The elusive Chinese bakery style birthday cake

So you’ve all heard me go on and on about how delicious the birthday cakes are at Chinese bakeries. And you would be absolutely correct in assuming that I’ve gone crazy trying to look for a recipe because as a person who loves baking and making desserts, a Chinese birthday cake would have been at the top of my list of difficult things to accomplish. I figured, there must be somebody out there that knows the recipe and that would post it on the internet. I was very sadly wrong… almost.

Well, I started looking for such a recipe several years ago, with no luck. All I ever found were other people posting the same question on forums looking for this recipe, but nobody ever knew. Then I found a reply to one of these questions from a cake decorator, who said that Chinese bakeries use a pre-prepared proprietary cake mix from other vendors as well as a non-dairy ready-to-use whipped topping that cake decorators order from companies. No wonder nobody ever knew the recipe. Then, this weekend, my parents were trying to figure out what kind of cake to buy my brother for his birthday, and I volunteered to make a cake for him. I wasn’t sure what I’d make, but it sparked my interest to look again for a Chinese bakery type cake recipe. I’m happy to report that after a long search I finally found this elusive recipe… in the form of a Korean ssaeng cream cake recipe that had to be translated into English and converted from metric units lol. These seem to be the Korean version of the same kind of cake, except there is actually a recipe for it. I substituted my own recipe for a whipped cream topping and a custard filling, using the Korean recipe mostly for the cake layers itself. The results were amazing, everyone in my family thought the cake was just as good and even better than the ones from the bakeries, because it tasted so fresh and light and moist. So now I present the ever-so-elusive Chinese bakery-style birthday cake recipe, enjoy! :)


Chinese Bakery Style Birthday Cake (Korean Ssaeng Cream Cake) – serves 6-8

Cake recipe converted and adapted from Soompi forums

For the Cake:

[Since I get a lot of questions regarding these converted and difficult to measure amounts, I’ll say up front that I eyeballed these amounts to the best of my ability. I only provide the decimal measures so that you know what the proper amounts should be and can adjust and estimate accordingly. Please don’t worry about getting it EXACTLY right, I promise it doesn’t matter to that degree!!]

0.7 cups of all-purpose flour
0.8 cups of granulated sugar (split into 2 even portions)
6 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1.4 tbsp butter, melted
1.4 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 baking pans (8 or 9″ in diameter)

1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Grease the two baking pans on the bottoms and sides. Cut out wax paper or parchment paper to the size of the bottoms and lay on top of the grease. Apply more grease to the tops of the paper. Sprinkle some flour in the pan and shake to coat thinly and evenly on the greased areas.

2. Warm eggs to room temperature, and separate into 6 yolks and 6 egg whites. Be sure to separate carefully because any bit of yolk that gets into the egg whites will make whipping the whites much more difficult.


3. Mix first sugar portion (0.4 cups) with the egg yolks and beat until slightly thick and pale yellow.

4. Stir in vanilla to the yolk mixture.

5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they are 60% foamy (a little more than halfway to forming stiff peaks). Add the remaining portion of sugar (0.4 cups) in three separate additions while continuing to whip egg whites. Continue until stiff peaks form when the beaters are pulled away from the foam (this is meringue).


6. Combine 1/2 of the meringue with the egg yolk mixture, fold in carefully to minimize volume loss. Gradually add flour and mix.

7. Add melted butter and milk to the batter.

8. Fold in the remaining half of the meringue carefully. Now it’s ready to bake!


9. Divide batter into the two greased pans. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 340 degrees F until tops are a light brown. (Bake shorter in a dark, matte, or non-stick pan, and bake longer in a glass, aluminum, or other shiny pan). It’s important that you bake the two cake layers immediately after the batter is finished, as the meringue will tend to re-liquefy as it sits around, and you’ll get a weird thick layer at the bottom of your cake if you bake it like that.

10. Remove cakes from oven and leave in pan to cool to room temperature.


For the Custard Filling:

1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in 3/4 cup of milk and mix until smooth.

2. Bring mixture to a boil at medium heat, whisking constantly. Be careful not to scrape off any clumps that form on the sides and bottoms as it will leave clumps in your custard. If it is cooked onto the sides, you probably don’t want it anyway.

3. Cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat. At this point the mixture should have thickened up dramatically.

4. Mix together egg with remaining 1/4 cup of milk, then combine with the mixture in the saucepan, whisking vigorously to combine. Return to heat and cook until it just starts to boil. There will be a lot of lumps as you first incorporate the egg mixture, but just keep whisking as you heat it up and most of the lumps should disappear.

