I've been on a bit of a moon cake tear this year, trying a number of different types that I'd like to share with you. Moon cakes have come a long way from the traditional flavors that are the most well-known. There's red bean, white lotus with salty egg, and then there's taro and durian (a polarizing fruit to say the least). Of course, these are the main stays of moon cake menus, but new flavors emerge every year. Innovation seems to permeate everything in Asia, even the traditional moon cake. What struck me most is that while there is so much wedding cake creativity in the United States, I don't see new flavors in Asian wedding desserts at weddings very often. So, I wanted to share some of the notable flavors I've seen to spark a different way of thinking about Chinese desserts. The flavors I've seen this year are all inspired by very Western desserts - Tiramisu, Apple Pie, Macadamia Nut, German Chocolate Cake, Coffee, Pumpkin. These may not sound like likely candidates for moon cake fillings, but they work much better than you might think. It also never hurts to experiment with something new. Haagen Dazs even has a line of ice cream moon cake creations, complete with a mango sorbet "yolk." (Personally, I would have preferred a flavor that complements more chocolatey flavors, but the overall concept is delicious and appeals to a wide variety of people.)
Unconventional moon cakes are a good inspiration for ways to bring a Chinese dessert to your wedding reception in a fresh and different way. Red bean and salty duck eggs may not appeal to everyone, but coffee and chocolate certainly have wide appeal. It might also be a nice change of pace for people who see the same kind of moon cake year in year out. Feng shui can also be reflected in the shape of cakes and other desserts at your wedding. For example, moon cakes come in circle and square shapes. Circles represent the Metal Element and squares represent the Earth element.
Have you had some noteworthy Chinese desserts recently?