Let’s Made This Dim Sum Cake At Home–Ma La Gao/Ma Lai Gao (马来糕)


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Please scroll down towards the end for an updated recipe and images. These Ma La Gao was prepared on 17-8-2014 as a gift to relatives and kids breakfast. It had a finer texture than the first recipe.


Ma la Gao or Ma Lai Gao(马来糕)is another type of Chinese Steamed sponge cake commonly served in the dim sum restaurant. In fact, it is  a variant from the traditional steamed sponge cake, Jidangao (鸡蛋糕). The name Mala in effect is literally translated as “Malay”. As to why the name is used is rather unsure and I can’t think of any direct relationship of this cake with our Malay brothers.


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What differentiates it from the traditional Kuey Neng Ko or Jidangao is that the use of custard powder, melted butter or other cooking oil, milk (evaporated or fresh milk). Because of the inclusion of these few ingredients, its texture and fragrance differ rather significantly from the traditional Kuey Neng Ko used for praying ceremonies. As a result of these, it become moister and amore aromatic.. 

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There are many version of Ma La Gao, some are brownish yet  some are yellowish. The brownish version is the use of brown sugar where as the yellowish version is the use of normal castor sugar.

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There are also yeasted vs. non yeasted version too. The yeasted version is using yeast and will requires numerous hours of proofing before steaming. The effect is a more springy texture in the cake.


What I am sharing today is using the castor sugar and non yeasted version. This means that you can steam it immediately after you prepared the batter.

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Preparation is not difficult at all though ingredients is slightly more than the traditional Kuey Neng Ko but the concept of preparation is basically the same, beat eggs to  light and pale, fold in flour and steamed..

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Recipe inspiration : Ma Lai Gao Recipe from Betterchinese.com

Servings: One 9 inches diameter Ma la Gao


  • 100 grams of evaporated milk (淡奶)
  • 100 grams of melted butter (牛油-融化)
  • 4 eggs (鸡蛋)
  • 150 grams of castor/brown sugar or a mixture (细砂糖/核糖)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (苏打粉)
  • 250 grams of self raising flour (自发面粉)
  • 50 grams of custard powder (蛋黄粉)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (香精)



  • A lightly greased 9” diameter baking cake tin .
  • A steamer with adequate hot boiling water for steaming about 30 minutes.


  • Beat the eggs using a stand mixer (under high speed) until light and pale. Add in sugar tablespoon by tablespoon. You will witness the beaten egg volume gradually increase and become even lighter in colour. Beat until the eggs volume increase at least 2-3 times, thick and glossy. Thick means when you take out the whisker, the eggs will drip down slowly from the whisker. Add in vanilla extract, melted butter slowly (spoon by spoon preferred), beat until well combined.

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  • Sift 1/3 of the baking soda, custard powder and self raising flour into the beaten eggs, add 1/3 of the evaporated milk, use a spatula to fold as fast and as light as possible until well mixed. Perform the same for the remaining 2/3 of the ingredients. Once well mixed, transfer into a lightly greased baking tin and steam in the steamer under high heat for at least 1/2 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.



  • Note that folding of flour have to be swift and light and prior to the steaming, the steamer’s water must be boiling. As this is a large cake, make sure that it is properly cooked and skewer test is still the final test. If you are unsure, it is best to over-steamed rather than under steamed and ensure there is enough water in the steamer.

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This is a Jidangao but with additional ingredients. These additional ingredients (melted butter, custard powder and evaporated milk) do create a difference in texture and taste.. That is also the reasons that make it a more popular steamed cake than the traditional Kuey Neng Ko.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Today, I have prepared some Malagao for my relatives and kids’ breakfast. I am pleased with the outcome of the cake as it is moister and finer texture than the previous attempt. The amended recipe are as follows (changes in the recipe are highlighted in red):


  • 120 grams of evaporated milk (淡奶)
  • 120 grams of melted butter (牛油-融化)
  • 4 eggs (鸡蛋)
  • 120 grams of castor/brown sugar or a mixture (细砂糖/核糖)
  • 50 grams of condensed milk (炼乳)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (苏打粉)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of double acting baking powder (双重发粉)
  • 250 grams of self raising flour (自发面粉)
  • 50 grams of custard powder (蛋黄粉)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (香精)



  • Please don’t try to ask for substitution of condensed milk as it will help to enhance the texture. This cake is not overly sweet, and if you still concerned about the sweetness, reduce the castor sugar/brown sugar by 10%.
  • The condensed milk shall be added prior to the adding of melted butter.
  • You can either use machine at low speed to mix or hand folding as mentioned above.
  • All other procedures are the same.


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


17 thoughts on “Let’s Made This Dim Sum Cake At Home–Ma La Gao/Ma Lai Gao (马来糕)

  1. Pingback: RECIPE INDEX ( Updated on 10 March 2014) | GUAI SHU SHU

  2. Thank you very much for shairng all the lovely recipes with us. I am sure many homemakers are following your recipes. I kept your rescipes in a Folder, at any time, I have guests, I know what to prepare for them. Once again “thank you” and good health always.

  3. The brown color one is yeasted one. It also has lye water. Before steaming it looks yellowish but will turn brown later. I made it before but I dislike yeasted ma lai ko cos of the smell. Tim ho wan told ieatishotipost that they don’t use yeast but overnight fermenting made the cake soft. I think they use sour dough method.

  4. Hi Kenneth,
    Ur recipe stated 50g condensed milk but ur steps did not mention when to put it in. Or did i missed out? Kindly advise. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for the recipe, this will be good to serve for breakfast or snacks especially when we’ll have company coming from out of town.

  6. Pingback: Special Compilation Of 40 Chinese Steamed Cakes And Kuihs (40种华人蒸糕特备汇编) | GUAI SHU SHU

  7. Hi Kenneth~
    Thanks for your recipe..
    May i know if i use the low protein flour but not the S.R.Flour..how much double action baking powder should i add in?

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