Be warned: These aren’t your grandma’s tea cakes. This traditional Chinese sweet is made of steamed sweet potato and yam dried and molded into a mini cake. The result is a sweet, spongy treat closer to gnocchi in texture than cake. And we love it.
This version from the Mi Xun Teahouse located in The Temple House in Chengdu, China, combines purple sweet potato with cranberry, and is best served with a cup of green tea. Consider it the healthiest cake you’re ever going to eat.
?To learn more, read "Fine China."
Purple Sweet Potato and Cranberry Tea Cakes
Recipe adapted from Mi Xun Teahouse, Chengdu, China
Yield: 6 tea cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time
1 medium (8 ounces) purple sweet potato
1 medium (8 ounces) white yam
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1. In a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, add enough water to come up just below the basket and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the sweet potato and yam in the basket and steam, covered, until tender when pierced with a knife, 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board until cool enough to handle, then peel and press through a ricer.
3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the riced potato and yam. Cook until dried slightly and the mixture has formed a single mass, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients to incorporate.
4. Line six 4-ounce ramekins with plastic wrap and press ¼ cup of the mixture into each, smoothing the tops flat. Let cool completely.
5. Use the plastic wrap to remove each cake from the ramekin and cut into wedges, then serve.