5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the custard to prevent any skin from forming on the custard. If you still have any remaining clumps in the custard now would be a good time to put some more elbow grease into the whisking and if you really can’t get rid of them just scoop them out :)

6. Chill at least 2 hours in the fridge or overnight if desired.


For the Whipped Cream Frosting (Stabilized Whipped Cream Topping):

2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 cups (1 pint) of chilled heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2.5 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar

1. Soak gelatin powder in the cold water for 5 minutes to let it absorb the water.

2. Dissolve gelatin by placing it in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water and stirring until clear. Let cool but do not let it get cold.

3. Meanwhile, use an electric standing or hand-held mixer to beat heavy cream in a large well-chilled bowl. (I like to throw my beaters and bowl into the freezer for a few minutes before beating the cream to make sure everything is super cold. I also prepare a bath of ice and cold water to put my chilled bowl into while I’m beating the cream so that everything stays nice and cold. These steps are crucial to making good whipped cream.
– Beat cream on low speed until small bubbles form (about 30 seconds)
– Increase speed to medium and beat until beaters leave a trail in the cream (about 30 seconds)
– Increase speed to high, moving beaters around bowl. Beat until just before it becomes soft and billowy.
– Slowly add sugar and vanilla at the sides of the bowl while continuing to whip until it is barely stiff.
– Add the melted but cooled gelatin all at once while beating, until cream becomes thicker and drier.

4. Use immediately for frosting or refrigerate for later use.


Assembling the Cake:

1. Carefully remove cakes from pans, cutting around edges if necessary.

2. Using a long serrated knife, cut away the skin of the cakes (the brown parts on the surface). Be sure to make the surfaces as flat as possible.


3. Prepare fresh fruits to be placed between the cake layers. I used kiwi, strawberries, grapes, and honeydew melon. Use whatever you have on hand, just cut it up into small bite-sized pieces and make enough to cover the entire surface between the two cake layers. You can also prep fruit to put on top of the cake as decoration at the same time.


4. Make a simple syrup of 2 parts water to 1 part granulated sugar by stirring together in a saucepan and slowly warming it up just until all the sugar dissolves. Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon.

5. Brush each cake with a thin layer of simple syrup on all surfaces. This helps keep the cake moist and is very necessary when making a sponge cake which can be too dry without syrup. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t make the cake taste too sweet or anything.

6. Set up your cake plate or cake round with strips of wax paper to prevent frosting from getting on the plate. Lay the first cake layer down onto the plate.


7. Spread a generous layer of custard onto the top of the cake layer, but do not spread it all the way out to the edges. I left a 1 cm strip along the edges without custard, because when you add the second layer it will press the custard and fillings towards the outer edge.

8. Add prepared fruit pieces on top of the custard, covering the entire custard area. It will be a beautiful sight! Add remaining custard on top of the fruit, again not going all the way out to the edges.


9. Place second cake layer on top of fruit filling. Gently press layers together and wipe away any excess custard that escapes from the sides.

10. Frost the cake using the stabilized whipped cream topping and a wide blade or a frosting spatula. It’s a bit of an art form to frost a cake, so I suggest you do a little bit of research if you care about what the cake looks like. Otherwise you can go the rustic route and make it look very homemade. I’m just going to suggest some general tips:
– Start by spreading a thin layer on top and on the sides of the cake. This is called the crumb coat.
– Next, generously add a second layer of cream to the top of the cake and spread to the edges.
– Add cream to the sides of the cake, and smooth it with your blade as you turn around the cake.
– Smooth out the top of the cake by running your blade flat and making sweeps across the cake as you turn it.


11. Now you can be creative about how you want to decorate your cake. I have a little cake decorator gadget (basically a piping bag in a plastic gadget) so I used that to pipe out shells along the top and bottom edge of the cake rim. I then make florets and stars on the top and garnished with my prepared fruit.


12. For the finishing touch, you can make a nearly clear glaze that can be brushed on top of your fruit to give them a glass-like finish similar to the fruit on top of fruit tarts. To do so, simply heat 1/4 cup of preserves (any flavor, I used strawberry but apricot is pretty popular) with an equal amount of water. Stir until boiling. You may add more water or reduce by boiling off the water to alter the consistency of your glaze. Press the boiled preserved through a fine sieve to separate out the fruit and seeds, leaving you with a pretty, translucent glaze. While it is still warm, gently brush it over your fruit and let it dry to achieve that beautiful shiny finish. I only brushed a little bit of glaze on my fruit because I couldn’t find a small enough brush and I didn’t want to ruin my frosting by accident. Still, I could see a huge difference between my glazed and unglazed fruit.

