Spongey and bouncy Chinese Paper Wrapped Cupcakes just like the ones from the Hong Kong bakeries. Tastes amazing on its own.
Chinese paper wrapped cupcakes aka 紙包蛋糕 are deceptive little treats that don't look flashy but tastes amazing. If you've ever been to a Hong Kong style bakery, you've probably seen these tall unfrosted cakes baked in kraft cupcake liners and wrapped in clear cellophane bags. I admit it's so easy to pass up these cakes with their unassuming appearance but once you've tried them, you'll know why these are one of the most popular items for Chinese families to bring home from the bakery.
Recently, my husband brought some back home and renewed my taste for these H.K. style cupcakes again. I was infatuated with its spongey texture, fine crumbs, bold yellow color and sweet taste of eggs and vanilla. I tried my best to recreate this delicious cupcake based on one particularly outstanding version I tasted from a local Asian bakery. In my quest, I used trays upon trays of eggs and other ingredients to make this tens of times in order to get the taste and texture just right. We both love this final version and I bake it often as a quick treat at gatherings. I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy - approachable baking method yielding the most delicious stand alone cupcakes
- Simple Ingredients - uses basic ingredients found in every store
- Tender & Spongey - cake body is bouncy and sponge-like
- No Frosting Needed - tastes amazing on its own. Great for picnics, hot weather, lunch boxes, gift-giving and last-minute events.
What Do These Cupcakes Taste Like?
These cupcakes are sweet with flavors of eggs and vanilla. It has the scrumptious flavor of butter without the hard texture of butter cakes. It's bouncy with a sponge-like texture. In fact, one of the things I love to do with this cake is pulling it apart and feeling the bouncy resistance as it rips, a nice little sensory experience.
How Does It Differ to Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake?
To develop this recipe, I used my popular Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake as reference. That cake is less sweet and better suited as a layered cake for use with light frostings and additional toppings like fruit. It's also a bit softer and fluffier so it is best eaten on a plate with a fork.
This cake is made to be a stand alone cupcake that requires no additional frosting or toppings. It's a bit sweeter and very flavorful all on it's own. The firmer spongey texture allows it to be consumed easily in cupcake form.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cake Flour - cake flour is a low protein flour (protein content usually between 6-8%) which will help make this cake lighter and softer than if using all-purpose flour. You can also use "cake & pastry flour" which many stores sell, this is a blend of both flours with a lower protein (7-9%) than AP flour. It's ok to use AP flour if that is all you have. Cake flour needs to be sifted before use to prevent clumps.
- Salt - brings out the flavors in the cake and acts as a contrast to the sweetness.
- Granulated sugar -adds moisture and sweetness
- Egg - tenderizes the cake, adds structure and emulsification of the cake batter. Extra egg yolk adds extra flavor.
- Milk - provides moisture in the batter
- Oil - makes cakes more fluffy and bouncy (as opposed to butter). Use neutral flavored ones like grapeseed, vegetable, canola or avocado.
- Vanilla extract - rounds out all the flavors in the cake.
- Optional: Butter emulsion - this is the secret ingredient that makes this stand alone cake taste richer and sweeter without having to add extra sugar or butter. I had great success with this brand of butter emulsion.
Tips for Success
- Use cake flour instead of AP flour.
- Always sift cake flour to prevent clumps.
- Gently incorporate the dry-mix and wet-mix together until no lumps of flour can be seen. Do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake.
- For the meringue, use room temperature egg whites for better volume.
- Whip the egg whites in a clean non-plastic bowl free of oil (egg yolks) and water.
- Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks stage.
- Gently fold the meringue into the cake batter, retaining the air that you've built into the meringue. Do not stir.
- Use tall cupcake cups or tulip cupcake liners to allow cake to expand and climb the sides.
- Fully bake the cake to prevent shrinkage. The tops should be a uniformed golden color, bounces in the center, and starting to pull away from the sides. A skewer inserted inside should come out clean.
- Once out of the oven, lay cupcakes on its side to prevent shrinkage.
- For a nice sunny yellow colored cake body, use omega-3 enriched eggs. While not always the case, these eggs usually have a deeper yellow yolk due to the chicken's diet.
Step By Step
Pre-heat oven to 350* PREPARE WET MIX: In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until smooth. Add oil, milk, emulsion and extract, whisk again until it's homogenous. SIFT DRY MIX: In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Stir to disperse ingredients evenly.
