Wing Wah Cutie Wife Cake (16th November 2013)

My baby's back from Hong Kong!

Jono has been away since Monday on his annual Google conference and this year, the event was held in Hong Kong. Much as I would have loved to join Jono on his trip (since I've never been to Hong Kong), we've several upcoming holidays so couldn't really afford me taking more time off work. I have to say I was pretty impressed at how much ground he covered in just a few days - I gave Jono a list of things to do/see/eat and he had nearly checked all of them off, including lining up at one Michelin star Tim Ho Wan for dim sum (I'm SO jealous!). We'll have to make another trip to Hong Kong so I get to experience it all!

My lovely husband got me a little present from Hong Kong International Airport - a box of Cutie Wife Cake. Made by restaurant chain and food manufacturer Wing Wah (who are most known for their moon cakes), my pretty box consists of nine individually sealed packets each containing a small 'wife cake'. Now you ask, what is a 'wife cake'? Well, it is a traditional Cantonese pastry with flaky and thin skin made with winter melon, almond paste, sesame and five spice powder. The pastry is called 'lao pao bing' in Mandarin which literally translates to 'old lady cake' but most pastry shops market them as 'wife cake' or 'sweetheart cake'. I supposed the term 'cutie' was added to the Wing Wah version because they do look rather small and cute. "For my cutie wife," said Jono. Hehe...


My present from Hong Kong - a box of Cutie Wife Cake :)

There are several versions of the story from which the term 'wife cake' came about and the most popular is this: There was a poor but loving couple living during imperial China. One day the husband's father became sick and the wife knowing well they could not afford the medicine went and sold herself to slavery in exchange for the money. The husband in learning this made a cake filled with sweet winter melon and almond, dedicating it to the memory of his wife and sold it on the streets. The 'wife cake' became so popular that he earned enough money to not only cure his father but also buy his wife back.

According to Jono, the Cutie Wife Cake comes in several varieties and he decided to get me one with Red Bean & Chestnut Paste Filling. A quick look at the Wing Wah website tells me you can also get the cakes in varieties including White Lotus, Green Tea, Honey and Pineapple. I've had 'wife cake' a couple of times growing up in Malaysia and frankly, I never really like them - the ones you get in Malaysia are quite large and has a thick flaky and powdery crust, the filling made with chunks of candied melon sometimes too sweet for my tastebuds, and an overdose of five spice powder. Oh, but THIS one is GOOD (and it's not just because my husband bought it) and tasted nothing like the ones I've had before. The single-serve Cutie Wife Cake is only 6.5 cm in diameter and has a thin sweet flaky pastry filled with a good proportion of red bean and chestnut paste. I like that it wasn't overly sweet and if you read the print on the box, it actually says that top grade New Zealand honey is added. Hmm, interesting...The box also came with cooking directions - it needs cooking??? Though you can have it straight out of the pack, if you follow the instructions and zap the cake in the microwave for 30 seconds on medium power, it totally makes a difference - now the Cutie Wife Cake taste as if freshly baked from the oven! 


Cutie Wife Cake with Red Bean & Chestnut Paste Filling

Thin sweet flaky skin with generous filling

Thank you husband for the cakes!


Comments

  1. Love moon cakes, haven't had any in ages though!

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  2. Can't wait for the next mooncake festival :) This year was awesome though I was a bit busy Chinese Restaurant in Capalaba

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  3. Hey Angelica!!

    How thoughtful!!!! Hong Kong is a great place, loads of eateries and cheap dim sum places!! You should go there, you'd love it !!!

    I saw one of these wife cakes in Chinatown once, pointed it to my husband-to-be and said "Can't wait to have one of these" hehe! ;)

    Was lovely meeting you at the picnic!

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, might have to go check out the ones in Chinatown and see if they are any good...

      Was lovely to meet you at the picnic and hope to see you again soon at the next foodie event :)

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