September 25, 2017

Snow Skin Custard Mooncake 奶皇冰皮月餅

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By Published: 2017-09-25
This lovely hand pressed cake is a very popular recent incarnation of the traditional Chinese mooncake, the Custard Mooncake 奶皇月餅, which is actually a repurposing of a traditional Cantonese dim sum favorite, the Custard Bun 奶皇包, a sweet bread bun filled with luscious soft and sweet custard filling.  

An enterprising chef at the fabulous Peninsula Hotel decided to tuck the creamy custard filling into a traditional mooncake and created the first of these 30 some years ago and since then they have become more and more popular.  (And expensive!)  

We wanted to make some custard mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 but decided to put a twist on it and wrap the creamily delicious custard inside a delicately soft rice flavored mochi like wrapping to make Snow Skin Custard Mooncakes, or 奶皇冰皮月餅.  OMGosh...yummilicious and light as a snowflake!

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Two types of rice flours
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Mix the snow skin dough

There are two main parts of this mooncake, the custard filling part and the snow skin part.  You start with the snow skin part cuz you will need to steam it for longer.  This snow skin requires more ingredients and is a tiny bit more complicated than our snow skin in the snow skin mooncake recipe we wrote about previously but it is definitely worth the extra effort.  

It comes together into a very stable dough, soft yet just stretchy enough and really, really tasty with the milk and evaporated milk melding with the glutinous rice flour and rice flour to create a creamy ricey flavor that was very much like mochi.  Which meant, naturally, that we ended up eating quite a bit of the dough before we ever got around to making the mooncakes!

Tip: There are two types of canned milk products needed in this recipe: evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.   Evaporated milk is just milk reduced of water by 60% and sweetened condensed milk is the same except sugar is added.  Be sure to add in the right milk at the right place!

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The mix is steamed for an hour and then left to cool.  The steamed mixture will seem strange at first, quite un-mochi like, even perhaps a bit oily (due to oil added in to mix).  Don't worry, just let it cool until you can handle it and then knead the dough until it just stops sticking to kneading surface, adding glutinuous rice flour a tbsp at a time as needed.  

It will probably still seem sticky, I know mine did, but just cover and leave it for a while until completely cooled and you will find that the texture has changed, becoming soft, smooth and quite mochi like. 

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Custard powder
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Mix up the custard filling

The second part is the filling, of course, your lovely luscious custard filling.  You will also need to steam this but for a shorter time so start this as soon as you get your snow skin steaming away.  

Yummmm...custard powder, milk powder, sweetened condensed milk, coconut cream, many creamy milky flavors all in one filling!  

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The custard mix is made in two parts as custard normally is in order to avoid over heating and therefore curdling the egg.  Once the two parts are mixed together everything is steamed.  The custard will come out much more firm than a normal custard, which is fine.  It will also be a bit oily from the butter.  

Once cool enough to handle fluff the custard with a fork.  Let cool completely before weighing and rolling into balls in preparation for mooncake wrapping.  Ah...such a lovely yellow!

And now for my favorite part, the part where the magic is!  I get to use my wonderful traditional wooden mooncake molds to hand press my mooncakes!  All those fiddly bits come together and...MAGIC with a bang!...a perfectly engraved mooncake comes into being, made just as it has been made for centuries!  

But first...there are some technical points I should point out...

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Place custard on snow skin dough
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Wrap up the mooncake

The wrapping of the mooncake can be a wee bit tricky.  You have to decide the weight of filling and skin used for each mooncake so that you end up with exactly the right amount to fill up your mooncake mold, whatever size of mold you decide to use.  

So you will need to use a food scale.  You also want to have just enough skin to cover the filling in a thin, not thick, layer.  Unfortunately you will just have to do a bit of trial and error until you get the right amount.  

No need to despair, though, you can use our ratio for a small mooncake mold to help you decide the ratios for your particular mooncake and mooncake mold.  Our small mooncake mold filled up at 35g total for this snow skin custard mooncake,  so we ended up using 16g of skin and 19g of filling for each mooncake.  

And because we used our easy 'cheat' method of wrapping mooncake skins (more info below) we added an extra 5g to the skin weight (which was cut off during wrapping.)

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Into the mooncake mold
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Tap and the mooncake falls out

The other tricky part of wrapping the mooncake is how to end up with a thin skin all around the mooncake.  If you just roll the skin out and fold it around the custard filling you will end up with a mooncake that has both thick and thin sides, not very pretty.  

But no worries we have come up with an easy mooncake wrapping 'cheat' that allows you to wrap a thin fairly even skin around your mooncake with a minimum of fuss.  Check it out in our next post with lots of how to photos.  Use our 'cheat' method of wrapping mooncakes and you will end up with very professional looking mooncakes, if I don't say so myself!

