Category: 

What Is a Sweetheart Cake?

Article Details
  • Written By: R. Stamm
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The U.S. Coast Guard led the evacuation of more than 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan on 11 September 2001.  more...

September 27 ,  1940 :  The World War II Axis powers formed with the signing of the Tripartite Pact.  more...

A sweetheart cake is a Chinese pastry made with a crispy, flaky crust and filling of winter melon and spices. The cakes are made using only a few ingredients, giving them a sweet, but sour, and slightly spicy taste. Legends concerning the origins of the cake's name vary throughout China and other Far Eastern countries. While the little cakes remain popular in China, the cake’s popularity has declined in other regions throughout the Far East.

The outside of a sweetheart cake has a crumbly crust made from either water-based or oil-based dough. It is brushed with an egg wash before baking, and the delicate crust literally melts on the tongue when eaten. The filling is made with the flesh of a winter melon that is sweet when immature but can be bitter when ripe. In addition to winter melon, the recipe calls for a powder made from fennel seed, licorice root, cloves, and star anise, giving it a compelling and mild blend of tastes.

Ad

One legend connected with the sweetheart cake involves a poor couple living in China. The husband’s father becomes seriously ill, and the couple exhausts all their resources trying to help him recover. When the father does not get better, the wife sells herself into slavery to pay for his care. The husband is saddened by loss of his wife and makes little cakes in order to earn enough money to buy her back. He named the little cakes a “wife cake” or “sweetheart cake” for her.

Another legend involves a famous dim-sum chef working in Chinalane who decides to return home to his wife in Chiu Chao. Once at home, he made many different dim-sums for his wife and none pleased her. She preferred a winter melon cake that her mother made to any of the dim-sums he prepared for her. She made him the little cakes to prove that they were better, and he loved them so much that he took the recipe back to Chinalane. The restaurant called the cakes a “wife cake” after the chef’s wife.

These tasty cakes were traditionally eaten by guests at wedding celebrations in China, but are now eaten as an everyday treat. In China, the sweetheart cake is eaten for breakfast, at afternoon tea, or as just a general snack. At one time, the little pastries were common in many Far Eastern countries, but consumption has waned.

Ad

You might also Like

Recommended

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email