Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ji Dan Gao (鸡蛋糕) [Steamed Sponge Cake]

I remember when I was a kid,  Ji Dan Gao (literally "egg cake")  is the only CAKE that I knew of.  It is actually a steamed sponge cake with a light and soft texture.  To give a slight tangy flavour, I added orange zest and lemon juice to this recipe.  It is really simple .... and moreover it brings back some pleasant childhood memories ....


5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 orange

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g caster sugar

150g cake flour *
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil

8" cake pan - lined with baking paper
10" bamboo steamer

  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  • Beat egg yolks and sugar (on High speed) for about 5 minutes or until thick, pale and fluffy.  At this point, when you raise the beaters, the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.  Add in the zest.  Combine.
  • Gently, fold in flour mixture (in 3 additions)  with a spatula until incorporated.
  • Add in oil and stir to combine.
  • Meanwhile, boil water in a big pot (or wok) big enough to fit the bamboo steamer.
  • In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it.  Then fold in the rest until well blended.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan and place the pan into the bamboo steamer.  Steam over high heat for 30 minutes or until cake is done.  (If necessary, add more boiling water to maintain the water level).
  • Remove pan from the steamer.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring onto a plate.   Enjoy ...

I made my own Cake Flour because it is really easy to make and cheap as well!   
To get 1 cup sifted cake flour:   85g sifted plain flour + 15g cornflour and sift well (at least 3 times)  
I usually made a lot and then measure or weigh the amount of cake flour from this mixture as required in the recipes.


  1. wow...this cake look very moist. Will bookmark this recipe and try making one day. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My ji dan gao has never been unsuccessful, often not light and has lots of little holes (like burst air bubbles) on the surface.Would you now why?

  3. I understand that over beating the batter will cause air bubbles in it. A sure way to get rid of most of the air bubbles is after filling your cake tin with batter, gently rap the bottom of the tin against the kitchen countertop to knock out the air bubbles. Let me know if it solves your problem. Good luck!

  4. Hi Veronica !
    My mom and aunts love to make this cake as they feel that it is healthier than the "western ones". We also love to mix a little portion of the batter with milo powder and create some swirls in between so that it looks like a marble cake, not sure if you have tried it before but it is yummy !

    1. Sounds like a good idea to use Milo and make like a marble cake. Thanks for the tip.

  5. I tried this recipe, it is delicious but sadly the cake didn't rise? Do u know what went wrong?

    1. I could only speculate - eggs not beaten enough as sponge cakes depend on the air that you beat into the eggs for their light, airy texture. Could also be improper mixing or the temperature of the oven too hot. Good luck!


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