Chinese Steamed Cake Recipe -
Chinese Steamed Cake Recipe

Chinese Steamed Cake

Recipe by  

"Although real Chinese dinners usually end with a piece of fruit, Western influence has caused a few changes. This cake uses Chinese techniques to make a French inspired, and extremely moist, sponge cake."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 9-inch square cake Change Servings


  1. Arrange a large bamboo steamer or a large vegetable steamer over simmering water. Make sure it is large enough to hold the baking pan. Line a 9 inch square pan with waxed paper.
  2. Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in a large bowl along with the sugar and water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture has increased about three times in volume. Whisk together the flour and the baking powder; sift this over the egg mixture, and fold in gently. Blend in the extract.
  3. Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl to stiff, not dry, peaks. Fold into yolk base. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth out to edges. Rap the pan on the counter to get rid of large air bubbles.
  4. Place the pan into the steamer. Cover the top of the steamer with a kitchen towel, and place the lid on top; the towel will absorb any steam that collects on top from dripping onto the cake. Steam for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 11, 2007

Some one please help! I want to know what is "cake flour"? Does this mean self-raising flour or plain flour? I used plain flour (the type with reduced wheat protein)which is not self-raising and added 1/2 teaspoon baking powder as instructed in this chinese steam cake recipe, but it did not work out as it did not rise, and was tough as rubber! Should I use self-raising flour? Or where did I go wrong. Please help to confirm wether cake flour is self-raising flour. Many thanks.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Oct 27, 2005

I made this cake and it turned out rather dry and heavy. Not at all a reasonably light and moist cake I was expecting. Perhaps I was expecting this to be like the Ma Lai Gou served at dim sums. I suggest cutting the sugar in this recipe. It is just too sweet. If anyone has a good Ma Lai Gou recipe, would appreciate if you could share it! Thank you!


52 Ratings

Jan 25, 2004

This was very close to the real thing that you can buy at dim sum shops! I used brown sugar in place for the white because the authentic variety can be a fairly dark brown, and substituted vanilla for the almond extract. I didn't have a steamer or a large enough wok for my cake pan, so I placed it in a 9x13 pan, filled the larger pan with enough hot water to go halfway up the cake pan, covered the whole thing securely with foil, and baked it at 400 for 40 minutes. This would probably solve the problem with the undercooked bottom. It worked fabulously! Another suggestion would be to try serving the cake hot, and keep the remaining cake covered because it dries out easily. Wrap any leftovers with plastic and refrigerate. It reheats nicely in the microwave covered with a damp paper napkin.

Aug 15, 2006

This was my first attempt at making a steamed cake. I altered the recipe a little and it came out perfect. It tasted great and had a moist, spongy texture. My daughter even commented about how it melted in her mouth. Needless to say, the cake was devoured in no time. I used 4 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 3 Tbsp. passion fruit juice; next time I will try lemon or orange juice. I added 2 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp. of almond extract. After being steamed for exactly 20 minutes, the cake was perfectly done. This recipe is a keeper; I will certainly be making it again.

Nov 26, 2010

It has a spongy texture. I reduced the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup. It would have been too sweet for me if I used the specified amount of sugar. I used a 9" round cake pan. My bamboo steamer wasn't large enough to acommodate the pan, so I used the "oven steam" method posted by IRIOSE on 1/25/2004. (Check her review for the method.) This is a great alternative if your steamer is too small or if you don't have a steamer. I baked it for 30-35 min at 375 degrees. I covered the cake in foil while it was still hot in order to keep it from drying out. It was good enough without the confectioner's sugar. By the way, be sure that your egg whites are room temp. when you whisk them. Otherwise, the peaks won't form properly.

Jan 25, 2004

I split the batch in which I steamed half of them and baked the other half using a muffin pan. I liked the flavour of the baked ones better. They were more fragrant, fluffier and sweeter to taste while the steamed ones turned out denser and had a more eggy taste. Though the baked one were fluffy, they were also a bit spongier. Is there a way to make it fluffy without being too chewy? Overall the recipe is good for a simple cake.

Jan 25, 2004

Cake can be steamed in a wok without a "steamer". Place 4 pairs of chopsticks in wok and fill with water just to cover. Bring water to a boil and put cake pan on top of the chopsticks. Cover cake pan with a clean square dishtowel. Cover the wok with it's lid. This cake was ok. The first time I made it, I used a springform pan and steamed it for 20 min. The cake was a little dry, and the bottom center of the cake didn't finish cooking for some reason. If I make it again, I'll try a traditional bamboo steamer and definitely reduce the almond extract to 1 tsp.

Jan 25, 2004

This cake was really soft and spongy, and would be really suitable to split in half and top with strawberries. I reduced the sugar by about 1/4 cup and tried vanilla flavoring. You need a big steamer for this recipe!


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  • Calories
  • 193 kcal
  • 10%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 37.6 g
  • 12%
  • Cholesterol
  • 93 mg
  • 31%
  • Fat
  • 2.7 g
  • 4%
  • Fiber
  • 0.3 g
  • 1%
  • Protein
  • 4.6 g
  • 9%
  • Sodium
  • 56 mg
  • 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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