13. Finally, put your cake into the fridge and chill for a few hours to let the frosting set. It is best served in the same day it was made.


Addendum: One of my readers, Bonnie, who has made this cake successfully several times, generously did her own set of photo instructions for this recipe and shared it with us. Take a look for more help on this recipe! :)

116 responses to “The elusive Chinese bakery style birthday cake

  • Spire

    Thanks for posting this recipe and thorough instructions. I look forward to trying it soon!

  • Michelle

    This is soo great to finally find a recipe that comes close to what I have been looking for. The cake is green I'm guessing they flavored it that way. Now, the bakery that I order from has this cake but for the filling they have this like fresh coconut, but is very soft mixed w/ the outside icing for the filling that I love. The only problem is I have searched High and low for this coconut and nothing comes close to it. The jar kind is too jelly like and sweet. Would you happen to know what I am speaking of and where I may find it?

    • ela

      its called “sweetened macapuno” you can find it in 99ranch market, seafood city, island pacific or any asian stores it is from the Philippines.

  • Kelly

    Hmm..look good.I'll try to make it tomorrow…Thanks for the recipe!

  • SP

    Thanks for posting, I tried this recipe by using cake flour or low gluten flour, it was good!

  • Lucy

    Yep the recipe is for the same kind of cake that you linked to :) It is a little bit complicated, but it's worth a try if you ever find time. In the meanwhile, can you share your Japanese Christmas cake recipe with me? I've love to try that as well!

  • Marissa

    I would love to try this recipe, but uncertain on measurements you are using….

  • Marissa

    I would love to try this recipe, but uncertain on measurements you are using….

  • Michelle

    Hiya, I've finally found a recipe for chinese birthday cakes!!!! I'll certainly try this at home. Please keep me posted for any new upcoming recipe!!!! Also I am looking for birthday cakes recipe from hong kong. I love the cakes over there….

  • Lucy

    Hey Michelle! I actually tried a different Asian cake recipe over Christmas that I will be posting soon. It's much easier than this one, but the cake did not come out as good in my opinion. It still passes for an chinese cake though, if you don't have much time :)

  • Dianne

    could you send me a link for the korean ssaeng cream cake??

  • Lucy

    Hi Dianne,Here is the original link with the cake recipe (I made conversions and tweaked things as well as changed the frosting/filling recipes for my cake).

  • Dianne

    thanks a lot for the link! i'm about to try the frosting. maybe i'll try the cake part too. :)

  • Jessie

    Does it really only serve 6 people? I would think a 9 inch cake would serve more than that. I wanted to make this for a birthday party, but I'm not sure if it will be enought or not.

  • Lucy

    I'm sure you could serve 8 people too, but since this type of cake is not heavy like traditional buttercream frosting cakes, you can (and want to) eat more of it in one serving :)

  • Mariana

    Best recipe ever!!! thank you!

  • Rebeca

    would 0.7 all purpose flour be 7 cups? I'm confused

  • Rebeca

    Hi there,would "0.7 all purpose flour" be 7 cus of flour?I'm confused thanks :)

  • Lucy

    Hey Rebeca,I believe my recipe above says "0.7 cups all purpose flour". I hope that helps :)

  • Rebeca

    well 0.7 into cups or grams how much it is? I tried 7 cups and ended up making bread :(I only have ML and cup measurements.Thank you lucy :)

  • Lucy

    Oh I understand what you're asking now. It's not "7" cups, it's "0.7" cups, which is approximately 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp. You can just eyeball a little less than 3/4 cup as well, if you'd like. I'm sorry that you tried to use 7 cups and it didn't come out as you expected!

  • Rebeca

    Yea it was bad :( but it's all good I'll try again :)Thank you Good night

  • Rebeca

    Lucy I have one more question what sugar barnd you use for this cake?I used "sugar twin" calorie free one, but I could taste it wasn't that good. any suggestions?Would it be ok if it's low calorie sugar?Thanks

  • Lucy

    I just use regular granulated cane sugar from the supermarket. I imagine that using Splenda would be okay too, as they have a granulated form that is especially made for baking. I can't say anything from experience about other sugars, but if it's possible I would try to stick with real sugar.

  • Aggie

    Hey Lucy,Did you cake puff up in the oven and then depuff after?Like it was really puffy in the oven and then it seemed to fall back to being flat.

  • Lucy

    Hey Aggie, my cake did puff up and then deflate a bit out of the oven. I don't quite understand why this happens. It wasn't a huge difference, but it definitely got more flat. The taste and texture was still just right though.

