Thursday, November 25, 2004
Cantonese Wedding Cakes
When I got home (late, very late) on Monday evening, a box of traditional Chinese pastries and two cans of braised pork leg on the table caught my eye. I exclaimed, "Ah, who's getting married?" Turns out it was my sis-in-law's sister-in-law.
I opened up the box in eagerness. Wah......one of the cakes had already been attacked! Quick, whip out that digicam and take a photo before the other cakes are besieged too!
Below are close-up cross-section views of each of the four cakes, beginning clockwise from the half-cake.
Before I could taste this the next day, this half-cake was already gone with the wind. Sob! Look at the beautiful, golden crust. The filling is probably lotus paste with melon seeds. Anyone who has eaten this before, care to shed some light? I can only imagine how delicious this must have tasted.
The remaining three cakes had the same flaky, buttery pastry, but they had different fillings and were identified by the color of the pastry. This yellowish cake was filled with a savoury mung bean paste. Quite tasty and fragrant, a nice departure from the usual sweet fillings.
The white cake was filled with sweet red bean paste (dou sha) and melon seeds. The paste was smooth and creamy, and the level of sweetness was just right.
This is the prettiest-looking one, cos it's in my favorite color, pink! Filled with sweet lotus seed paste and melon seeds, the filling was also smooth and not too sweet.
What I liked about these cakes from Tai Chong Kok Confectionery is that they were truly fresh. The pastry was light, flaky, and had a melt-in-the-mouth quality, while the fillings were smooth without being overly greasy or heavy, and were not too sweet nor salty. The flavors of the fillings and pastry were brilliantly balanced. What a wonderful treat! Really appreciated this treat because nowadays, more people opt to give Western-style cakes (or even cake vouchers) rather than these traditional ones for weddings.
Here's a little background on traditional Chinese wedding cakes from a website called "China Bridal".
Chinese wedding cakes are called "Happiness Cakes", also known as "Dragon & Phoenix Cakes". These are baked cake with dragon and phoenix imprint on the surface. Some styles have fillings made of lotus seed paste, red bean paste or green bean paste.
The wedding cakes are usually presented to the bride's family by the groom's family as part of the proposal gift. Bride's family will then present some of the cakes to worship their ancestors and send the rest of cakes to friends and relatives along with wedding invitations. Quantity of cakes to be sent depends on seniority of guest or relationship with the family. Nowadays, the wedding cakes are usually served to the guests at the wedding instead of the western style wedding cakes.