Hong Kong Paper Sponge Cakes (紙包蛋糕)

2015-10-11_19.06.12Growing up in North Texas, we were lucky enough to have plenty of Asian bakeries around us that churned out these soft and fluffy paper sponge cakes by the pan. Back in the days, one of those babies would set you back a dollar. Nowadays, it can cost $1.50 or more for a cake half the size it used to be. Even so, we would pay for it because they were so perfectly baked that we couldn’t help ourselves.

Paper wrapped sponge cakes are said to have originated from Hong Kong and are a staple afternoon treat there. Their soft squishy texture and lovely buttery aroma is just irresistible. They aren’t too sweet either, which is the usual hallmark of Asian desserts. Plus, the main contributor to the fat are the eggs, making it a relatively healthy treat. The mark of a good paper wrapped cake is its soft and moist texture and light, springy nature.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to try the famous paper wrapped cakes in New York’s famed Kam Hing Coffee Shop. While smaller than most, these cakes were definitely great quality. These homemade ones are just as delicious as the ones that I tried there 2 years ago. They aren’t that difficult to make either. It’s hard to say if the sifting part of the weighing part is more annoying but those are definitely the hardest steps.

My mom really loves these cakes, as do I. Now that we live in the East Coast, these sorts of bakeries are hard to come by and when we do find one, the price tag is shocking. Therefore, I’ve been “forced” to make my own. I have attempted to make these many times, most  times leading to heavy dense “muffins” resulting from improperly whipped egg whites. After buying my KA mixer, I have been more motivated to make them since they’ll whip those bad boys into shape in no time. Unfortunately, since chiffon cakes often require precision, it’s best if you whip out a scale and measure out your ingredients by weight.

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Since chiffon cakes are very difficult to get right, I’ve included some tips that I’ve gathered after my many attempts to get it right:

  • Measure your ingredients! I can’t stress this enough. If you want that perfect sponge cake, then just bite the bullet and do it.
  • For those of you without cake flour, measure out the same amount of all-purpose flour, take out 2 tbsp and add in 2 tbsp of cornstarch and sift well.
  • If you’re pressed for time or (like me) dislike the time-consuming sifting process, lightly whisk the ingredient together instead. The main purpose of sifting is to get out any big lumps and to incorporate air into your dry ingredients.
  • Separate your eggs when they’re cold and allow them to come to room temperature before using.
  • Make sure the oil isn’t hot when adding them into your other ingredients or you’ll cook your egg yolks.
  • Line your tins! There’s a reason why they’re called PAPER sponge cakes. These cakes need something to cling on to and your nonstick or buttered pans will stop its growth and lead to a fallen, dense cake.
  • To line the tin, cut out two strips, hold them perpendicular to one another like a cross, and place into the tin. I used a deep muffin pan that holds 1 cup liquid per well.
  • FOLD the egg whites in lightly and avoid over mixing and beating the air out of the batter. Work quickly so that your whites don’t deflate by the time they go into the oven.

Note*** This version of the recipe is solely mine. When re-posting, please cite me and my website.

Copyright october 2015 ©

Hong Kong Paper Sponge Cakes  (紙包蛋糕)

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Fluffy and moist sponge cakes that are perfectly light

>>> Yields 6 sponge cakes

Time:
-Prep: 35 min
-Bake: 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 60 g granulated sugar (separated 30g and 30g)
  • 80 g cake flour
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 55 g oil
  • 60 ml warm milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

* For the cake flour, measure out using all-purpose flour and take out 2 tbsp. Add in 2 tbsp cornstarch and sift together twice

Instructions:

1) Cut two 2-in strips of parchment paper and form a cross shape to line each muffin well using the paper.
2) Combine the cake flour,baking powder, and corn starch together and sift them to remove lumps.
3) Beat the egg whites until frothy at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes and add 30g of sugar, 1/3 at a time, and increase the speed to med-high and beat until still peaks (about 6-8 min).
4) In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt together until smooth. Add in 30g of sugar, oil, and warm milk. Beat until smooth.
5) Gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture 1/3 at a time and mix until no flour or clumps remain. It should be a slightly thick mixture.
6) Fold in the egg whites 1/3 at a time into the combined flour-egg yolk mix. It will yield a slightly runny yet smooth batter.
7) Preheat the oven to 350 F.
8) Divide the batter into the muffin tins so that each are about 2/3 full (the batter will rise slightly).
9) Bake the sponge cakes for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Happy eats!

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