  • Aggie

    ok thanks!!I haven't tasted my cake yet and I was worried that if it deflated it would be ruined and become dense again.My cake puffed up quite a bit in the oven but was almost flat when it cooled down.I hope it'll be ok

  • Aggie

    I tried the cake…it was still dense :(It had lots of little air holes in it but still dense.Yours was light and fluffy?

  • Lucy

    The texture of my cake was fine. It wasn't as fluffy as angel food cake or anything, but it was a good sponge cake texture. I suspect maybe yours didn't bake long enough (oven not hot enough? did you preheat thoroughly? check to make sure they are done with a toothpick to see if anything sticks). Either that or you may be removing too much of the air pockets when you are folding the meringue and flour into the batter. The flour has to be sifted and you have to be gentle and not over-mix or else you will lose the air pockets you spent so much time whipping in. Other than that I'm afraid I don't have other ideas for why it might be deflating so much, I'm sorry!

  • Jenn

    First of all, kudos to you for presenting to us a chinese-style bakery cake!! THANK YOU!! I crave them so much and I never know how to make it!!In terms of deflating, since it seems like a sort of sponge cake, the key is NOT TO GREASE THE SIDES OF THE PAN since the cake doesn't have a lot of leavening and needs something to grip onto. You can grease just the bottom and line it with parchment paper. Also, I do this with a chiffon cake–after taking it out of the oven, I cool it UPSIDE DOWN. haha. So it's sorta like an angel food cake, but not as extreme. Run a paring knife around the sides and it should come out alright. Hope this helps anyone with deflating problems :P

  • Olivia21

    Hey Lucy
    I made this cake today and WOW it was delicous and a huge hit with the family! Everyone is requesting it for their birthdays now lol. I have a bit of a sweet tooth so i added a little bit more sugar to the whip cream mixture and more vanilla to the batter and the whip cream and it was awesome. The cake turned out perfectly and smelled exactly like those swiss rolls cakes they have at the chinese bakery but better! I didn't do the custard mix for the center of the cake so i just added some fresh fruit (pineapples and strawberries diced)

  • Jenhuynh05

    Hello Lucy,I am a amateur at baking, and I have been trying this recipe for two times now, and twice i got a cake with this weird buttery bottom tough texture. The top to middle rises and falls and looks exactly like ur picture but the bottom half is not good. I think it's becuz i converted the numbers to Cups for the ingredients wrong, i only have measures of tablespoons, teasespoons, and cups. I was wondering if you could tell me exactly how many cups for just making the cake batter? i know from a previous post by rebeca she was also confused by the "0.7" cups too and you said it was 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp . how much is 0.8 cups sugar?, 1.4 tbsp butter? and 1.4 tbsp milk?1/2 tsp vanilla?

  • Lucy

    Hi Jenhuynh, I think for a sponge cake it is very important to gently fold together the ingredients like the beaten egg whites with the batter, to help make sure that the volume is preserved. Fold it together very carefully and don't stir too much, otherwise all the air that you beat into the egg whites will get smushed out and your cake won't be as light. I had a weird bottom for one of my layers because I let the batter sit for half an hour and the egg whites liquefied and separated out of the batter, so I just ended up cutting away the bottom part of that layer. It sounds similar to your problem. It is difficult for me to tell you exactly how much the measures are, as I eyeballed them as much as you would. The conversion from metric to cups/tbsp/tsp is always a little tricky. 0.8 cups of sugar would be just under 1/2 cup plus 5 tbsp (I just googled the conversion of 0.3 cups to tbsp). I don't have a better answer for the butter, milk, only that it is just a smidge under 1 1/2 tbsp each. The vanilla is of course just 1/2 tsp measure. I hope you have better luck on your next try! Baking really takes quite a bit of trial and error, so don't feel discouraged!

  • Lucy

    Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much for taking step by step pictures, I'm really glad this recipe works for you! I can't actually access the link you provided, is there a typo in the link? Just thought I'd let you know, I'd love to be able to see the pictures you posted!! :)

  • Bonnie

    So odd — it worked earlier today. Anyway, here's the actual, not-so-sexy long link:

  • Kayie

    Thank you for the recipe.

  • Jenhuynh05

    Hi Lucy!Thank you soo much for replying back, and sorry for my late reply >-<! But good news! I made a successful cake batter base on your reply :)! I am soo happy! I could kiss the stars! My mommy and daddy are going to be soo proud tonight :)!! They have been expecting a good cake out of me since i started wanting to make a cake ;-)! Thank very much Lucy, you gave me hope ;)!

