August 17, 2020
Mooncakes are one of the most essential things for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival.
When it’s the time of the year, cake shops and bakeries around us start to offer this delicacy.
While most mooncakes we eat during the Mid-Autumn Festival are the traditional Cantonese-style baked mooncakes, there are many more versions, including no-bake snow skin mooncakes.
Traditional mooncakes are mostly distinguished by the Chinese region they come from.
Each type of traditional mooncake has unique characteristics. They vary in flavour, texture, and appearance. Some are sweet, and some others are savoury.
The only thing they have in common is that they require baking.
Meanwhile, contemporary mooncakes do not require baking. Unlike traditional mooncakes, they’re best served cold.
We’ll celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1st this year (2020), and if you love mooncakes and are wondering what kinds of mooncakes you can devour this mooncake season, here’s the lowdown.
This article will cover 10 Types of Mooncakes from savoury pork-filled mooncakes to colourful, flaky mooncakes that you can enjoy this Mid-Autumn.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
This is undoubtedly the most common type of mooncake found around us.
Cantonese-style mooncake is easily characterised by its lotus-like shape, with a decorative embossed pattern on top. It’s often gifted among relatives and friends several weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Its golden-brown skin encases a sweet filling. Traditionally, the filling consists of lotus paste with one or two salted egg yolks in the middle, depending on the mooncake’s size.
Since lotus paste production is a laborious process, mooncakes with pure lotus paste and premium ingredients can be quite pricey.
Other fillings for Cantonese mooncakes include various sweet pastes, the most common ones being red bean, mung bean, and black sesame.
Five-nut mooncake (五仁月饼; wu ren yue bing) is another classic mooncake filling with a balance of sweet and savoury.
Some mooncakes also have savoury fillings such as roast pork, chicken, and Chinese sausage.
Image source: Instagram | @jacqbakes
Shanghai mooncake is characterised by a skin made of shortcrust pastry.
Unlike the skin of Cantonese mooncakes which is relatively soft, the skin of a Shanghai mooncake is crisp and crumbly.
The shortcrust pastry in Shanghai mooncake has a strong buttery taste resembling biscuits or tart crust.
Making the pastry involves rubbing fat into flour to create a crumbly texture. If you’ve succeeded in making a tart crust before, baking some delicious Shanghai mooncakes won’t be that challenging!
Read more: A Basic Introduction To Tart Making If You're Interested But Afraid To Start (Tart Tips, How To Blind Bake And Tools You'll Need)
This type of mooncake is much like a modern twist to the traditional Cantonese mooncake.
Shanghai mooncake is also commonly filled with lotus paste and salted egg yolk, which makes a pleasant combination with the buttery skin.
If you’re more into savoury baked goods, Suzhou mooncake would be a perfect snack.
Suzhou mooncake consists of a crisp, flaky crust that encases a delicious pork filling similar to our gyoza.
Lard is traditionally used to make Suzhou mooncake skin for maximum flavour and flakiness. Nowadays, it’s common to substitute it with butter or vegetable oil to obtain a milder taste.
Read more: 6 Different Types Of Oil And How To Use Them For Baking
Creating the layered appearance in Suzhou mooncake involves making two types of dough: water and oil dough.
Both of these doughs are combined and rolled out several times to create a distinct layered appearance.
Suzhou mooncake is usually marked with an edible red stamp or a sprinkle of black sesame seeds on top.
Image source: Instagram | @bakewithanh
It’s obvious how the Teochew mooncake got its nickname.
With alternating layers of coloured pastry that gives an illusion of infinite layers, it is no wonder that it’s nicknamed the “thousand-layer mooncake”.
Teochew mooncake is usually filled with sweetened yam, red bean, or mung bean paste. Some versions also include a salted egg yolk inside.
Like Suzhou mooncake, the same method is used to create the layered skin.
However, the water and oil dough are given different colours, which results in the beautiful alternating layers.
Their impressive appearance makes them perfect for gifting on any occasion!
Image source: Instagram | @lynae.w
Yunnan-style mooncake is another type of savoury mooncake. It has golden skin with a crisp exterior, but is soft inside.
The most popular filling for Yunnan-style mooncake is a mixture of ham, lard, honey, and sugar.
