Chinese Steamed Cake

Although real Chinese dinners usually end with a piece of fruit, Western influence has caused a few changes. This cake uses Chinese techiniques to make a French inspired, and extremely moist, sponge cake.

Chinese Steamed Cake


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting


1 Arrange a large bamboo steamer or a large vegetable steamer over simmering water. Make sure it is large enough to hold the baking pan. Line a 9 inch square pan with waxed paper.

2 Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in a large bowl along with the sugar and water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture has increased about three times in volume. Whisk together the flour and the baking powder; sift this over the egg mixture, and fold in gently. Blend in the extract.

3 Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl to stiff, not dry, peaks. Fold into yolk base. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth out to edges. Rap the pan on the counter to get rid of large air bubbles.

4 Place the pan into the steamer. Cover the top of the steamer with a kitchen towel, and place the lid on top; the towel will absorb any steam that collects on top from dripping onto the cake. Steam for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Comments (4)


I tried this version of an Asian type sponge cake and was so thrilled. It is exactly like the soft little sponge pillow cakes I used to get at Jusco Mall in Okinawa, Japan. I do want to try to add chocolate cocoa powder to make a chocolate version. I used vanilla extract instead of almond, as the Okinawan cake I was going for was not almond flavored. I did try to make it in the microwave as I saw them do at the bakery, but it dried out and became tough, so I steamed the rest of the batter and it came out perfectly moist, even once cooled. Thank you so much for submitting this recipe. I can now have this cake any time and it will always bring back fond memories.


SkisInOkinawa, You should be able to microwave this recipe, too. Just remember microwave cooks much faster. So instead of 20 minutes, it probably will only need 3-5 minutes.


FloraFlora, I did try and microwave it and although I only cooked it a few minutes, it still dried out whereas the steamed sponge still retained its moistness after 30 minutes. I just got through making 4 of them for a party tonight. I experimented with chocolate and found that adding special dark powdered chocolate worked very well. It has a pleasant chocolate scent. I also made one with beni imo flakes. They are the Okinawan sweet potato, a beautiful purple color inside, but once baked in cake turns to a lovely green. The ones I used were like regular instant potato flakes, but made from beni imo. Definitely give this recipe a try! Next time I will try and make a green tea version and see how that turns out. Thank you to "Anonymous" for sharing this awesome recipe!