Chinese Fa Gao known as fortune cake usually for Chinese New Year or ancestor worship.

Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)

Ever since my interest about Guangdong cuisine grows, I like to visit my friend who is a native Cantonese woman. She can make lots of yummy Cantonese food. It is Chinese people’s custom to visit friends and relatives to deliver the best wishes of the coming year. As a foodie, the most exciting thing for me is to explore yummy food. I encountered with this beautiful blossoming steamed cake during the visit to the friend mentioned above.

Then I feel quite necessary to understand how it work!! Yeah, I need to make it at my own kitchen. However I am totally frustrated by the first trying and only seeing a ray of hop in the second attempt. See the picture below! And I become quite excited when I see the texture of the third time. So just be happy in all of your kitchen experience even the failed one.

Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)

We call the blossoming surface as a smile cake. In China, we get a flour mixture that is especially created to make fa gao. But I am wondering whether it is also available outside China. So I use all-purpose flour and baking powder for all the experiments. Here are some really important tips to guarantee this wonderful blossoming texture.

  1. The batter needed to be stirred enough. I cannot explain why but just an experience.
  2. The molds should be thin enough to ensure the maximum exposure to the vapor. Traditionally, ceramic molds are used especially for this Fa Gao. The bad thing is that I do not have some and they are relatively hard for me to find in a short time. So I use my egg tart molds.
  3. Enough water to ensure that you can use high fire at least during the first 10 minutes without burn your wok.
  4. Place the molds in after the water boils. Do not lift the lid during the process; otherwise the steam will escape.
  5. If you want a better blooming, use self-rise flour instead of all-purpose flour.

Chinese Fa Gao

Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)

Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)

Chinese steamed cake--Fa gao also known as Fortune Cake
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 440kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 130 ml hot water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  • Melt brown sugar with hot water and set aside.
  • Combine flour with baking powder. Add the sugar water. Stir the batter in one direction for around 3-5 minutes. The longer; the better.
  • Pour batter to molds. I will recommend using a scoop and pour the batter directly to the center of the molds from higher places and let the batter flat by itself. Set aside.
  • Bring enough water to boil in a large wok or deep pot, set up the steamer and place the batter in when the water begins to boil. I would suggest add more water with the level just below the moulds.
  • Cove the lid and continue steam for around 20 to 25 minutes. The blossoming should occur around 10 minutes. So in the first 10 minutes, use high fire and you can choose to slow down your fire slightly or use high fire during the whole process (depending on how much water you added for steaming and do not burn your wok).


If you are using larger molds?lengthen the time to 30 minutes.


Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 6g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 53g | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 3.6mg
Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)
Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)

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  1. I work at private prep school and we will be celebrating Chinese New Year with an authentic dinner. Would I be able to make these in a commercial steamer in order to do a large number at a time…Would be making around 600 portuins

  2. 5 stars
    I just tried your recipe today. It tasted good and texture was nice. But sadly it didn’t blossom. What could be the reason?