Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Egg Cake)

A light and soft plain Chinese spongecake. Steamed and no added fats! This cake is traditionally served for dim sum.

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In the spirit of “healthy” eating, I decided to share a Chinese steamed cake with you guys today. Yup, steamed. No baking involved. No oven needed, just a stove. This cake is soft and super fluffy. It contains just 5 ingredients and has no added fats! A healthy cake! Although.. I must admit there’s still sugar involved. So I guess it’s not that healthy. This chicken stirfry is what we call healthy. But who makes cake without sugar? I certainly don’t. Without sugar my Lemon Glazed Vanilla Cake, Apple Cinnamon Mug Cake and Almond Chiffon Cake wouldn’t be half as good. Let’s face it, sugar makes all cakes better. Oh well, we can’t have it all, right? No fats รกnd no sugar?! The answer to that is a cucumber ^^” So let’s just call this recipe semi-healthy. Just to keep everybody happy. No added fats and a bit of refined sugar. Either way, this cake is definitely delicious and it’s the most basic cake you’ll ever find. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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For this cake you’ll need eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt. That’s it. There’s no leavening. This cake gets its fluffiness from beating plenty of air into the eggs (and sugar) on top of a pot of boiling water. Make sure to add one egg at a time with a bit of sugar to ensure maximum incorporation. Then, fold in the rest of the ingredients little at a time. You’ll want to add little at a time to prevent lumps and to make incorporation easier. Trust me, patience is key. Take care not to overmix though, as overmixing will make your cake chewy. Not good. Finally, pour the batter in a bamboo steamer. I got this 12 inch (30 cm) bamboo steamer at the Chinese supermarket. Steam the cake about 15 minutes on high heat. If you have a smaller bamboo steamer/baking pan, the cake will take longer to cook. You can test the cake by inserting a cake tester in the middle of the cake. It should come out clean.

Serve the cake immediately with a cup with a hot beverage like tea. The cake is best when served warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or can be steamed for a couple of minutes on high heat. Enjoy!

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Do you own a bamboo steamer yet?

Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Cake)
Serves 10
A light and soft plain Chinese spongecake. Steamed and no added fats! This cake is traditionally served for dim sum.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 eggs (L)
  2. 150 g sugar
  3. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 150 g flour
  5. ยผ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 30 cm bamboo steamer with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Place a heatproof bowl on top of a pot of boiling water.
  3. Add one egg and 1/5 of the sugar to the bowl, and beat until combined. Repeat for the other eggs and remaining sugar.
  4. Beat the egg mixture until it becomes light and thick. The batter should take a few seconds to drop from the beaters. It should take about 5 minutes of beating until the mixture reaches this stage.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt.
  7. Using a fine sieve, sift in the flour little at a time and fold it in the batter.*
  8. Pour the batter into the bamboo steamer and steam on high heat for 15 minutes** or until a caketester comes out clean.
Notes
  1. * Sifting and adding little at a time ensures a smooth batter.
  2. ** If using a smaller steamer, the cake takes longer to cook.
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8 thoughts on “Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Egg Cake)

  1. I’ve never heard of this cake but it looks delicious. I have a bamboo steamer but I haven’t gotten to use it much yet, can’t wait to try it using this recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. You should definitely try it! It’s really light and not too sweet (if you’re into that ofcourse). Also, dumplings and pao’s (Chinese buns) are great (and delicious) ways to use your bamboo steamer too ๐Ÿ˜€ Let me know when you try this cake ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi miss Carmen Loh, thank you for your question. By heating the mixture, the sugar dissolves better and the other ingredients incorporate better with the eggs. This way you’ll ensure a light and fluffy cake. Good luck!

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