  • Christine

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  • Christine

    Hmmm…for some reason it cut off my post above.
    What I had said was I meant to come back to comment earlier but am just now getting back around to it. I made this cake for Chinese New Years. There are no Chinese Bakeries in my city so it was a very welcome treat by my Aunts and Uncles. Some even went back for thirds! They told me I should consider selling it and my dad requested I make this again for his birthday next week :).
    Here's the link to my post:
    Thanks again!

  • jenett

    Hi, what kind of milk are you using? Like is it whole milk, 2 percent or fat free? I generally use fat free milk in my baking but this is my first Chinese cake so I'd like to make sure. Thanks!

  • Lucy

    I've made it with both fat free milk and 1% milk, so you'll be fine! Good luck! :)

  • Sunny

    hi lucy thanks for posting this i always wanna make a chinese cake, actually i want to make a chinese cake tomorrow for mother days, but there is part where i got confuse on the syrup part, what are the measurments? is it in cups when u said 2 parts water and 1 part sugar? thanks lucy xD

  • Lucy

    Hi Sunny! The sugar syrup was given as a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. So you can decide how much syrup you want to make: 2 cups water + 1 cup sugar, or 1/2 cup water + 1/4 sugar, or 2 tbsp water to 1 tbsp sugar. Basically just have twice as much water compared to the sugar. I don't give a particular amount because it depends on how much you feel like soaking your cake with, and you usually end up with extra since it doesn't take that much liquid to brush your cake layers. I think 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar is plenty. I'm glad you're making the cake for mother's day, what a lucky mom :)

  • Crystal

    Hi Lucky! I was wondering if you can still make this without a beater. Will it be super hard to mix everything together if you just mix it manually?

    • Lucy

      Hi Crystal, I think mixing the ingredients manually will be very time-consuming and it will be difficult to get the same kind of aeration in the egg yolks and whites. The one exception is if you have a rotary egg beater that you can turn the handle to by hand, which I’ve used before to successfully beat meringue (with the addition of cream of tarter to stabilize the egg whites). But I think investing in an electric hand beater is totally worth it for baking, you can get the el-cheapo version at Walmart or Target for $6 (literally, I’ve bought 2 of them for baking in different places), and they work just fine for most baking/cooking applications that don’t require mixing of thick heavy dough.

  • jenny

    I’ve already made this cake twice! I love this recipe! =) Thanks!

  • Lilian

    OH MAN, I just made this cake without any sort of beater (just a flimsy old whisk!) and it turned out PERFECTLY. My arm is soo sore! :D Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  • Tina

    Lucy, where did you buy your unflavored gelatin? I’m going to try to make this for my mom’s birthday in 2 weeks!

    • Lucy

      Hey Tina, you can get unflavored gelatin powder at any grocery store (a common brand is Knox). Look for it in a small box near the powdered puddings and things.

  • Hannah

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! I made it today for my little sister’s birthday and it turned out perfect. I doubled the recipe, though, because I wanted a taller cake, and I also substituted the butter and milk with vegetable oil and water because my dad is allergic to dairy. Wonderful cake…my parents both commented on how it tasted exactly like those “chinese-bakery cakes”! :)

    • Lucy

      I’m glad that your cake came out well Hannah! Doubling the recipe for a taller cake sounds like a good idea, I did always think that this cake was a tad flatter than I wanted it to be. Did you still do 2 layers with the batter? or 4 layers?

      • Hannah

        I divided the doubled batter into two pans. So it was still a two-layer cake, just with taller layers.

        • Katreetree

          Hi! I love ur idea of doing a taller cake and i have a question. Did u use 8-inch or 9-inch? I want to know becuz i only have 8-inch cake tins and idk if it is too small or not.. I wouldnt want to clean burnt cake batter from the bottom of my oven hahaha

  • Happy

    Hi thanks for the recipe. I was wondering whether gelatin substitute would be okay to use for the whipped cream frosting?

    • Lucy

      I have not tried using gelatin substitute before, but if you are referring to a vegan version such as agar agar I think it should be fine. Good luck, and let me know if it works for you!

  • Happy

    I also want to ask, how long can the cake be kept and how would you store it? I want to make it the night before and need to travel with it too @.@’

    • Lucy

      The cake can be kept for at least 3 days in the fridge, but the whipped cream frosting holds up best in the first day or two. Traveling with it is a little more risky, you’ll have to keep it in a place where it stays stable and flat so you don’t ruin your frosting/decorations. If it’s wintery cold where you are, then the temperature outside should be fine for traveling with it, but I don’t recommend traveling with it if you are someplace warm!

  • Jane

    I was wondering, do you think it will taste better or worst using evaporated milk instead of regular milk? Or if it will work the same? I’m wondering if that will give the cake a richer taste. Thank you!

