This is absolutely one of my most favorite cakes. I remember the first time I had one at a children’s birthday party. Most kid birthday party cakes are so…well…kind of grossly sweet. The one at this party was purchased from a Chinese bakery and I was in love from the first bite.
If you’ve ever wanted to make one of these cakes, here is how to do it. Just use the sponge cake recipe Melissa posted as your cake base. Please note that I am not a Chinese baker and this is my interpretation of this delicious cake. If you need completely authenticity, you may not find it here, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve made a few of these for birthdays, Mother’s Day and a few other occasions. I don’t think I’ll be sick of them anytime soon!
What You Need
• 1 package mousse*
• 1 package of custard*
• One fully-baked and cooled sponge cake
• Fruit, cut into small pieces. You can use fruit like strawberry, canteloupe and mango, kiwi, other berries, canned mandarins, grapes and more.
• 2 cups of stabilized whipped cream
• 1 extra cup of stabilized whipped cream or icing for decorating **
* Most authentic Chinese sponge cakes include vanilla mousse and custard, but if you like a little chocolate, by all means go for it. Also, you can make your own mousse and custard from scratch, of course, but I usually use the packaged stuff, so I can concentrate on the decorating.
** You can do some decorative piping with whipped cream, but more complex designs are difficult. If you plan to do any detailed decorating, you may want to have some butter or shortening-based icing available to do your decorating. Most Chinese sponge cakes are decorated with whipped cream and fruit, so it’s not necessary to get too complicated.
How to Put Your Chinese Sponge Cake Together
Prepare the mousse and custard according to the package decorations. Cover and refrigerate to set for several hours or overnight.
Bake your sponge cake in advance as well, so it has time to cool completely. You can use a package mix or try our scrumptious recipe.
Cut the fruit into small pieces. You will need enough to cover 2 layers of your cake. If you plan to decorate the top of your cake with fruit as well, save some for that. If you use frozen fruit or berries, you may want to drain any excess liquid before you put them in your cake.
Prepare your whipped cream. Always use fresh whipped cream for your cake as it will taste much better. To keep your whipped cream stable for a longer period of time, try the stabilized whipped cream recipe. It will make it easier to decorate your cake and make it last longer, while still looking beautiful.
There is really no right or wrong way to assemble this cake because it’s going to be delicious no matter what, but here is my suggestion.
To start with, cut your cake twice to create 3 layers. You can use a knife, thread or a cake leveler…whichever is your tool of choice. The idea is to get 3 layers that are as even as possible.
Bottom Layer: Mousse and fruit. In the picture below, we’re using chocolate mousse and we topped it with fruit. I normally prefer vanilla mousse myself, but it’s what I had at the time.
Next Layer: Custard and Fruit. Now you can top the next layer with custard and some more fruit. I almost forgot to take the picture and put the final cake layer on top. Then I removed it and so you can see crumbs on the fruit. Don’t be alarmed, it’s not any extra special ingredient. 😉
Next, place the top on the cake. It may look a little lopsided, but you can usually smooth this out in when you top it with whipped cream.
TIP: If you want to avoid lopsidedness as much as possible, you can actually pipe some whipped cream in circle around each layer, going as close to the edge of the layer as possible. Do this before you add the mousse / custard and simple put the mousse and custard inside the whipped cream circle.
Top with Whipped Cream: Now you’re ready to ice the cake with whipped cream. Using a spatula, start by spreading the whipped cream on top and then work on the edges. Use a clean cloth to wipe off any mess from your cake board…there was definitely plenty of mess to clean up before the lovely picture below was taken.
I use this Wilton Trim-N-Turn Ultra Rotating Cake Stand to produce a smoother result. It was an extravagant purchase because my kitchen doesn’t need anymore gadgets, but this one was well worth it!
Decorate Your Cake: Now you can decorate your cake as you with. As mentioned, many traditional Chinese Sponge Cakes are simply decorated with whipped cream and topped with fruit.
You can also use icing to create more complex designs. Here is a cake made for a 40th birthday and Mother’s Day.