Laopo Kuchen

2013-06-24 17:52 ChineseTime

Chaozhou Snack – Laopo Cake (Wife Cake)

Laopo Cake, or Wife Cake, was originated from Chaozhou of Guangdong Province. The cake has a golden flaky crust with paper-thin layers inside. It is so crispy that one bite causes it to crumble apart. Enjoy this tasty cake which is as sweet as honey.

Allegedly, there was a traditional teahouse famous for various cakes in Guangzhou established in the late Qing Dynasty. One day, a pastry chef from Chaozhou brought all the famous cakes back home for his wife. Unexpectedly, his wife did not praise the cakes after eating them. She even criticized the teahouse, “The cakes in the teahouse are so prosaic. They are nothing compared to the Chinese wax gourd cake made by my parents.”

Of course, the chef did not believe her and asked her to demonstrate. She baked golden cakes with Chinese wax gourd, sugar and wheat flour. Taking a bite of the cake, the chef couldn’t help praising the cake because of its sweet and delicious taste.

The next day, the Chaozhou chef took some of the cakes made by his wife to the teahouse. The boss of the teahouse was profuse in praising the cakes and asked which teahouse made them. The chef said, “The laopo (wife) in Chaozhou.” Then, the boss unconsciously named it Chaozhou laopo cake and asked the chef to produce it for his teahouse. Soon, Laopo Cake became very popular.

The excellent taste and texture of wife cakes comes from the paper-thin layers of bakery shortening crust. According to Liu Zhenan, chef of the Milk House Bakery, it is really a hard work to make them into different layers. First, we should divide oil dough from bakery shortenings through wrapping the bakery shortening into oily dough and fold the dough twice. As oil cannot be mixed with water, layers will be produced during baking. The chef said during the whole process, the force applied to the dough should be consistent so as not to break it. If the dough is broken, the dough and shortening will be mixed up and there will be no layers at all.

The traditional Chaozhou Laopo Cake uses Chinese wax gourd spread as a sweet stuffing. Thus, it is also known as wax gourd cake. When the cake was introduced to Taiwan, the stuffing was replaced with sugar, but the taste is equally delicious.

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