February 8, 2013

Dai Fat Go--Cakes for a Prosperous New Year

Most of our mothers and grandmothers have literally perfected a few to several dozen specialty Chinese dishes; but most do very little home baking.  This is not to say that they are immune to the wonderful smells wafting out of the doors of the Chinese bakeries on Stockton, Clement, or Irving Streets--the don tats (egg custard tarts), char siu baos (steamed pork buns), and the gai mei baos (cocktail buns).  But let's just say that my mother-in-law's oven is most popularly used to store over-sized pots and pans--not for baking.

It's nice to have a big wok with a lid for steaming.  It will fit a 6 muffin tin.
So it was fun to see how her eyes lit up when she realized she could make a simple cake using equivalent amounts of just four simple ingredients, after a friend gave her the recipe.  The "fat" in the name of the little cakes means prosperity [think: gung hay fat choy], so, they are typically made around Chinese New Year.  This year, the first day of the year of the snake lands on Sunday, February 10.

I rivaled my mother-in-law's excitement with the realization that the recipe is naturally egg and dairy free, two of the main food allergens in our household. My mother-in-law has been making the cakes all week, and the kids have been enjoying fresh muffins for breakfast.  I've found they go especially well with my afternoon cup of coffee.  They are really moist, spongy, and slightly sweet.

What gives these cakes their pretty flower shape is that they are steamed, not baked, so I guess my mother-in-law will be keeping her pots and pans tucked safely away in her oven for the time being.  Steaming muffins was a first for both of us.

Before I give you the recipe, you should know a few things about my seldom-baking mother-in-law. When someone says to add 1 cup of something, she uses a dry measuring cup, not a liquid one.  And when someone says to add brown sugar, packing the sugar is optional.  So even though the original recipe said to add one cup of brown sugar, packed it was equivalent to 3/4 of a cup.  This recipe couldn't be easier.

Logan had a blast helping his grandmother with the cakes.  Way too much fun for a sick day.

Dai Fa Go--Big Prosperous Cake  (No Egg or Dairy)

1 cup flour

1 cup water

1 cup dark brown sugar, unpacked (or about 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed)

1 cup Bisquick

Stir the ingredients together, pour into lined muffin pan, and steam on a plate in a large pan or wok covered for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 little cakes

A big prosperous Chinese New Year to all of out Get Allergy Wise families!  Time to go clean the house...


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