Snowskin Cake Truffle Mooncakes Are the Sweetest Way to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival – The Kitchn

September 12, 2022
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Joy Huang, of the blog The Cooking of Joy, has had a recipe for Snowskin Cake Truffle Mooncakes since 2019, and I wish I had come across it sooner. I mean, it wins on its name alone — cake truffles plus snowskin mooncakes? Be still, my heart!
Not only am I intrigued by cake snacks à la Milk Bar, but I also love to nerd out about Asian baking culture. Although I’ve written extensively about the topic and often develop recipes of my own, I still regard myself as a student. I can spend hours reading Kristina Cho’s tome, Mooncakes and Milk Bread, if left to my own devices. Some people count sheep; I doom-scroll through the fluffy, pastel-colored cyberspace of Asian or Asian-inspired desserts until I pass out. It was during one scroll session last week that I landed on Joy’s Instagram post about this very recipe. And what perfect timing!
The Mid-Autumn Festival begins this year on September 10. Celebrated in many Asian countries under different names, this multi-day festival welcomes the autumn harvest and full moon. In China, it is said that mooncakes are a symbolic food that people share with their loved ones to bestow prosperity and acknowledge the love that comes with togetherness.
Although I mainly celebrate Chuseok, a similar Korean autumn celebration with its own food traditions, I wanted to get into the festive spirit with a batch of Chinese-style mooncakes — and Joy’s recipe sounded too enticing to pass up.
Get the recipe: Snowskin Cake Truffle Mooncakes
This recipe begins with a filling made with your choice of cake ground into crumbs. Toss in whatever mix-ins you fancy and add enough of a binding agent (such as frosting or fruit juice) until the cake crumb mixture holds its shape when you give it a squeeze. Divide into equal-sized balls. 
Once the cake truffles are ready, it’s time to make the snowskin. To do that, you toast the rice flour until it smokes gently and turns light brown, then combine the rice flour with powdered sugar, rub in coconut oil or melted butter, and stream in water as needed. Mix until you have a soft, elastic dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers.
Portion out a small ball and roll out into a flat disc on a surface dusted with powdered sugar (corn starch is another option). Carefully wrap the disc around one cake ball, enclosing it well, then place seam-side down on the dusted surface. Using a 50-gram mooncake mold dusted with powdered sugar, press down to shape the mooncake. Repeat with the remaining cake truffles and snowskin dough. 
I will tell you what I told my Kitchn colleagues when I shared a photo of my finished product: These mooncakes were a beautiful lesson in patience. I was riding high after my first one came out flawless, but my ego was deflated by the next few, which were laughably blob-like. But I kept going until I became one with the dough, in both mind and body. (I was up to my elbows in cake crumbs and powdered sugar.) In due time, I had made a whole tray of stunning mooncakes to share with my community. 
Before sharing them, I obviously had to do some quality control to make sure they were fit for consumption. The flavor of the snowskin shell was lightly sweet; toasting the rice flour imparted a deep nuttiness that blew me away. Each bite had that chewy, melt-away texture synonymous with various rice flour-based dishes in Asian cuisine. But when the snowskin was wrapped around the cake truffle, I found the whole mooncake to be somewhat too sweet. It’s fair to say, in the true spirit of Mid Autumn Festival, one piece can deliver good fortune to many mouths. 
I would make this recipe again, but I’d change how I approached the cake truffle. The white mooncakes shown here were made of Funfetti cake bound with buttercream frosting wrapped in undyed snowskin dough, a combination I found a bit too sweet. The filling of the blue mooncakes was made from the crushed dregs of an Oreo sleeve that I mixed with softened cream cheese and some mini white chocolate chips — these were far less cloying. Next time, I’d round them all out with tangy cream cheese or, as Joy also suggests, opt for fruit juice as the binding agent for vanilla-based cake. Lemonade, perhaps?
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