Highchair Travelers: Coconut Mooncakes

Coconut mooncakes featured copyLast year we taught you how to make delicious but fake American mooncakes. This year we decided to be brave and try some authentic recipes instead. After some trial and error, we think we have recreated a pretty close match to our favorite coconut mooncakes from the local Beijing bakery.

These taste remarkably close to the real thing but are made with ingredients that are easy to find in your regular western supermarket. Give them a try and celebrate this Saturday’s Mid Autumn Festival in style!

Coconut Mooncakes

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5-6 cups all purpose flour

1 c honey

¾ c + 2T oil– the original recipe uses peanut oil, but coconut oil tastes even better. You can also sub plain old vegetable oil.

1 egg

4 t baking soda

¼ c boiling water


1 c shredded coconut

1 c sugar (1/2 c if using sweetened coconut)

½ c all purpose flour

1 egg

½ c butter

1 ½ t vanilla extract

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix soda in boiling water. In large bowl, mix together honey, oil, soda mixture and egg. Stir in flour, adding more if needed.

Mooncakes 001Knead till mixed, but do not over-knead. Dough should be the texture of play-doh—not sticky but not too stiff.

Wrap dough and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

While dough is chilling, make filling. In food processor, combine all ingredients and process thoroughly to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can combine the ingredients in a mixer and mix as thoroughly as possible. You will have more visible coconut pieces in the finished cakes, but that doesn’t matter.)

Filling ready to go!

Filling ready to go!

You can chill the filling for 10-15 minutes as well to make it easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit (180 celcius).

Oil your molds by spraying with olive oil cooking spray or smearing with a thin coat of oil. Let it sit 10 minutes, then wipe gently with paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Remove the dough from the fridge and tear off about a golf-ball sized piece. Pat out into a thick circle, about ¼ inch thick.

Mooncakes 006 (2)Place a small teaspoonful of filling in the middle and shape the dough into a ball around the filling, being careful not to tear the dough and let the filling escape. (You can patch and fill any torn spots with more dough, it won’t matter.) When you have a small ball, press it gently into your mooncake mold to create the pattern on top.

Mooncakes 009 (2)If you don’t have a mooncake mold, you can buy one here or use anything else you have on hand. Play doh molds, craft supplies, all kinds of tools can create a beautiful patterned top to your cakes. Use your imagination!

Mooncakes 010Tap the mold to release the mooncakes and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till they are golden brown. Cool thoroughly before serving.

Mooncakes 017--cropMakes 30-40 mooncakes.

 中秋快乐! Zhōngqiū kuàilè!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!


Want more ideas for celebrating the Moon Festival or learning about China? Check out the rest of our China posts and our China Pinterest page.



2 thoughts on “Highchair Travelers: Coconut Mooncakes

  1. Melanie

    Hey! Your recipe sounds awesome, and I’m anxious to try it! I plan to make it to share with my college class. I’m doing an oral presentation on China, and since I’m getting graded on creativity, I decided I would bake. I bought a mooncake press, which is much different from a mold. I was just wondering what the dimensions of your mooncakes were, because I think I may want to make mine a little taller and with more filling. Also, if I do that, any idea on how much I might need to adjust the baking time? If not, that’s okay! I’ll just experiment with one or two until I can figure out how to get it right, lol.

    1. 80 Diapers Post author

      I’m guessing you are right and yours will be taller. Mine are only about an inch tall. It probably shouldn’t affect bake time much, since it’s mostly the “crust” that bakes and not the filling. I would start with the time I’ve listed and add a minute or two at a time. The good news is if they are overbaked a bit it won’t matter much, mooncakes are traditionally pretty hard on the outside.

      Good luck and I hope your presentation goes well!

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