My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕)


It was 5 am in the morning. I told myself that I must wake up early to write this post and share with readers about this extremely simple recipe. This is rather a  special post to me because it is my 200th post since I started my blog 3.5 months ago in late April 2013.

Yesterday evening, I made a traditional Chinese steamed sponge cake (鸡蛋糕)and posted in certain Facebook Group and surprisingly these 2 eggs sponge cake caught a lot of readers’ attention requesting for the recipe. In fact, I am rather happy that this Chinese steamed sponge cake turned out so well.

Those who come from a traditional Chinese family will know that this cake is a delicate cake to make. As contrast to Western cakes, this cake should have “cracks” or “smiley face”  in its top, the bigger the better. In Chinese, such cracks will signify prosperity and brings good fortunes when the cake was offered to the ancestors, 


Traditionally, while making this cake, there were lots of “taboos” or “pantang larang”. Only the person who are making the cakes were allowed to enter the kitchen freely. Those who entered should not be talking anything that could possibly “resulted” in a crack less cake or  a “bald” head! And housewives are trying all sorts of ways to make the cake “laugh” as “happily” as possible. She will generally be respected, admired and pampered for her ability to make a “laughing” steamed sponge cake for offering to the ancestors.


Tracking my readership statistics, I found that during the last two weeks, quite a lot of readers were visiting one of my post The Plights of Kuey Neng KoThe Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…. This is a post whereby I  analysed why younger Chinese generations are not fond of having this traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake and  tweaked it into a cute party snack.

I also knew that as one of the big Chinese religious festivals – Hungry Ghost Festivals is approaching, a lot of people are looking for recipes to prepare this cake for religious offerings. Another possible reason is because bloggers in certain hop in group is having an “egg” events whereby bloggers are searching for eggs related recipes.

Knowing those who visited my earlier post of party snack Chinese steamed sponge cake may get disappointed as that cannot be used for ancestor offerings, therefore, I feel obliged to share a recipe that can prepare a cake for praying purposes.



Recipe adapted from : Xinshipu.


  • 2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature) (鸡蛋)

  • 300 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)

  • 150 gram of fine sugar (细砂糖)

  • Sprite or 7-up or ice cream soda about 200ml (汽水)

  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶) or 2 teaspoons or ovallete

  • One 6” bamboo basket (竹篮) that are 4” deep or round baking tin (烤盘)


It is rather common in Malaysia and Singapore or even the original recipe uses ovallete. As I do not have ovallete with me, I have searched for ovallete substitute and I came across this blog which have list out his/her preference of not using ovalette. I tends to concur with her that as long as the egg is adequately beaten, there is no need to have ovallete or condensed milk. My mother in law also disclosed to me that they have never used any ovallete in her many years of making this cake.



  • Get ready a 6 inches diameter baking tin and lined it with baking paper. Ideally, use a bamboo basket and lined with cellophane plastic sheet (竹篮玻璃纸). As I do not have the bamboo basket, I used a baking tin instead. Baking tin are more difficult to steam.

  • Get ready a big pot or wok for steaming and make sure that the cover is tall enough for your cake rise. One of the reasons that this cake as in the illustration did not rise as high as desired because it was constrained by the height of my steamer.

  • Boiled the water under high heat and put the empty baking tin in the steamer to warm the baking tin.

Making the cakes


  • Crack two eggs in a big mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of condensed milks or 2 teaspoons of ovalette.

  • Beat at high speed until the eggs turns light and fluffy. (Note that as a result of adding condensed milks, you may not be able to obtain the soft peak form from egg beating).

  • Fold in the sifted flour as quickly as possible.

  • Add in the gassy drinks and, stir lightly and quickly until well mixed.

  • Transfer the batter quickly to the heated baking tin/wooden basket. Put some some sugar on top of the batter in a cross shape (this is an important step to make it crack). 在鸡蛋面糊上面上,跟着十字的形状,撒下2条直线的白糖。


  • Steamed under high heat for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in and comes out clean. Put in additional hot water if the water dries up. Do not open the steamer cover for the first 15 minutes.

  • Once your remove the cake from the steamer, immediately remove it from the baking tin or bamboo basket. Place in a wiring rack and let it cool completely. It is important that you took out the baking tin or bamboo basket immediately to prevent water condensation around the side of the baking tin that will make the cake become soggy.