A special type of ham—Xuanwei ham—is used for Yunnan-style mooncakes.
Yunnan’s climate is known to be suitable for curing hams, making Xuanwei ham a specialty. However, not everyone will take to the sweet and salty flavour combination.
For those who can’t get used to the ham-filled mooncake, the Yunnan-style flower mooncake would be more enjoyable.
This type of mooncake contains edible roses and is unique to Yunnan. It is delicate, and is slightly sweet with a hint of sourness.
Image source: Mark Ong | Makansutra
In China, the Hokkien mooncake is often given as a good luck charm for students when they’re studying for their exams.
There’s a whole history behind this tradition.
Also known as the scholar mooncake, the Hokkien mooncake was gifted to scholars who sat for the imperial examination during China’s dynastic era. The largest mooncake would be given to the top scholar.
Hokkien mooncake has an almost pure white skin, resembling the moon. There’s usually a large red stamp with Chinese characters on top.
The base and sides are sometimes coated with sesame seeds to give it a distinct fragrance. It’s filled with a mixture of candied winter melon, tangerine peel, melon seeds, sugar, and lard.
Hopia is characterised by its small size and thin, flaky skin.
It is traditionally filled with mung bean paste, purple yam, or azuki bean paste. This mooncake is gaining popularity as a modern-day treat, and more filling variations are created to this day.
This type of mooncake can be found all year round in the Philippines and Indonesia.
It is relatively inexpensive compared to the other types of mooncakes. Hence, it’s often brought as souvenirs and eaten as an everyday snack.
Bakestarters' Snow Skin Mooncakes
Snow skin mooncake is possibly the first and most popular type of no-bake mooncake.
While traditional mooncakes are baked, making snow skin mooncakes does not involve any cooking.
The skin is made from cooked glutinous rice flour (糕粉; Gao Fen), which gives it a smoother texture and distinct fragrance.
Unlike raw glutinous rice flour, Gao Fen will become adhesive once it’s mixed with cold water. This helps in creating a malleable dough that won’t break when it’s pressed into the mould.
Snow skin mooncake has embossed patterns on its surface like a Cantonese mooncake, but it mostly comes in pastel colours.
There are countless possibilities of snow skin mooncake variations. Any natural or synthetic flavourings and colourings can be added into the dough, and the only limit is your imagination!
There are a variety of fillings for snow skin mooncake, but sweet ones are more preferred.
From the traditional lotus paste-and-egg yolk combination to experimental flavours like milk tea and Ondeh Ondeh Mooncakes, there’s bound to be something for everyone!
Shop our no-bake snow skin mooncake kits
Ice cream mooncake is made of ice cream coated with either snow skin dough or melted chocolate. It’s moulded in a traditional mooncake mould, giving it a similar appearance to traditional mooncakes.
Ice cream shops typically offer this type of mooncake as a seasonal treat.
It won’t be difficult finding an ice cream mooncake with your favourite flavour throughout the mooncake season!
Sometimes, an “egg yolk” made from orange-coloured ice cream is added into the mooncake for aesthetic purposes.
Image source: Instagram | @lengmomkitchen
It might only resemble a mooncake in terms of appearance, but the Jelly mooncake gets as much love as the other types of mooncakes.
It’s not too challenging to make, and it’s very refreshing when enjoyed on a hot day.
All parts of the mooncake are made using agar-agar powder, with different colours and flavours to resemble an actual mooncake.
Since each part has to be made separately, making a jelly mooncake can be quite time-consuming.
Another variation is made with a transparent or translucent jelly base and filled with fruit pieces.
Jelly mooncake might be the farthest from traditional mooncakes, but it’s certainly one of the prettiest!
The many varieties of mooncakes can sometimes make it hard to choose, but it also ensures that there’s always something for everyone.
Whether you’re baking mooncakes yourself or getting them from bakeries, mooncakes taste their best when shared with your loved ones!
Mooncakes are undoubtedly beautiful, and delicious.
However, making mooncakes from scratch can feel intimidating at first. With our snow skin mooncake baking kits, you can now make your own mooncakes with confidence!
Pick your favourite among five of our snow skin mooncakes flavours and experience the fun of making this sweet treat this Mid-Autumn Festival.
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