    • Lucy

      Hi Jane! Are you planning to use evaporated milk after reconstituting it in water? If you do that, I think the taste will be the same as if you were using whole milk (so it will be a little richer than if you were using low-fat or skim milk, provided that you have evaporated whole milk).

  • Jane

    Also, does it matter if I use regular sugar verses Turbino sugar?

    thanks :)

    • Lucy

      Actually if you are referring to the turbinado sugar that comes in pretty big crystals, I would recommend going with a regular granulated sugar instead. The big crystals won’t dissolve as well into your batter.

  • Anna

    Hi, thanks for sharing this yummy recipe! I can’t wait to try it. My question is what is the 2 cups (1 pint) of chilled heavy cream? I’m in the USA and I’m not quite sure what’s heavy cream. Thanks!

  • JenC

    Hi. I’m really excited to make this cake for my family. I know know there’s been a lot if discussion about the measurements. I happen to live in an area that uses metric (e.g. we weight flour instead of measure a volume). Can the original units be posted?

    • Lucy

      Hi JenC! The original metric units can be found at the Soompi forum thread that I adapted my recipe from, which I linked above. I will link it here for you too:

      If there are any ingredients like from the custard recipe or the whipped cream recipe that aren’t mentioned in the forum, you’ll unfortunately have to convert them yourself (look online for a conversion tool, because the volume to weight conversion requires knowing the density of certain ingredients, but there may be quicker shortcuts available if you search for it). Good luck with your cake! And if you happen to figure out all the metric units for everything, I’m sure other people would appreciate a post here or a link to it! :)

  • Kristen

    I just made this cake for my roommate’s birthday! It turned out better than expected. I used strawberries, kiwi, and bananas for the fruit. I put toasted coconut around the edges. It was amazing! A huge hit for everyone. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Link to cake photo!

    • Lucy

      I love the toasted coconut idea, I have always wanted to try that on a cake, I just haven’t figured out how to do it without making a mess :P And thanks for the picture! I fixed the link so it would show up.

  • Julia

    Hey Lucy ! I’ve tried this recipe yesterday as a practice cake for my mum’s birthday and I was wondering why my cake seems to be chewy and not so ‘fluffy and light’? I’ve done every step except for the custard filling and replaced it with cream instead. Your recipe was delicious but I still want to make the cake more soft and spongy. Can you suggest What have I might have done wrong?

    • Lucy

      Julia, I’m sorry your cake came out chewy! I think you want to be careful not to over-beat the egg whites (stop just when you get stiff peaks), and it’s important that when you are folding the egg batter and the meringue together that you are careful to maintain as much volume as possible (if you deflate all the bubbles by mixing too much then the cake won’t rise and be light). You want to bake it quickly to prevent the bubbles from deflating while it sits also. Finally, it’s a silly thought but just make sure that your oven temperature is what you think it is, because lots of ovens are higher or lower than what it says. I hope that helps!

  • Susan

    This is an incredible cake! I never baked from scratch before and this cake turned out awesome! I made it on Saturday and we had it on Sunday for my husband’s b-day. Everyone thought it was store brought because it looked like it’s from the Chinese bakery! Everyone were commenting on how light the cake tasted and my son even licked his plate clean! :)

    Thank you soooooo much for sharing this recipe!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for posting this! I too had a hard time finding this recipe, so I was pretty happy to see this! I’m going to make this for my sister who will be thrilled. :)

  • daph

    wooo i’m so glad i found this!
    If i am bringing this to a party on saturday night can i make it on Friday night and keep it in the fridge???

    • Lucy

      Yep! Keeping it in the fridge overnight will be fine! I have also made the cake layers in advance and then kept it in the fridge overnight, assembling it the next day, that works too. Good luck!

  • Turtlegirlx07

    Was wondering if you know how many batches of this I would have to make to get a two layer 11×15 sheet cake. Thanks!!

    • Lucy

      Since this recipe makes for a 2-layer 9″ diameter cake, I calculated out the area of cake that it makes, compared to a 2-layer 11×15 sheet. It looks like if you double the recipe you’ll come out quite a bit under, but if you triple the recipe you will come out a bit over. I recommend you triple the recipe, better to have some leftover batter than to not have enough :)

  • Angela

    Hello Lucy
    Recipe looks great. Just wondering can I use this cake recipe to shape into a dinosaur (for my son’s 3rd birthday coming up)? So it would be like a custard, cream filled dinosaur cake. or is the cake too light that it’d be difficult to hold its shape? I don’t just want my cake to look good, I want it to taste delicious too!
    Best regards

