Mooncakes are normally filled with a sweet center like lotus nut paste, red bean paste or assorted nuts and candied melon. The prized ones even contain salted duck yolk for a nice salty-sweet balance.
My daughter, alongside many other children, generally prefer their mooncakes without filling. There’s something about the dense filling that’s not appealing to young palates. I was the same way when I was a kid.
This recipe is for basic mooncakes. In our household, we sometimes call them “doll” mooncakes, an acknowledgement of the young eaters. These beauties are soft yet slightly chewy. (They are not light and airy in the traditional sense of the word “cake.”) You could also use cute animal molds for this recipe; in fact, many Asian bakeries do, and the kids’ love it.
The sweet component of this recipe is the golden syrup. I’ve chosen to make it from scratch, which involves bringing sugar syrup to a rich brown color (or a “soft crack” stage at 285 ⁰F – for all you confectioners out there!), and then “loosening” the syrup by adding water to bring it to a pourable consistency similar to honey. If you’d rather not work with high-temperature sugar, you could simply buy premade golden syrup at your favorite grocery store. I should mention I have not tested this recipe with store-bought golden syrup.
I hope you enjoy making these treats. Put your own spin into it and make the mooncake tradition your own. If you have kids, get them to help you mold the mooncakes; they’ll love seeing a ball of dough “magically” transform into a pretty cake with intricate design.
Please take pictures and show me how yours turn out!