I do not how many readers are aware that osmanthus flower is a very important flower in the celebration of mid autumn or mooncake festival. This is a flower that usually blossoms during lunar 8th month in the Northern hemisphere especially in China and Chinese literature have lots of linkages of this flower to the festival. I personally find that it is very meaningful to serve this cake during the festival especially those who does not like mooncake or unable to eat mooncake due to health reasons.
If you studied the basic mooncake festival paintings, you will note that there are always a moon (月亮）， moon princess ( 嫦娥）, rabbit (月兔）， a man (吴刚）and a tree. The tree referred to as is the osmanthus tree .
Pic Courtesy of: http://www.i-china.org/ewebeditor/uploadfile/20121008113614489.jpg
The osmanthus tree is related to this famous old legend -Wu Gang felling the osmanthus tree (吴刚伐桂). In the moon palace (月宫）where Chang Er (嫦娥）stay together with the jade rabbit (玉兔）， Wu Gang was punished by the God to cut a self healing osmanthus tree in the moon palace and whenever he chop the tree, the tree will heal itself. This soon become a phrase in modern Chinese to describe an endless toil with a futile effort.
Besides the above legend, there is a Chinese saying: “花好月圆“ （hua hao yue yuan) or literally translated as elixir of love and the hua or flower referred here is osmanthus flower as the full sentence for this proverb shall be: “八月十五桂花香，花好月圆”。 During 15th of the 8th lunar month, the moon is round and the aroma of osmanthus can be smelled everywhere which translates to everything is wonderful with perfect happiness。 This phrase is not only commonly used during the festival but also used in the wedding occasions.
During Mid Autumn Festival, traditionally, Chinese are celebrating by sitting under the osmanthus trees (桂花树下）, appreciate the osmanthus flower （赏桂花）, drinking osmanthus wine or cassia wine（喝桂花东或蜜酒）and osmanthus tea ( 饮桂花茶). In addition, osmanthus blossom in Autumn together with many other beautiful flowers such as chrysanthemum. Of course, as osmanthus flower was not common here, this tradition may not be maintained in the region.
Since after I issued my recipe of Osmanthus Gojiberries Jelly (桂花枸杞糕）as in the picture above, I have left with lots of osmanthus flower, I have decided to prepare a huat kuih for this festival. For those who have religious praying that need a huat kuih or prosperity cake, you can try to prepare this meaningful cake that is aromatic, soft and delicious.
Huat kuih and muffin is the same thing except one is baked and one is steamed. I take this opportunity to clarify to my readers that all the huat kuih recipes issued by me can be eaten and it is delicious. It is my principle not to issue a recipe that human cannot eat due to poor taste or texture. Therefore, this is also an excellent breakfast item.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepared about 10 huat kuih
- 250 grams of self raising flour （自发面粉）
- 140 grams of castor sugar （白砂糖）
- 1 teaspoon of double acting baking powder or baking powder (双重发粉或发粉）
- 1 egg (鸡蛋）
- 200 grams of hot boiling water （滚水）
- 50 grams of cooking oil (食用油）
- 3 tablespoons of goji berries (枸杞子）
- 3 tablespoons of dried osmanthus flower (桂花）
- 2 tablespoons of osmanthus flower syrup (桂花酱） – optional
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- In a bowl, put the sugar and osmanthus flower. Pour the hot boiling water into the bowl, stir until sugar dissolved. Set aside for cooling.
- In another bowl, sift in the self raising flour and baking powder, add the oil and beaten eggs. Lightly stir and gradually add in the cooled osmanthus syrup, use a hand mixer to whisk until well mixed. Add in the goji berries， stir and transfer it to some cupcake cups or muffin tins and fill the cups with the batter until at least 95% full. Steam in the steamer for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre come out clean. It is best that the cupcakes cups be pre-steamed before filling of the batter. You shall use high heat in the entire process of steaming. Best served hot as a snack .
Technically, in western term, a huat kuih is a steamed muffin. If you are not praying, you can always try to prepare this cake for breakfast, The subtle osmanthus aroma in the cake give one a very refreshing taste. It is soft and not too sweet and I personally have already eaten two.
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