Friday, April 11, 2014

Steamed egg cake (Ji Dan Gao)

Surely everyone must have eaten steamed egg cake at least once in their life, right? ?  Yeah, I had a sudden craving for it in office yesterday afternoon, and decided that I should do one after I got home from work.  I have always love this cake from young. Yums!

Steamed egg cake aka ji dan gao is one of the few cakes that calls for little and simple ingredients.  4 items and you are set to go. A 5th item if you wanna mask some of the eggy smell and taste. Oh and did I mention that some patience and a strong arm strength is required too? Heh, that's how you get the fluffy end product. Good luck to those who uses a manual whisk to do the job :P

The simple 5 ingredients to soft and fluffy steamed egg cakes!
Our grandmothers were clever to have used soda water to make this cake as baking powder was not an easy find during the old days. 

Steamed Egg Cake (Ji Dan Gao)
Recipe by The Little Teochew
(I halved the recipe to make a 6-inch cake)

220g eggs excluding weight of shells (about 4 large eggs)
210g caster sugar
230g cake flour or top flour (sifted 2 or 3 times)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional unless you want to mask some of the eggy smell and taste)
6 tbsp cream soda or 7-Up or Sprite

1. Whisk the eggs till frothy, then start adding sugar a little by little,to ensure it is well-incorporated. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until the batter becomes very pale, thick and creamy. This takes time, and there is no shortcut. (This is why I said having patience and some good arm strength will do you good.)  Meanwhile, heat up your wok, pot or steamer until you get a gentle boil.  Do make sure it is large enough to fit the cake tin and have ample space for the batter to rise and the steam to circulate.

2. Fold in the flour in thirds, alternating with the soda, and ending with flour. Once they are no streaks of flour, stop.

3. To steam, either pour the mixture into a bamboo steamer lined with greaseproof paper or use a 6 or 7-inch lined baking tin. (Line the bamboo steamer first before starting with Step 1 so that you will not fumble with this step.) Pop it into the wok, pot or steamer - then cover - and steam on high for 30min. (I tested by inserting a clean skewer in the middle of the cake, when it comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise leave it on more further 5-10min)

4. Once done, place the cake on a rack and allow to cool before slicing.

 I did not have a smiley cake, but I was very satisfied with the texture it had!
To reheat on the 2nd day, steam it for 2-3 min and you will get back the soft fluffy cake again.

- If you want your cake to 'smile' (nice cross split) in the middle, you may sprinkle course sugar forming a cross on the batter surface.
- I will skip the vanilla essence the next time to get that full eggy smell and taste!
- Will try adding in a tbsp of fresh pandan juice to get a pandan flavour ji dan gao.

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