Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step-by-step instructions.

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. What a delicious and tasty fluffy cake we have here!

Have you ever been for 'Yum Cha' in a Chinese restaurant? If so, you most likely will have experienced the mountains of little bamboo steamers spread purposefully on all the tables, each containing three to five little morsels of 'dim sum'. I am in the middle of writing up an entire section all about dim sum, but for now, I want to show you one of my favorite dim sum dishes.

It's called 'Ma Lai Go'. Ma lai is the Cantonese translation for Malay, and Go means cake. Despite its name, it really is Chinese and not Malaysian!

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There are many variations on the recipe for Ma Lai Go, however, for the purposes of keeping it in the Dim Sum 'family' and showing you what you would get if you had real Yum Cha, then this recipe is a pretty close match.

This ma lai go cake is all about air. Yes, incorporating as much of it as possible into your batter, and ending up with a texture which, when in your mouth will leave your brain thinking you're eating, yes, air! and perhaps unusual to what how you would normally make a cake, this ma lai go is a steamed cake and not a baked one. Again, you will get a light and fluffy cake by steaming it!

It really is a light, fluffy cake. Bouncy to touch, and with no fancy additions of nuts, fruits or colorings, it just tastes of pure cake!.

I hope you will try this recipe for ma lai go out. It really is simple, unlike many Dim Sum recipes which take years to master.

NOTE: You will need a bamboo steamer, measuring approximately 20 cm (8 inches) diameter. You can use a tin, but you won't get the flavor from the bamboo coming through and the base might be soggy. You could try a tin with holes in it, but if you would like to make more Chinese food, get yourself a bamboo steamer. It will be worth it, and they are not expensive.

Here's a bamboo steamer we can recommend for this recipe. It comes with 2 tiers, so you can use it for other things too, such as steaming fish in one tier and vegetables in another. For this recipe, you will only need to use one tier. Please do make sure, as with all bamboo steamers, you wash by hand and let dry completely before storing away!

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups or 200 g Plain / All Purpose flour seived
4 Teaspoons baking powder
8 Teaspoons carbonated water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Custard powder or Jello vanilla pudding mix.
1 stick or 100 g melted butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1.2 cups or 240 g fine brown sugar
4 medium eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup or 100 ml milk

If you want to use Bird's Custard Powder, you can buy it in the USA from Meijer's in their International Section.  This is what it looks like below

Instructions

1. Line your bamboo steamer with greaseproof / waxed paper and brush oil onto the paper (oil on the cake side)

2. Using an electric whisk (unless you have LOTS of muscles), beat the eggs for 3 minutes.

3. Add the sugar gradually, keep whisking for a further 8 minutes. See the photo on the right, notice the bubbles.

4. Add the custard powder and sieved flour, and using a metal spoon, fold in 30 times (don't loose count!) gently. Making sure the flour is combined, yet keeping as many bubbles as possible.

5. Add the milk and gently fold for 20 times.

6. Cover the mixture with cling film/plastic wrap, and leave for 2 hours.

7. Make a cup of tea (for yourself after all that folding and mixing)

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake, cake batter

8. When the 2 hours is up, get your steamer to the boil. A tip if you have hard water, put a couple of teaspoons of vinegar into the water to stop your pan from getting calcified.

9. Add baking powder to the fizzy water (use a small glass) . Give it a stir, then add to the cake mixture.

10. Using your metal spoon, fold again, 6 times.

11. Add the Vanilla extract and melted butter, folding for a final 10 times.

12. Pour the mixture into your lined bamboo steamer, and place a tea towel under the lid to catch the condensation (otherwise you will have a soggy cake) See photo. *** PLEASE make sure your tea towel does not hang over the sides too much and catch fire.

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake in the bamboo steamer

13. Steam for 30 minutes on high heat. Check if cooked by sticking a metal skewer into the center. if it comes out clean, it's ready!
This cake is best eaten when just steamed and hot.

Here is a cute little skewer we can recommend. I use one for all my cakes and it's easy to find when in the drawer because of the little cake at the end!

A cup of Jasmine tea and a slice of Ma Lai Go, and a pat on your back for a job well done!

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.
Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.
Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.

Recipe Card

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Dim Sum Cake. This is a lovely moist steamed cake, fluffy as a feather and uses very regular ingredients. Easy recipe with step by step instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups or 200 g Plain / All Purpose flour seived
  • 4 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 Teaspoons carbonated water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Custard powder or Jello vanilla pudding mix.
  • 1 g stick or 100 melted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1.2 cups or 240 g fine brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup or 100 ml milk

Instructions

  1. Line your bamboo steamer with greaseproof / waxed paper and brush oil onto the paper (oil on the cake side)
  2. Using an electric whisk (unless you have LOTS of muscles), beat the eggs for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar gradually, keep whisking for a further 8 minutes. See the photo on the right, notice the bubbles.
  4. Add the custard powder and sieved flour, and using a metal spoon, fold in 30 times (don't loose count!) gently. Making sure the flour is combined, yet keeping as many bubbles as possible.
  5. Add the milk and gently fold for 20 times.
  6. Cover the mixture with cling film / plastic wrap, and leave for 2 hours.
  7. Make a cup of tea (for yourself after all that folding and mixing)
  8. When the 2 hours is up, get your steamer to the boil. A tip if you have hard water, put a couple of teaspoons of vinegar into the water to stop your pan from getting calcified.
  9. Add baking powder to the fizzy water (use a small glass) . Give it a stir, then add to the cake mixture.
  10. Using your metal spoon, fold again, 6 times.
  11. Add the Vanilla extract and melted butter, folding for a final 10 times.
  12. Pour the mixture into your lined bamboo steamer, and place a tea towel under the lid to catch the condensation (otherwise you will have a soggy cake) See photo
  13. Steam for 30 minutes on high heat. Check if cooked by sticking a metal skewer into the centre. if it comes out clean, it's ready!
  14. This cake is best eaten when just steamed and hot.
  15. A cup of Jasmine tea and a slice of Ma Lai Go, and a pat on your back for a job well done!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1540Total Fat: 147gSaturated Fat: 92gTrans Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 466mgSodium: 1455mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

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  1. 1 star
    Final picture of it isn’t even what you made. It’s what you got from a dim sum restaurant. Pretty deceiving if you ask me.

    1. The final photo most certainly shows how it is presented in a dim sum restaurant! This is so people can see how it would be presented if you were dining out.
      There’s no deception at all, as you already note, the other photos show process shots which help people understand how to make the cake and what it will look like after steaming.

  2. Thanks, thanks, thank you! I have been looking to replicate the recipe I found online years ago, I just founnnd iiit. Will hopefully be making this today. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love egg, and I love the dim sum cake the best. The serving size is so small at the restaurant that I simply must be able to make conveniently at home, whenever I like. :)

    1. Hi Maria, so glad you found our recipe. I’m making this now as we speak as my step son has been asking for it for so long. Mine is resting now, soon to be steamed. Please enjoy!