Friday, 8 September 2017

Rainbow Swirl Custard Snowskin Mooncake (100% natural colouring and no 糕粉 used)

I decided not to make any mooncakes this year so I didn't buy any 糕粉 (cooked glutinous rice flour that is only available at specialty baking supply stores) or premade mooncake fillings. BUT my hands started to itch and I had an impromptu session of making these naturally coloured custard snowskin mooncakes, in rainbow swirls!

Pardon the crumbly looking filling as I was in a hurry to take photos and didn't refrigerate the assembled mooncakes before cutting open.

Here's a much nicer view of the insides after storing in the fridge for one and a half days...

Texture of both filling and snowskin remains smooth on the tongue :)

The snowskin stayed soft after three days of storage and the flavour of this custard snowskin mooncake mellowed with storage and tasted better.

Here's a peek at the insides after 4 days...

The filling gets smoother with storage time.

Many thanks to Kenneth Goh for sharing his recipe for making snowskin mooncakes without using gao fen (糕粉) or I will have to make my itchy hands itch for a longer time and upset my schedule more :p. I also adapted the custard filling recipe from his blog. The recipes I type here for both snowskin and custard filling are adapted from Kenneth's recipe.

I followed the quantities suggested in Kenneth's blog without calculation of scaling of ingredients so I had a bit of leftover snowskin dough.

I made custard snowskin mooncake 3 years ago in the shape of mini apples and using another recipe. You may refer to it in this post.

Natural food colouring for snowskin

The night before I made the snowskin, I prepared some pandan juice and blue pea flower tea. I let the pandan juice settle and soaked the flowers overnight in hot water before squeezing out the flowers. I happen to have both pandan and blue pea flower on hand so I didn't need to buy ;).

Use only the concentrated green part of pandan juice that settled to the bottom.

I used pumpkin powder and purple sweet potato powder for orange and purple colour. You may use beetroot juice for pink but I didn't have that at home so I made use of some chemistry to create the pink. When purple sweet potato comes into contact with an acid, it turns hot pink. So I add lemon juice to the purple sweet potato dough to create a pink hue. I have both pumpkin powder and purple sweet potato powder at home so I didn't need to hunt for those.

Custard filling recipe
Ingredients (makes about 12-14 mooncakes fillings):
2 eggs
2tbs (20g) sugar
2tbs (15g) custard powder
40g melted butter (I used unsalted)
50g cake flour or low protein flour (original recipe is 60g)
125g fresh milk (or evaporated milk)
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sift cake flour and custard powder in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and mix well. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add eggs, milk and melted butter in the well. Stir until well mixed.

2. Sieve mixture onto a greased steaming plate. Steam at medium heat for 15 minutes or until mixture sets.

3. Cool the custard to room temperature. Break up the custard into small pieces.

Knead until no lumps and smooth.

Cover with cling wrap and set aside.

Snowskin recipe
Note that if you intend to make only one coloured swirl, prepare the same portion of dough for white and coloured dough. I am rather ambitious here in trying to create five different hues so you need not follow. Each coloured hue here is one-fifth of the white dough so do your math accordingly.

1/4 cup cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉 (this is used for dusting only so can be safely prepared at home. Dry fry glutinous rice flour in a pan over low heat for 5 minutes. The flour will start smelling of the characteristic cooked glutinous rice flour smell.

White dough
30g glutinous rice flour
20g rice flour
10g cake flour
10g wheat starch
30g condensed milk
28g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
110g milk

Blue dough
6g glutinous rice flour
4g rice flour
2g cake flour
2g wheat starch
7g condensed milk
6g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
10g milk
12g blue pea flower tea

Green dough
6g glutinous rice flour
4g rice flour
2g cake flour
2g wheat starch
7g condensed milk
6g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
10g milk
12g pandan juice

Orange dough
6g glutinous rice flour
4g rice flour
3g pumpkin powder
7g condensed milk
6g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
22g milk

Purple dough
6g glutinous rice flour
4g rice flour
3g purple sweet potato powder
7g condensed milk
6g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
24g milk

Pink dough
6g glutinous rice flour
4g rice flour
3g purple sweet potato powder
7g condensed milk
6g coconut oil (or cooking oil)
20g milk
1 tbs lemon juice

Different powders have different absorption properties hence the difference in liquid portion for each colour. Compensate with more flour to dust if it is too sticky.

1. Sift the flours and powder colouring (if using) together.

Flours with the vegetable powders sifted together.

2. Add condensed milk, milk, juices/extracts followed by oil. Stir until well mixed. Sieve into greased steaming tray.

I used silicone cupcake cases for the small portions of coloured dough

3. Cling wrap the steaming plate. Steam for 30 minutes or until dough is cooked.

Freshly steamed. See the holes I poked with chopstick to check if dough is cooked. 

4. Let the dough cool until it is just slightly warm. Use plastic gloves or of you are lazy like me, use a piece of cling wrap to knead the dough until smooth. Knead for at least a few minutes. You may add a little oil or dust with some gao fen if it is too sticky.

Kneaded dough

5. Divide the coloured and white dough in preparation for wrapping filling. The weight of the dough depends on size of your mould. Mine is about 50g so I portioned about 26g dough and 24g filling. Portion out the different colours into 26g portions. Roll a coloured dough and white dough to about 20cm in length. With coloured dough below.

I didn't use a rolling pin. Just a cling wrap and my fingers.

Roll up the dough.

Grease a knife or bench scraper and cut the rolled dough in half.

Doesn't matter if cut surface looks ugly. Gently adjust the lines with a greased finger to make the swirl pattern more obvious.

Place cut surface of dough down. Flatten with your fingers. Place a ball of filling in the middle.

Wrap and pinch seal.


Lightly dust the surface of the assembled mooncake with gao fen. Put it in the mooncake plunger and press it out.
And you are done!

Store the mooncakes in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out too fast in the fridge. Consume within a few days.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. is it chewy? must dusting be done with gao fen?

    1. The mochi-like texture happens when you store at room temperature. Texture changes with storage in the fridge :)