  • Cut into pieces before serving. Re-steamed the cake before serving if you find the cake hardens after two to three days.

I have purposely to decorate this cake with a red ribbon and some red colouring on top of the cake. This is the traditional way of decorating the cake before offering sessions.


Analysis On Textures of The Cake

The texture of the cake is slightly different from the traditional cake due to the addition of gassy drinks and condensed milk. It is moister and I do not even need to have some drinks after taking three to four pieces. Traditionally, as it is very light and fluffy, I tend to get choke as the cake debris will irritate my throats. Therefore, do not compare with the traditional cake texture. So far, family members preferred this newer texture than the traditional types as it is easy to eat!



This is a simple cake. This is a traditional cake that not many blog writers would want to write about. However, to make it to “laugh” or crack to the way that you desired, it needs delicate handlings. As a traditional old man, I respect the cake and give the cake full attention and the cake is happy to give me back a big smile… Haha.


Have a nice day and hope that this post will help those readers who are seeking for Chinese steamed sponge cake recipe.

Hope you like the post. Cheers


I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

23 thoughts on “My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕)

  1. Pingback: The Plights of Kuey Neng Ko…The Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake… | GUAI SHU SHU


  3. Just tried using this recipe – it tastes nice, not too sweet but doesn’t look as good as yours (with wide smiley face🙂 Thanks for your recipe !

  4. Hi Kenneth,

    I have tried using condensed milk to replace ovalette for stabilizing cakes before and I reckon it works pretty well for me.

    Your Huat Ko looks very huat!!! This means the amount of gas in Sprite seem pretty powerful!😀


    • Zoe, I found that if you add in immediately after you opened the gassy drinks, it will be more powerful. Otherwise it will not be “Huat”. Ha-ha. You know in Singapore nowadays, they change the name ovalette to sponge stabilizers.

  5. hi, it looks good, but is the texture cottony soft and moist ? the flour is a lot , so is the liquid? my memory of my grandma’s was cottony soft, moist and very smiley. I have tried quite a few of the recipes that come up when u google ‘Chinese traditional steamed egg sponge cake’. conclusion was that if I get the taste right, they don’t smile. if they smile, they are dense & heavy. big sigh, I love kuey neng ko

    • You are right! Now mostly used ovelette to let it smile. Flour is required to make it smile. This recipe uses condense milk as a stabilizer and gassy drink to “pump” it up . It is quite moist and soft because of the guess. However the temperature control and use of wooden basket to ensure enough heat for the cake is also important . I can’t say is foolproof but it really determined by a lot of factors if we don’t use ovelette .

      • I see some light, I am most tempted to try again this weekend.
        I never stopped wondering how the grannies did it with equal ratio of just eggs, flour & sugar. btw, I refused to use ovalette in all my experiments. how tall should the steamer cover be, i.e what should be the ideal distance btw the bamboo basket & the steamer’s cover. I have tried using a stainless steel wok which can bake, which is supposed to minimise escaping steam. I have also tried one of those double decker steamer, & put the cake at the top tier ?

      • I really do not have these statistics as we do not make this often enough. But it should be the lower the better (of course not touch the water), the higher temperature the better. I have to admit that including my mum and aunties, this cake is a very delicate cake and they believed that there are many “taboos” when they are making the cake. With the same equipment and same recipe, it can successful alternate with non successful attempts. What I do know is that the traditional steam sponge cake tends to be harder because there are enough flour to push it up (therefore smile happily). As to the moist and soft, I am seriously thinking that there is a possibility of inclusion of some oil in the steamed cake.

  6. Hello, i finally made kay neng ko last night, with your recipe. they turned out to be “botak heads” knk !!!! becos i forgot to sprinkle sugar, so they puffed and became shiny adorable little botak heads🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe. although it is not strictly the traditional recipe without any aids, it certainly is consistent & foolproof as the soda will ensure that it will always huat & huat – decent for offerings to the children likes them.
    one more ?, do u think i can add more sprite to make it lighter and still puffs ?
    thanks again

    • Great that you come out one that you like. I heard my Mother in Law said last time, they just use 2 tablespoons of soda and this recipe is considered a lot as far as she is concerned. I am unsure and will it had too many holes? Ha-ha. Come to think about it, if gassy drink can, can baking soda be used? Thanks for trying again!

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