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Cooking Class  

Wife Cake

(Laopo Bing)

The “wife cake” or “sweetheart cake” is a popular pastry from China’s Guangdong Province and its nearby areas. The pastry features a light and flaky outer layer, with a soft and smooth filling and slightly sweet flavor. There is a touching legend that explains the origin of its name. Once upon a time, there was a couple that loved each other very much but lived in poverty. One day, the husband’s father became very ill. With no money to treat the father-in-law’s disease, the wife sold herself into slavery in exchange for the money to cover the medical costs. In order to buy his wife back, the husband made a cake with a distinctive flavor. It soon became so popular that he was able to earn enough money to ransom his wife. In the end they were reunited, and went on to live happily ever after.


For filling: 140 g granulated sugar, 230 g water, 150 g butter (or substitute peanut oil), 230 g glutinous rice flour

For outer dough: 150 g high-protein flour, 150 g low-protein flour, 100 g butter, 55 g granulated sugar and 150 g water

For inner dough: 150 g low-protein flour and 60 g butter


1. The filling: Stir sugar into water and bring to a boil; add butter and stir until melted; turn off heat. When cool add the glutinous rice flour and mix thoroughly until a dough ball can be formed. Refrigerate the ball for 20 minutes. Remove and knead the dough until supple. Set in the refrigerator again.

2. The outer dough: Mix the two sets of flour with butter and water, knead until consistent and forms a ball of dough. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.

3. The inner dough: Mix the low-protein flour and butter till they form a smooth ball of dough.

4. Divide the outer dough and the inner dough into several equal portions; wrap the inner dough with the outer dough and pinch to close; roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin into an oblong shape and then roll it in your palms to form a cylinder. Repeat that action three times. Flatten the dough with the rolling pin and place some filling in the center, then pinch the edges up around to close. Gently press it into a round cake.

5. Baking: Cut two slits into each pastry, lightly brush the top with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Preheat oven to 200oC and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and serve.

VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us