My Asian family, like many of East Asian descent, tends to have a sensitive sweet tooth when it comes to desserts. "Not too sweet" is always the rule and is also the highest of compliments.
Chinese bakeries only sell one type of cake: steamed sponge cake (or chiffon cake, which is the American version of sponge cake but with oil as the fat ingredient). You will seldom find any other cake on display. From birthdays to graduations to weddings, it is your only option. It is a yellow cake with white whipped cream and fruits. I would describe it as light, fluffy, and refreshing. I never really feel guilty eating a second (or third) slice.
This is my tried, true, and tested recipe for "Chinese bakery cake" (or "dahn goh"). I researched a few online, chose one, modified it, and here it is. In the past 6 months, I've baked this 3 times for my niece's , mom's, and boyfriend's grandmother's birthdays. Even my mom (my biggest supporter yet criticizer) has given this cake a thumbs up! Although traditional Chinese cakes are steamed in a wok, this recipe calls for it to be baked in an oven.
CHINESE BAKERY CAKE
1 1/2 c. cake flour, sifted
5 eggs, separated, warmed or room temp
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 9" round cakes
electric mixer with whisk attachment
1 medium mixing bowl
1 large mixing bowl
2 9" round pans
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
2. Separate eggs - yolks in a large bowl, whites in a small bowl.
3. Beat egg whites with electric mixer and whisk attachment until slightly foamy. Add cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until stiff.
4. In the large bowl, beat the yolks until runny. Then sift together flour, baking powder, and sugar on top of it and mix on low speed until there are no lumps of yolk. Add water, oil, and vanilla and beat until creamy and well blended.
5. Pour egg whites into yolk mixture and gently fold with a spatula until batter is all one color.
6. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper and evenly separate batter into 2 pans. Bake for 18-20 mins.
7. Remove from oven and let cool before handling.
8. Frost with whipped cream and sliced fruits.
The strawberries, pineapples, and mandarin oranges were meticulously sliced, diced, and decorated by Rob. Couldn't have done it without him :)