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What is the cake that I'm thinking of?

so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 01:09 PM

I’m not typically one for sweets, but I went to a chinese wedding recently and had the best cake EVER! Not the typical wedding cake...

It was light, not too sweet, and it basically tasted like sponge cake with fruit, light cream AND a layer of phyllo??? Does this sound familiar at all?!

It was amazing. I am wondering if anyone knows what this cake is called and if there's a recipe out there for it!

Please help!!!

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  1. withalonge RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 02:29 PM

    not that this info will be overly helpful, but we used to order a cake that sounds a lot like this for one of my co-worker's birthdays (she was chinese). The bakery we ordered it from called it a "peach" cake.... but it was like you describe... sponge cake (baked, not steamed), mixed fruit (tending towards tropical), with a thick glaze (almost a gel) on the fruit, and whip cream. I don't recall a layer of phyllo... but it has been a few years. It is very light (tasting), fluffy and sweet.... good luck hunting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: withalonge
      so_hungry RE: withalonge Jun 5, 2008 03:23 PM

      I can't remember EXACTLY what all was in the cake at this point since I gobbled it down so quickly, but it was definitely very similar to what you described above. Your details may help me narrow down my recipe search a bit. Thank you!

    2. c
      Claudette RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 02:33 PM

      Sounds like a typical cake from a Chinese bakery, except for the phyllo. Where was it? between the cake and the frosting? Under the cake? Sounds intriguing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Claudette
        so_hungry RE: Claudette Jun 5, 2008 03:21 PM

        Yes! There was phyllo as a middle layer in the cake. It wasn't very thick, and it was in conjunction with the light creme and fruit in the middle... it was the perfect combination of texture and flavors. I'm dying to try and replicate for an upcoming birthday.

        1. re: so_hungry
          Claudette RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 04:55 PM

          Are you sure it was phyllo and not puff pastry? (The latter would hold up better on contact w/ whipped cream than the former. Both would look similar if docked and baked between hot sheetpans.)

          1. re: Claudette
            ipsedixit RE: Claudette Jun 5, 2008 05:38 PM

            phyllo is quite common in chinese wedding cakes

      2. c
        cakesncookies RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 05:45 PM

        Does anyone know of a recipe (tried and tested!) that could make this type of cake? I was planning on trying ci's foolproof sponge cake for starters and then maybe try out chiffons or genoises.

        I notice that many sponge cakes end up with large holes. Is that expected of a sponge cake or is that the result of poor technique? The Chinese bakeries usually have a light, tight crumbed cake. The texture actually reminds of a cake mix, which I hope its not!

        1. vvvindaloo RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 05:45 PM

          This sounds like a typical Chinese wedding cake to me, and I am sure that you could find one (or order one) at your local Chinatown bakery (or, the closest thing to that in your area).

          2 Replies
          1. re: vvvindaloo
            vvvindaloo RE: vvvindaloo Jun 6, 2008 07:48 AM

            I should add that this cake often uses a non-dairy cream, not whipped cream. Perhaps this was a factor in why it left such a distinct impression on you?

            1. re: vvvindaloo
              so_hungry RE: vvvindaloo Jun 6, 2008 07:13 PM

              I've definitely heard that it is quite common in chinese bakeries, so I may need to go find one now and try to investigate all the layers in order to duplicate. I agree with the cream... it was very different!

          2. k
            kkak97 RE: so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 05:53 PM

            Was it a single cake or where there several small cakes? It could have been a Dragon & Phoenix cake that is tradition for Chinese families. The cake or cakes are presented to the brides family by the groom. The higher ranking the family member, and the importance of the relationship determines the quality of the cake.

            Some of the fillings that are common are lotus seed paste, red bean paste and/or green bean paste.

            1. k
              k_d RE: so_hungry Jun 6, 2008 06:42 AM

              I asked my mom, who lives in Macau, about the crispy layer. She said she didn't think it was phyllo, but rather a thin wafer - she has had cakes like this before, but didn't know what it is called. Chinese love sponge cake, and they don't like things very sweet, hence the fruit and cream. You can approximate the cream frosting/filling by using a sweetened stabilized whipped cream. Two of my kids like their birthday cakes frosted with that - one likes mandarin oranges and the other likes strawberries as the fruit. You can find a Chinese sponge cake recipe anywhere on the Internet. My guess is that the wafer is something you'd have to purchase, as I can't imagine it would be easy to duplicate at home.