Ah...all this storm and fury...and what does it signify?  Just simply yummilicious and gorgeous mooncakes is all.  We were super, super pleased with these Snow Skin Custard Mooncakes:  creamy luscious custard inside, soft scrummy tastily tender skin outside.  Each bite a real delight!  Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all!

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Snow Skin Custard Mooncake Recipe

Prep time:    Cook time: 


    Snow Skin

   Custard Part I

   Custard Part II
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar, 113g
  • 5 1/2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk, 113g
  • 2 tbsp butter, 30g


For the Snow Skin:  Mix all the ingredients (except the extra glutinous rice flour) together.  Pour into a dish that will fit your steamer and steam over medium heat for an hour.  Let cool.  

When cool enough to handle, dust with glutinous rice flour and knead until soft, adding glutinous rice flour one tbsp at a time until the dough just stops sticking to work surface.  Cover and let rest until cooled completely.  The dough should be much less sticky after resting

Mix the custard powder, milk powder, starch for Custard Part I together.  Push mixture through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.  Add in condensed milk, coconut cream and egg and stir well.

Add the ingredients for Custard Part II to a small pot and heat over low heat until just boiling.  Take off heat and add in a thin stream to Custard Part I, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture into a dish that fits steamer and steam over medium heat for 20 mins.  Let cool completely.  Fluff up with a fork.

Weigh out the snow skin wrap and custard filling for each mooncake.  You will need figure out your weights by trial and error but as a guide, our mooncake mold fit 35g and we ended up using 16g (plus 5g extra if using our 'cheat' method of wrapping mooncakes) for each skin and 19g for each custard filling.

Roll weighed custard into a ball.  Roll out weighed snow skin into disc large enough to cover the custard ball.  

Wrap skin around custard according to our 'cheat' mooncake wrapping method here.  Once finished wrapping, roll the mooncake in glutinous rice flour until covered all around.  Press into mooncake mold firmly.  Flip wooden mold over close to working surface and your snow skin mooncake should just slide out.  If it doesn't tap gently on the back of the mold.

Your mooncake is finished and ready to eat!  Enjoy and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Tip: Store covered in fridge for up to a week.  If keeping longer freeze for up to a month, putting it into the refrigerator overnight to allow to thaw before serving.  



  1. Hi! Thanks so much for this recipe. May I know if the glutinous rice flour needs to be cooked before being mixed together with the rest of the ingredients please? Thank you!

    1. Hi fookyfriend - No the glutinous rice flour doesn't need to be cooked before mixing in. It will, however, cook together with everything else when you steam the snow skin. ~ellen

  2. Hi Ellen, your recipe is perfect..every detailed shared and the outcome was excellent.
    Thank you so much for sharing. ~christine

  3. Hey christina- Thanks for the shout out, I'm so happy your mooncakes came out well! ~ellen

    1. Hi Ellen. Can cut down on the sugar cos l saw the recipe use a lot of sugar combine with condense milk. Please advice

    2. Hi - I wouldn't advise to cut down on the sugar as the custard is really not that sweet. But if you want to experiment then cut the sugar by 1/4 at the very most. ~ellen

  4. Hi, I tried making the custard and it turned out really watery. I’m thinking of reducing the water to 1/2 cup and also only 1/4 cup of coconut cream (the coconut flavour is very strong). Do you think that will help without changing the final texture?

  5. shouldn't be so watery. Did you perhaps use coconut milk instead of coconut cream? An easy mistake that I've made before. Coconut milk is 1 part coconut to 1 part water. Coconut cream is 4 parts coconut to 1 part water. Much thicker.

    If custard too coconuty for you just reduce amount of coconut cream slightly. ~ellen

  6. Best recipe which worked perfectly! The skin turned out soft and chewy even after a 4 days in the fridge. Only thing I did extra was to fry some of the glutinous rice flour for 10 mins to cook it before using to knead the dough. It was so delicious and everyone loved it!

    1. Oh, very clever to fry the rice flour! Definitely make the snow skin so fragrant...I'm going to do that next time, thanks for the tip! Happy Mid Autumn! ~ellen

  7. Hi Ellen...does this require baking in the oven?

  8. Hello there! I’m eager to try this recipe after seeing the positive comments but before that i would like to ask how this recipe differsgg from the one using gaofen? And also which u recommend and maybe why? Thanks! :)

  9. Gao fen or kaofen is cooked glutinous rice flour. It adds a slightly nutty toasty flavor. If you're asking which of the two snow skin recipes on our blog that I would recommend it would be this one as it is easier to work with and better overall results but I would toast the rice flours for better flavor. ~😋ellen

  10. Love the recipe but I just cannot get the custard right
    Skin part is super straight forward but the custard takes around 2 hours to steam!
    Maybe I need different bowls in my steamer? Wondering if metal ones would work better..

  11. Hey there - Did you use coconut milk instead of coconut cream? Cuz coconut milk is much more watery than coconut cream which is what this recipe uses. That could be a possible cause of the custard being too watery to set properly. ~ellen