Wednesday 30 July 2014

Birthday cake with meaning - Longevity Bao (sau bao) 寿桃包

My mother's birthday is coming. This is a first year we are giving her a surprise party. And I am hoping to surprise her with some longevity baos. Longevity bun or bao is an old chinese tradition that symbolises long life. It is normally presented to elders on their birthday just as a cake is presented on our birthdays. As my mom does not really fancy cakes, making this bao for her would be a great idea.

I cheated a bit by buying the filling. I bought two different flavours: red bean paste and pandan tau yong (pandan flavoured green bean paste). The bao skin is the tested bao skin recipe that I always use. Only this time I make it firmer for easier handling. I made one big hollow bao in the centre and many mini baos both surrounding and inside it. It turned out quite satisfactory......after three attempts that is!

Click here for bao recipe. Change the flour in ingredient C to 40 gram instead.

Mini longevity pau

1. Divide each filling into 8 grams and roll into balls. Put balls to chill to make it easier to wrap later.

2. Divide each dough into 12 grams and roll into balls. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a circle. Thin out the edges more than the middle.

3. Put one ball of filling in the centre and wrap the filling with the dough by pressing the edges together bit by bit. In order to minimize contact with the filling, I used a skewer to put the filling onto the flat dough. Make sure the filling is completely sealed or else the filling will ooze out during baking. Use a spoon to make a vertical line across the bao. Place the sealed side of the bao down onto a piece of parchment paper. Pinch the top of the bao a bit to make a pointed head instead of round.

4. Once finished, set aside in covered steaming basket at a warm place for another 25-30 minutes for proofing to take place.

5. Put basket in boiling water and steam for 10 mins in moderate fire.

6. Once removed, use a toothbrush to lightly spray some red colouring on one side of the bao skin with line. Arrange bao to your desired design.

Large hollow bao

1. Roll old newspaper into the shape of a ball. Wrap with cling wrap.

2. Use the dough to wrap the ball leaving the bottom open. Shape the top into a peak.

3. Use the back of the knife to make a vertical line across the bao.

4. Leave aside for proofing for about 25-30 mins.

5. Steam in moderate fire for 15 mins.

6. Remove and spray some red colouring on the side of the bao skin with line. Slowly remove ball of paper from the bottom of the bao. If difficult to come out, use a scissor to slowly cut through the newspaper.

7. Assemble together with the mini baos.


Unlike normal baos where it should be fluffy and light, this dough should be firmer so that it is easier to shape into a peach.

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