    • Lucy

      Hi Angela, I think it would work only if your dinosaur is going to lie flat on the table (not standing up). The sponge cake is soft and does not hold up well if it has to stand up tall and be covered in frosting. However, if you plan to do a dinosaur lying down by using a mold or something, it should be fine. I would not recommend too much manipulation of the cake as the sponge is delicate. Sounds like it’ll be fun! I would love to see pictures! :)

  • Chinese Bakery-Style Birthday Cake with Strawberry Mousse Filling | Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

    […] my friend Lucy. – For directions on how to make the cake base and whipped cream frosting, click here or […]

  • Lili Small

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I used to work at a pre-school in Chinatown and I just loved the bakery birthday cakes that we would have for the kids on their birthdays. Last year, I adopted my daughter from China and I’m determined to make these awesome cakes a birthday tradition for her. I have been searching for a recipe and was so excited to come across yours. I can’t wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • Soua

    Hi Lucy!
    While this recipe was quite easy to follow, I’m not sure what I did wrong because the custard did not turn out good at all and for the whipped cream, it looked good but it lacked flavor :(

    I’ll probably try again once I gain my confidence back! Lol.

    Thank You!!

    • Lucy

      Hi Soua, it’s hard to know what went wrong, but I can tell you that both the custard and the whipped cream are tricky to make right, so don’t feel bad! The custard is easy to overcook/burn and can have a burnt taste and lumpy texture if that happens. The whipped cream needs enough powdered sugar to suit your tastes, which is often less for Asian palates but more for Western palates that are used to sweeter frostings. I would adjust to your liking and don’t be afraid to add more powdered sugar if that’s what you like. And I hope it works out better next time!

  • Denise

    Is it necessary to line the pan with wax/parchment paper? Cuz I don’t have any at hand right now. :(
    Is tin foil a valid substitute?

    • Lucy

      You can definitely try to use tin foil, but I can’t make any guarantees unfortunately, as I haven’t tried it myself. Good luck!

      • Denise

        Sorry for the double post D:
        Anyways, today, instead of using tin foil, I decided to do as my mom said and use coffee filters instead, and I think it done it’s job nicely. Plus, it was already in a shape of a circle so there was no need to cut anything. :)
        Thanks for the recipe; it was a delicious Mother Day’s gift. :)

        • Lucy

          No worries, and the coffee filter paper is a great idea! I never thought of that because I don’t brew coffee at home. Makes you appreciate your mom even more huh? :)

  • Katreetree

    Hi Lucy! Just wondering, but if I double the recipe and bake it in two 8-inch cake tins, would it overfill and be two much? Or should i just use the recipe as i an proceed in baking it with my two 8-inch cake tins? I want a four layer cake ^.^ so excited to try this recipe out! Do the cake layers in this recipe turn out thick/thicker in 8-inch tins? Thick enough for me to cut in half horizontally? Thanks ahead of time for taking the time to answer my questions! Thank you so much :)

    • Katreetree

      Also, since i want a four layer cake, should i double the custard recipe? Aiyahhh too many things to consider hahaha >.<

    • Lucy

      Hi there! I did actually make a 4 layer cake with this recipe by doubling the batter recipe. I did the same thing you thought of and put it in two 8″ round pans to cut in half later. It didn’t overfill, however, I felt that it came out too dense that way. So if you want to do 4 layers, I would recommend doubling the recipe and baking it in 4 separate cake pans for the best result.

      If anyone else has experience with it coming out well in just 2 pans, let us know!

      Also, to answer your question about the custard, I would say it depends on how tall you want your cake to be. When I doubled the layers and the filling, I ended up with a really tall cake, which is fine if that’s what you want. If you do a 4 layer cake I’d recommend reducing the amt of fruit you put in each filling layer so that it doesn’t become too tall. The actuality though is that you will have 3x the surface area to cover with custard, so I’d plan accordingly and maybe even consider tripling the custard just so you don’t run out.

      Let me know how your cake turns out!

      • Katreetree

        Thanks! And sorry for asking so many questions (I am a beginner baker :) but um what do you mean by denser? So it didn’t have the light fluffy spongy heaven-like texture? Also, if I do just go ahead and bake it in two 8-inch cake tins and NOT double it, will it be too thin too slice? Do the layers turn out thick or thin? Are they easy to cut horizontally or are they crumbly? I apologize again for pestering you with questions! >.< Thanks!

        • Lucy

          No worries! When I say denser I do mean that it’s not as light and fluffy as I prefer it to be for a sponge cake. If you bake it in 2 tins and don’t double the recipe, it will be too thin to slice into 4 rounds. The layers typically come out on the thin side. They’re not crumbly though, if you do attempt to cut them.