COMBINE WET & DRY MIX: Create a well in the center of the dry mix, add the wet mix. With the balloon whisk, stir gently until no flour lumps are visible. Set this wet-flour mixture aside.
MAKE MERINGUE: In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy, add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. This is now the meringue.
FOLD MERINGUE: Gently fold the meringue into the wet-flour mixture in 3 additions being careful not to deflate the meringue. This will allow the cakes to rise nice and tall.
DIVIDE BATTER into cupcake pan lined with paper wrappers (see post body for instructions on how to make your own.) BAKE for 23-25 minutes. The cupcakes are done when the tops are golden brown, bounces back in the center and starts pulling away from the sides. When a skewer is inserted, it should come out clean. COOL sideways on a cooling rack to prevent deflation (they will deflate a little). Chinese paper wrapped cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or up to 5 days inside the fridge.
Which Type of Cupcake Wrappers To Use?
Tall paper cupcake cups or tulip cupcake wrappers like these are best suited for this recipe because they allow the cake to expand and "climb" the sides for a taller rise. It can be substituted with regular sized paper cupcake liners which will give you more cupcakes in total. You can also make your own tulip liners by cutting 6-inch squares of parchment paper. Place them over the cupcake baking tray and press down with a cup while pushing the paper to the sides of the tray.
Can It Be Baked In a Round Pan?
Yes! This recipe can be baked in two 8" round cake pans for use in a layered cake. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to ensure a clean release without tears. After baking, invert the pan on the cooling rack to prevent deflation. Once it is completely cooled, run an offset spatula (or butter knife) around the edges, then carefully tip the cake out.
How To Store and Make in Advance
After cooling, place the cupcakes in an air-tight container. They will stay fresh for up 2 days at room temperature and up to 5 days in the fridge. They can also be made in advance for future consumption. Just place the container in the freezer for up to 1 month and place them in the fridge to defrost the night before serving. For quick defrosting, just use the defrost setting in the microwave, in short bursts of around 10 seconds. Both methods will allow the cupcakes to come back to its original flavor and texture.
- 100 grams cake flour*
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt*
- 6 egg yolks
- 40 grams granulated sugar
- 50 ml neutral flavored oil*
- 60 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 teaspoon butter emulsion
- 150 grams egg whites*
- 40 grams granulated sugar
- 1 small mixing bowl
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Flour sifter
- Balloon whisk
- Handheld mixer
- Large cupcake wrappers (tulip paper liners)
- Cupcake pan
- Pre-heat oven to 350*
- PREPARE WET MIX: In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until smooth. Add oil, milk, emulsion and extract, whisk again until it's homogenous.
- SIFT DRY MIX: In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Stir to disperse ingredients evenly.
- COMBINE WET & DRY MIX: Create a well in the center of the dry mix, add the wet mix. With the balloon whisk, stir gently until no flour lumps are visible. Set this wet-flour mixture aside.
- MAKE MERINGUE: In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy, add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.* This is now the meringue. (Refer to process shots in the post body.)
- FOLD MERINGUE: Gently fold the meringue into the wet-flour mixture in 3 additions being careful not to deflate the meringue. This will allow the cakes to rise nice and tall.
- DIVIDE BATTER into cupcake pan lined with paper wrappers (see post body for instructions on how to make your own.)
- BAKE for 23-25 minutes. The cupcakes are done when the tops are golden brown, bounces back in the center and starts pulling away from the sides. When a skewer is inserted, it should come out clean.
- COOL sideways on a cooling rack to prevent deflation (they will deflate a little). Chinese paper wrapped cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or up to 5 days inside the fridge.
- Cake flour is a low-protein flour that will yield a softer cake. It can substituted with All-Purpose flour or Cake & Pastry flour.
- Fine sea salt can be substituted with table salt.
- Neutral flavored oils include: grapeseed, vegetable, canola or avocado.
- 150 g of egg whites is approximately 5 large egg whites.
- Be careful not to get any yolks in the egg whites. The meringue will not whip properly if there is any presence of fat.
- Optional additions: the meringue is the main leavening agent in this cake. If you don't have much experience in making meringue, you can use one or both of the following ingredients to ensure the cake bakes with a good rise. Add 1 teaspoon baking power to the dry ingredients and add ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar to the egg whites along with the sugar.
- This recipe can be baked in two regular 8" round pans. See post body for additional information.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 261Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 115mgSodium 147mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 1gSugar 15gProtein 6g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.