How To Make Traditional Shanghai Moon Cakes

Shanghai Moon Cakes

Moon cake is a traditional Chinese bakery product which is culturally akin to the American fruitcake. This traditional Chinese delicacy is eaten widely during the Chinese Harvest festival called the Zhongqiu festival. In fact, moon cakes have become such an indispensable part of this festival, that most traditional Chinese cannot image celebrating Zhonqiu without a couple of moon cakes. Chinese moon cakes which have evolved widely over the years are prepared using a variety of materials, fillings and delicious flavors.

About Moon Cakes

Chinese moon cakes

The super scrumptious Chinese moon cakes have been around for almost a thousand years. Sozhou is the oldest variation of this traditional Chinese cake. A typical moon cake will have a thin outer crust and dense sweet or savory filling. The moon cakes with sweet filings are prepared with a lot of sugar while the savory moon cakes are made with a lot of pork mince and lard.

Moon cakes which are prepared the traditional way often sport Chinese characters which symbolize harmony or longevity. Some moon cakes even feature vines, rabbits, flowers and even the moon itself. The Cantonese style moon cakes are slightly different from moon cakes which are prepared in the rest of China. These moon cakes contain four eggs instead of a single egg.


The Legend Of Eating Moon Cakes

The tradition of eating moon cakes can be traced back to the late Yuan dynasty. In the Yuan period a man called Chu Yuan Chang wanted to revolt against the Mongol rulers. In order to gain the support of his clan, the Han people, he needed to spread the message of revolution in a secret way. Moon cakes were distributed to the Han people. Inside each of these cakes was ingeniously inserted a message, appealing to his people to rally round him and support the revolt.

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Moon Cake Fillings

Some of the popular moon cake fillings include jujube paste, sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste and five kernels.

Ingredients For Making moon Cake

Icing Sugar Sifted – 200g
Salt – ¼ tsp
Butter – 300gms
Big Egg – 1
Vanilla Essence – 1/2tsp
Baking Powder- 1/2tsp
Bicarbonate Soda- 1/2tsp
Plain Flour Sifted – 490gms
Custard – 50gms
Milk Powder – 1tbsp

For The Filling Moon Cake

Reduced Sugar Lotus Paste – 1.2kg
Chopped Chinese Red Dates – 100gms

Egg Wash

Egg Yolk -1
Milk – 1tbsp
Melon Seeds – 50gms

Method Of Making Moon Cake

For Preparing The Dough

1. In a large glass bowl beat icing sugar, butter and salt lightly, using an electric beater with a paddle attachment.

glass bowl beat icing sugar

2. Add egg and vanilla essence to the mixture and continue whisking.

egg and vanilla

3. Now gently incorporate the sifted flour and milk powder into the mixture.

milk powder

4. Once the mixture reaches soft dough like consistency, divide the mixture into balls each weighing about 70gms.

To Assemble

1. Mix the red dates with the store bought lotus seed paste. Now divide the mixture into equal sized balls each weighing around 70gms.

2. Take the dough balls and make a small depression in the middle. Fill the dough balls with the date and lotus seed mixture. Close the dough balls and mold them into a dome shape.

3. Place the dough balls containing the mixture on greased baking sheets.

4. Now press a few melon seeds on the dough balls and brush on a thin layer of the egg wash. Transfer the baking trays containing he dough balls into a preheated oven.

5. Bake the moon cakes for 15-20 minutes at 180 degree centigrade or till the dough balls take on a nice golden brown hue.

6. Remove moon cakes from oven and serve hot.