          • Katreetree

            Okay so i just decided to go along with the original recipe and have two layers and it was AMAZING! However, I kept breaking the egg yolks so i went through like two whole boxes of eggs hahaha. And i think i might have overbeat the egg whites becuz it wasnt soft and creamy like whipped cream; it was more like solid foam? Like it cut through cleanly a little like tofu? I dont know. And im not sure what i did wrong but the custard turned out like jello? It wasnt pudding-like. It was more like jello. Solid rather than creamy? I have no idea how that happened :( Is there something I can do to fix that? Well, I thank you so much for posting this recipe! And thanks again for addressing my questions :)

          • Lucy

            Sorry that you went thru so many eggs! It sounds like you beat the egg whites just fine, they shouldn’t be soft and creamy like whipped cream. They should be stiff and what you describe sounds just fine. The custard shouldn’t turn out like jello, I am guessing that maybe you overcooked it and it firmed up too much. If you try making it again I would suggest removing it from the heat sooner at the end. You can always heat it some more if it’s too liquidy but you can’t really undo it if you’ve overcooked it. Sometimes it helps to give it a good whisking to break it down but there’s only so much that can do.

  • Elsie

    Thanks for your recipe! I made a cake ->
    Everyone really loved it n___n although I think I messed up your cake batter somehow :c

  • phu nguyen

    Hey thanks for posting this recipe, its awesome!

  • alayna


    I am looking for a recipe for “Kong Sui Ban” it’s a chinese tea cookie they sell in china town. The recipes online are not the real thing. Hoping someone’s grandma might have taught the real way to make it.



  • Jenn

    This recipe is amazing!!! It took me about 4 hrs total but because you broke it up into 4 separate steps I was still able to make it for my Taiwanese American hubby for his birthday even with my 17 month old awake! :) it’s SO delicious!!! It takes a long time but following your recipe step-by-step it was actually really easy. Thank you SO SO much!!

  • nichol

    i live in china, and being a teacher, the parents bring in birthday cake almost weekly (it seems) for a students birthday! would anyone happen to know the nutritional value of this cake? mostly, calories and fat content? thanks! :)

  • Alsea

    Hmmmmm….the cake didn’t really work for me. The custard was amazing though!

  • Chinese Bakery-Style Cake | Angie's Bakery

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  • bornh

    Reblogged this on Walking in a forest and commented:
    Made this delicious cake for John’s birthday yesterday. Not too sweet which is exactly what I was looking for since John’s family does not like super sweet desserts (especially cake) and feels so light and fresh! It does take some time so you might want to break of the steps by doing a couple a day before. Thank you, Lucy!

  • George

    When you say vanilla, do you mean vanilla extract?

  • “Fated to Love You” Episode 7 recap | Noonas Over Forks 포크보다누나

    […] cream on top, and fluffy white cake on the inside. My Edible Memories managed to track down the recipe, and sure enough, there is a Korean version of the same cake: a Korean Ssaeng Cream Cake. I never […]

  • Elizabeth

    So amazingly delicious, thank you for sharing !

  • “Fated to Love You” Episode 7 recap | Noonas Over Forks

    […] cream on top, and fluffy white cake on the inside. My Edible Memories managed to track down the recipe, and sure enough, there is a Korean version of the same cake: a Korean Ssaeng Cream Cake. I never […]

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  • Mish Mish

    I’ve made this like 10 times. I love it. Wish I could post a pic! Bc they’ve turned out beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing! It definitely does take a lot of work but it’s so worth it. I started on a cake last night and gonna finish it up today for hubby’s bday. Gonna switch it up a bit this time and garnish it with chocolate covered strawberries and have strawberries and blueberries inside the cake.

  • Maria Jose Ruiz Imbert

    wow!!!!!!!! Thank you I was for a month in China, I’m diabetic but was tempted to taste it and even with the small little spoon they gave me when I tasted was like tasting heaven’s piece of cloud I will try it soon <3.<3!

  • FrugalHausfrau

    I was looking for a recipe like this, and love your detailed instructions! Thanks for sharing and I’m following, now! :)

  • Jenn’s Go-To Asian Bakery-Style Cake: Part I | Baking Alchemy

    […] search for a good recipe started on Google, which led me to Lucy’s “Elusive Chinese Bakery Style Birthday Cake” who got the recipe for Korean Saeng Cream Cake (생크림 케이크) from a forum called soompi. […]

  • Emily

    Thanks for this recipe. I made it for my Chineese students. They instantly knew what it was and gobbled it up! Between the cake and the hot pot I had they had a fun day of “home” while in school here in the USA.

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