              2 Replies
              1. re: k_d
                brendastarlet RE: k_d Jun 6, 2008 06:46 AM

                I think the thin layer might be made from the Chinese version of oplatek, which is passed around by Polish Catholics at Christmas time. It is actually a thin wheat wafer. I've had this in European pastries as well -- it provides crunch and helps keep the frosting from soaking into the cake.

                Try here: http://www.churchsupplywarehouse.com/...

                1. re: brendastarlet
                  k_d RE: brendastarlet Jun 6, 2008 09:01 AM

                  Brenda ... I think you have it exactly right. I've been googling around a little this morning, and find that that same wafer is used as a nougat base (torrone), sort of like an edible parchment paper to keep it from sticking to the pan. Makes me think that it would also keep a cake from sticking. Current uses seem to revolve around cake decorating - I saw a lot of how-tos for painting or printing the wafers to decorate the tops of cakes.

              2. s
                so_hungry RE: so_hungry Jun 6, 2008 07:10 PM

                Wow... I appreciate all the responses!! I am very curious now as to what it really was that I had (phyllo versus others). The real reason why I am so curious is because I am trying to duplicate.. so if anyone comes across any recipes similar, please do share!!

                Thanks again to the ever helpful hounds!

                6 Replies
                1. re: so_hungry
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: so_hungry Jun 6, 2008 07:16 PM

                  any chance you can ask the wedding couple for the bakery's contact info? then you can ask them what it was. i always find it best to go straight to the source :)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    so_hungry RE: goodhealthgourmet Jun 6, 2008 10:26 PM

                    unfortunately, i don't know the couple well enough... it may get to that point though! i am going to make time this weekend to stop by a chinese bakery to see if i can solve this enigma... will report back!

                  2. re: so_hungry
                    Miss Needle RE: so_hungry Jun 6, 2008 07:31 PM

                    This link may help you make your cake. Doesn't have the "phyllo." Personally, I don't think it's phyllo. Sounds more like puff pastry -- like the stuff you would put in a napoleon.


                    1. re: Miss Needle
                      so_hungry RE: Miss Needle Jun 6, 2008 10:27 PM

                      yesss.. definitely flaky like a puff pastry... anyone's guess is better than mine right now since i devoured it so quickly. geez.

                      i love that link, thank you for sharing, i will definitely use a variation of that recipe once i figure out that missing, and ever elusive, flaky layer.

                      1. re: Miss Needle
                        toodie jane RE: Miss Needle Jun 7, 2008 09:10 AM

                        great link. You might enjoy this pastry link also:


                        Su Yin is a Malasian girl who loves cooking, cake decorating and is now attending pastry school in Florida. Great photos. This gal is going places!

                        1. re: toodie jane
                          alkapal RE: toodie jane Jun 7, 2008 10:42 PM

                          tj, that site is a bookmarked keeper. thanks!

                    2. s
                      so_hungry RE: so_hungry Jul 1, 2008 02:55 PM

                      I am reviving this because I've done some research now and still cannot find this cake --

                      I know this much: the chinese name for the cake described is "su pi dan gao"

                      I've searched in all the chinatown (los angeles) bakeries to no avail. So my next stop is alhambra area bakeries. Is anyone familiar with the area and know which specific bakeries I can visit to find this cake?

                      All I need is one slice so I can inspect/examine/study it to begin my baking adventure!!

                      Please help :)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: so_hungry
                        amyzan RE: so_hungry Jul 1, 2008 03:13 PM

                        Okay, I found this thread by googling "su pi dan gao:" http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434184 If you scroll down to Pei's post at 11:56 am on August 23rd, she mentioned a bakery in Rowland Heights. You might get your slice for study there? (I'm assuming you live in LA.)

                        1. re: amyzan
                          so_hungry RE: amyzan Jul 1, 2008 07:11 PM

                          Amy, THANK YOU!!!!! :)

                          1. re: so_hungry
                            amyzan RE: so_hungry Jul 2, 2008 01:54 PM

                            Sure, please let us know your resulting recipe! I'm not in LA, so I'd love to be able to bake su pi dan gao.

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