These Vegan Chinese Wife Cakes are made with a buttery and flaky crust. They are filled with sweetened winter melon. Chewy and buttery they are like mini hand pies.
According to legends, these Chinese Wife Cakes (SweetHeart Cakes) came from the story of a wife who sold herself to use the money to buy medicine for her ill father-in-law.
Upon learning about this, the husband dedicated himself to making a cake filled with sweetened wintermelon for his wife. He began selling them on the streets and it became so popular that he earned enough money to buy his wife back.
I only came to know about these Wife Cakes from a Chinese drama I loved watching growing up with a similar story of love and loss. They were one of my least favorite pastries but learning about the origin of where they came from made me appreciate and love them more.
We did not have them often growing up, but whenever my mom would get some, I think back to the story and remind myself of the power of love. Even when the world and our lives change every day and year, the love and memory we have for someone we care about never pass away. Love can outlast anything even when everything around us seems like it is falling apart.
Is there a legend in your culture that speaks to you?
If you’re ready to make these Vegan Chinese Wife Cakes, let’s start baking!Print
These Vegan Chinese Wife Cakes are made with a buttery and flaky crust. They are filled with sweetened wintermelon. Chewy and buttery they are like mini hand pies.
-¾ cup (110g) all-purpose flour, sifted
-3 ½ tbsp (30g) coconut oil, melted
-2 tbsp (20g) maple syrup
-¼ cup (45ml) hot water
– ½ cup (80g) all-purpose flour
-4 tbsp (35ml) coconut oil, melted
-1 heaping cup (200g) fresh, winter melon
-50g glutinous rice flour
-¼ cup cane sugar
-¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
-8 grams unsalted, vegan butter
-pinch of salt
-½ cup sesame seeds
-Maple syrup, for brushing
- Prepare the fillings. Heat a pan over medium heat with the butter. Add the winter melon and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and cook for another minute. Slowly add in the glutinous rice flour and combine well until smooth. Add in the sesame seeds and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Wrap with plastic wrap into a shape of a log and refrigerate.
- Make the water dough. Combine the coconut oil with the maple syrup and hot water. Slowly add in the flour and knead the dough until smooth. Set aside.
- Make the oil dough. Combine the flour and coconut oil together and knead until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dust a clean surface with some flour. Roll the water dough into a circular shape. Top with the oil dough and wrap the water dough over. Roll into a rectangular shape. Flip the dough over and roll once more. Roll the dough into the shape of a log. Divide the dough into 6 pieces.
- Take the filling out of the fridge and divide into 6 pieces. Roll into a ball.
- Roll one piece of the dough into a circular shape. Top with one of the fillings and roll the dough into a ball. Flatten with a rolling pin. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with remaining dough.
- Brush each piece with some of the maple syrup. Make 2 small cuts on top. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!
Keywords: wife cakes, chinese cakes, vegan cakes, winter melon