Who said the Chinese don’t do cake? In my experiences, Chinese people LOVE cake. Anyone has been to China, or indeed even Chinatown, will know that sponge cake is well absorbed into Chinese cuisine, and they do it very well. What is missing, however, is the kind of rich, buttery, artery clogging cakes that really make you shudder with delight. Sponge is a much maligned cake. I actually really like it, and am impressed by the quality of a sponge from even the smallest bakery on the corner here. Nevertheless, when living in China I often crave the 4pm cake and coffee special. I’ve worked out why. An average sponge recipe does not generally feature butter as an ingredient, some occasionally add about 25 grams. So if you’re really after that rich cakey satisfaction, a sponge cake simply cannot deliver. The cake you see above contains A KILO OF BUTTER. Needless to say, it was delicious.
One of the first things I did when I set up shop in China was purchase a small oven (ovens are not regular kitchen appliances here). I started to bring cakes and other treats to work. My colleagues always demolish them with impressive speed, and sensitively note the delicate butter taste that they are not accustomed to.
They’ve realised it’s not long till I go, and so have decided they need to learn to bake to keep the cake dream alive. We had a public holiday recently and two of my colleagues asked if we could spend the day baking.
They set the bar high, and had decided on two tasks that are not to be sneezed at: a SIX layer rainbow cake and profiteroles (which are delightfully named 泡芙 “pao fu” in Chinese). We cooked up a storm. I believe the pictures speak for themselves and I will say no more.
Later Lu Jian and Tian Tian stopped by: