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Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake Recipe (Ma Lai Go)

Updated on April 15, 2012
Steamed Sponge Cake - Dim Sum
Steamed Sponge Cake - Dim Sum | Source

You could be familiar with standard fare of dim sum dishes such as shu mai (shao mai), shrimp dumpling (har gow), steamed bun (char siu bao), spare ribs, steamed meatballs, congee, turnip cake and spring roll. Along with the savory dishes, dim sum restaurants also serve sweet treats such as egg tart, mango pudding and steamed sponge cake. Instead of baked cakes, Chinese love steamed cakes.

This Chinese style of sponge cake is very fluffy, light and moist. This delicious steamed cake also known as Ma Lai Go (Malay cake). Unlike Western style of sponge cake, Chinese steamed sponge cake is really straightforward. It's usually eaten plain without any icing or additional topping. Traditionally, brown sugar is used.


Serves 8

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

How to Fix

  1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  2. In a bowl. beat the egg whites until fluffy.
  3. Add brown sugar gradually.
  4. Continue to beat until the mixture is very stiff.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with fork.
  6. Then add vanilla and lemon extract.
  7. Shift the flour, baking soda and salt.
  8. Gently fold the flour into the yolks.
  9. Fold the egg whites mixture into the yolks.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer. Heat water in the steamer over high heat to a rolling boiling.
  11. Then lower the heat to simmer.
  12. Line two round pans with parchment paper. Each about 8-inch in diameter.
  13. Pour in the batter.
  14. Steam the cake over boiling water for 30 minutes or until the cake is firm, fluffy and cooked through.
  15. Serve it warm or cold.


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    • profile image

      adeline lee 3 years ago

      Tried yr recipe today. There is a lot of lumps. Step 8, By folding egg yolk with a fork, there is not enough liquid to fold in the flour? Mixture dry n lumpy.

    • profile image

      adeline lee 3 years ago

      Hi I wud like to ask about step 8. Folding flour into yolk? As yolk mixture is quite little it will look lije bread crumbs when combined n there are lumps? Am I right to say?

    • dezalyx profile image

      dezalyx 5 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for the recipe! I searched the net for other recipes for Malay Cake, and I was wondering if you can comment on the difference between yours and the other recipes I found that use yeast? Does it change the texture of the cake?