Mini Sponge Cakes

Have you ever been to a Chinese bakery?

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No? Get out. Right now (it’s the end of you and me). No, but really, please take your lovely self to a Chinese bakery as soon as possible. It is – in one word –incredibleamazingdelicious. Got that?

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As soon as you step in the door, your senses will be assaulted by the sweet scent of fresh bread, as your eyes take in rows and rows of puffy, golden, gorgeous pastries: some topped with sesame seeds, others filled with curry chicken, or black sesame paste, or taro, and all so, so, mouthwateringly tasty.

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Without fail, one of the items on offer will be this mini sponge cake…and if the bakery you visit doesn’t make these, run away as fast as you can. Actually, literally translated from Chinese, these cakes are called “Paper-Wrapped Cakes.” But I think the name “mini sponge cake” sounds a bit more appealing, and accurately sums up the product. Continue reading

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Taro Sponge Cake – Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving comes in all shapes and sizes: Small cozy gatherings, large family reunions, Friendsgivings and more. To me, Thanksgiving means a large potluck lunch with family and friends, complete with a huge turkey, mashed potatoes, and . . . sticky rice. And egg rolls. If we’re lucky, fried jumbo shrimp!

That’s right, I spent nearly every Thanksgiving of my childhood with my Chinese Church community in Wichita, Kansas. And let me tell you, the Chinese Church sure knows how to throw a potluck. The Thanksgiving potluck, though, pretty much rests in a league of its own.

I mean, it brings together the best of both worlds: Traditional Thanksgiving fare like a plump turkey and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and savory Chinese favorites such as Chinese-style spareribs (yummm) and pig’s feet (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it).

Although my family has celebrated Thanksgiving in Houston for the last four years, this year, I am super excited that I have returned home to Wichita, Kansas for the holiday, and of course, to devour a massive potluck lunch (woohoo!!!!)!

And I get to see this baby…SO CUTE.

For today’s festivities, I decided to make a Chinese-style dessert: Sponge cake layers with a mixture of taro and whipping cream sandwiched in between, covered in mounds of fresh whipped cream. For those who don’t know (no shame here), taro is a root vegetable commonly used in Chinese cuisine – savory and sweet.

I don’t really know how to describe the taste; my sister says it tastes like “a really good potato, but more fragrant, like a different flavor.” I’m mostly excited by the fact that it is purple! If you’re interested, you can find one at any Asian grocery store. As for this recipe, my family actually made this cake for my mom’s birthday a couple of years back.

The sponge cake recipe comes from my dad’s super old Chinese cookbook (it’s actually falling apart!), and the taro filling is my sister’s personal creation. This cake . . . mmm. Yummy. I’m surprised it actually made it to my mom’s birthday dinner, considering how much I was eyeing it during the day. But, it was totally worth the wait . . . just like today’s potluck. Continue reading