Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mid-autumn festival and its cakes.

Edit: I can't believe I forgot to mention, that the chinese character you see on the mooncake is "艾", which is the Ai in Aiclay if you write it in Chinese. :)

The Mid-autumn festival (or some call it the Moon festival, or Lantern festival, or Mooncake festival. Let's not bother with technicalities shall we?) was always one I remember fondly from my childhood.

Durian snowskin mooncake with durian mousse filling.

There is a hill beside my house, which my mom would bring me and my brother to when the sun went down on the day of the festival. It was a really pretty sight from far, with colourful, brightly-lit lanterns dotting the hill.

There was a certain air of excitement, especially when it was a particularly dark evening, and everyone's faces were hidden behind their lanterns. I would hold out my animal-shaped lantern (I believe rabbit was my favourite) happily as I joined the parade, with my little brother in tow.

Yam snowskin mooncake filled with sweet bean paste, and a white chocolate truffle centre.

When we got tired of showing off our lanterns, we would sit on the ground and play with candles and fire. I remember that was when I first learnt how to use wax to make a candle stand upright.

Strawberry snowskin mooncake with lotus paste filling and a salted yolk centre.

Burning your fingers with the hot wax was a necessary risk, and we would write words and draw cartoons with the dripping wax. It was the one day that mom actually approved of us handling naked flames, and me and my brother made sure to take full advantage of it.

Snowskin mooncakes measuring at 0.8cm or 0.3inches across.

Now that I think back, I feel sorry for whoever had to scrap off all the dried (but colourful) wax from the ground the morning after.

In the present day, the festival is celebrated mostly the same way. Of course you've got much more sophisticated animal lanterns, with electronically-powered moving paws and music blaring out from their battery-stuffed tummies.

Call me traditional, but I very much prefer the paper lanterns with the soft flame flickering through. Knowing that your lantern could be burnt to papery ashes by a toppled candle just added to the fun of it all!

As I grew up, I started to remember and celebrate festivals mainly with the food it is associated with, more than anything else. :(

Baked mooncake with sweet bean paste and yolk centre.

 Now, Mooncake festival is a lot less about lantern-carrying or drawing wax cartoons, and a lot more about heading down to the city's Mooncake Bazaar and sampling all the mooncakes they have, from the wacky (caramelised cheese, peanut butter, roasted pork) to the traditional (lotus paste, bean paste).

Now that can't be good for the Chinese culture (or my tummy).

Baked mooncakes measuring at 0.8cm or 0.3inches across.

Next year, I will abandon all worries of looking like an overgrown lantern-carrying kid and burnt fingers, and rediscover the childhood joys of the festival.

For now, I should really finish up the mooncakes which are still sitting in my fridge. :)


  1. Wow, these are so lovely! I was hoping to make miniature mooncakes as well, but I just can't seem to keep on top of my to-do list. Ah well, next year. ;)

  2. thanks Mo! :) and tell me all about it, my to-do list is getting outrageously long! :X

  3. ooh im loving these! love your dollies too!