Marry girl cake
|Place of origin||China|
|Marry girl cake|
|Literal meaning||dowry girl cake|
Marry girl cake or dowry cake is a traditional Chinese pastry that was once a ceremonial cake used as wedding gifts in the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, hence the name. Today, this cake is known more as a classic Chinese pastry rather than a wedding gift because it has lost most of its original significance due to cultural change. It can be found in Hong Kong and in some Chinatowns overseas.
The cake is essentially a lightly sweetened sponge cake that may take any number of shapes or appearances. It is considered large compared to the size of most pastries. The internal base of the cake may consist of lotus seed paste.
Marry girl cake is a traditional wedding gift which is originally from Guangdong. According to tradition, giving wedding cakes is serious and it shows respect and importance about the wedding. The bridegroom will send marry girl cake to the bride and her family after engagement, which refers to Gwo Daai Lai(過大禮). The bride's family will then give them to their relatives, as to share the happiness with them and tell them the wedding is approaching soon.
However, for those who are not that close with the family, the family can choose not to invite them to the wedding and just giving out at least 2 marry girl cakes, meaning pair; as to present a notice about the marriage. And for cake distribution, it can be according to closeness of the friend and seniority of the family member. There are 4, 6 or 8 marry girl cake in a pack and those numbers means the traditional thoughts of pairs and even.
The beginning of giving out marry girl cakes started from the era of Three Kingdoms. At that time, Liu Bei had borrowed a place called Jingzhou for a long period of time and not returning it to its owner, Sun Quan. Thus, Sun Quan had accepted the idea of "honey trap" suggested by Zhou Yu, which was pretending to make his own sister marrying Liu Bei as to get back the land, who was newly widowed. Then, Liu Bei was greeted to marry in Soochow. He knew it was a trick. However, after arriving Soochow, he told his soldiers to deliver cakes and eventually turned the marriage into real. Since then, Chinese had a custom of sending marry girl cakes when there was marriage, as to share the happiness with family and friends.
There are around 30-40 types of marry girl cakes, they all taste different and distinct ingredients are used to produce those wedding cakes. And here are the most popular ones.
- Colorful preserved eggs pastry(五彩皮蛋酥)
- Duck egg lotus seed paste pastry(蛋黃蓮蓉酥)
- Red lotus seed paste pastry(紅綾蓮蓉酥)
- Yellow green bean paste pastry(黃綾荳蓉酥)
- Terminalia walnut pastry(欖仁合桃酥)
- Duck egg lotus seed paste cake(蛋黃蓮蓉雞蛋糕)
- Duck egg pastry(雞油蛋黃酥)
There are lots ingredients needed to make red lotus seed paste pastry(紅綾蓮蓉酥) (8 pieces). As to make the oil skin, solid vegetable oil 15g, flour 70g, syrup 15g, water 30g, and a little pigment. For making the butter, flour 90g and solid vegetable oil 55g are needed. Lastly, lotus seed paste 300g are used to create the inside part of it.
First, mix the ingredients of oil skin and soft creamy butter separately, and then evenly divide into 8 parts. Press the oil skin into a flat shape and wrap in butter. Then, use a long stick to roll, turn 90 degrees left and right to the middle and fold into three layers. Press into cakes skin, put lotus seed paste inside and turn it into a cake shape. Put it in an oven for 25–30 minutes, under 180 degrees.
Although marry girl cake has a long history, people in modern society still keep it as a sign of "happiness" and send wedding cakes to relatives and close friends when there is marriage. There are different styles and flavors of marry girl cakes now, which shows the popularity of it. Moreover, there is a new cake in recent years called great-grandmother cake(太婆餅). If the bride's grandparents are still there, the bridegroom will send these kinds of cakes to the girl's place to show good faith.