cakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

Moon cake biscuits, flatter than Moon Cake, are commonly made of the same pastry crust and are shaped into traditional animals such as fish, gold fish, dancing lion. These biscuits may or may not contain any fillings.

Traditional Moon Cakes recipe:
Makes 12~13 mini Moon Cakes

For dough:
100g Superfine Flour
60g Golden Syrup (I used Abram Lyle's Golden Syrup)
2 tsp Alkaline Water, available at Asian Grocers
25 ml Peanut Oil or any vegetable oil

For filling:
420g or 1 packet 500g Red Bean Paste
50g Dried Melon Seeds 

6 Salted Egg Yolk
1 tbsp Rose-Flavoured Cooking Wine 玫瑰露酒, available at Asian Grocers

Egg wash:
1 Egg Yolk
2 tbsps Egg White


  1. Mix Red bean paste with melon seeds. Divide the filling into 35g portions and shape into balls. Set aside. I used a dough: filling ratio of 3:7, for 50g moon cake mould.
  2. Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in peanut oil, mix well.
  3. Mix salted egg yolks with rose-flavoured cooking wine for 10 minutes, wipe dry the yolks with kitchen paper. Cut each into halves. Set a side.
  4. Place superfine flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre. Add in the above mixture. Mix with a spatula to form a soft dough. Gently knead the dough till smooth, takes about 2~3 mins. Shape it into a smooth round dough. Wrap with cling wrap and leave to rest for at least 1 hour.
  5. Take the Red Bean Paste Ball, poke a hole in the middle with your finger, place 1 piece egg yolk inside and seal and shape into a round ball. Set a side.
  6. Dust work surface with some flour. Give the dough a few light kneading to smooth it.
  7. Divide dough into 15g pieces. Shape each dough into a ball. Roll each dough over some flour. Dust hand with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc (about 5cm in diameter). Wrap it around with Red Bean Paste Ball and shape it into a ball. Always dust hand with some flour to avoid the dough from sticking.
  8. Lightly dust the wrapped dough with some flour. Place it in the mooncake mould and press the mooncake out. Place mooncake on a baking tray line with parchment paper.
  9. Spray some water on the moon cakes. This helps to prevent the mooncake from cracking during baking.
  10. Bake at preheated oven at 180degC for 10mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins. Do not skip this step.
  11. Brush the top with some egg wash. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15mins until golden brown. Since all oven works differently, do check after 10mins, and subsequently every other 2 mins to make sure the mooncakes are not over browned.
  12. Leave mooncake to cool completely and store in air tight containers. Wait for 2 ~ 3 days for the mooncakes to 回油 for the skin to soften and shiny in 1 or 2 days.

My Moon Cake moulds

I Kept these Moon Cake's tins for 10 years already. It was the gifts from my Timberland's buyer Connie Wong. She couriered the moon cakes to me together with her confirmation samples. 

Contemporary style Moon Cake - Snow Skin Moon Cakes from Shangri-la Hotel, Durian Moon Cakes, Dragon Fruit Moon Cakes, Mug Bean Moon Cakes and Lotus Seed Moon Cakes.

Ingredients: Glutinous Rice Flour, Wheat Flour, Water, Sugar, Milk, Peanut Oil, Mug Bean Paste, Durian Paste, Dragon Fruit Paste, Lotus Seed Paste, Edible Coloring.

These Piggy Moon Cakes are packed in the colorful baskets with a Pig shaped pastry inside. These will have a similar, delicious taste to a typical Moon Cake, but it doesn’t have the filling. They are very popular among children, and while kids play in the moonlight on the Harvest Moon Festival. I brought them from a small grocer shop in USJ, Taipan. MYR1.00/piece.

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Water, Sugar, Peanut Oil 

Trendy little cute Hello Kitty's Moon Cake Biscuits. MYR0.90/piece.

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