Thousand Layer Cake

千層糕 Thousand Layer Cake

This is almost an iconic dish you can find in an authentic dim sum restaurant, though less and less seen nowadays. I made this just to satisfy my childhood memory of the first time I ate this thousand layer cake in a really old dim sum place. The steamed dough layers are soft and fluffy; salted dock egg yolk, dessicated coconut, and sweet mashed pumpkin incorporated together really elevate the flavor of the filling. Happy, hearty, scrumptious tastes all in one bite of this little thousand layer cake.  

Note–Many of the thousand layer cake you found in dim sum restaurants usually use premade custard powder mixed with salted dock egg yolk for the filling. Faster and better color to look at.  I prefer to mix with my homemade custard instead, natural and healthier. Or add mashed pumpkin and condensed milk instead since it’s season for pumpkin now.    


The Filling

  • 3 Salted duck egg yolk (if you don’t have salted duck egg, substitute with equal amount of raw egg yolk)
  • 50 g of condensed milk
  • 300 g of mashed pumpkin
  • 40 g of dessicated coconut
  • Rum


  • 300 g of all purpose flour
  • 30 g of white sugar (if you don’t mind the color of dough, brown sugar is all fine)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (to make the dough whiter)
  • 25 g of olive oil
  • 160 g of water

How to make it:

  1. Prepare the dough: add in all ingredients in a large bowl except water. Pour in water little by little to mix all the ingredients, stir continuously until crumbly then use your hand to knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the surface is smooth. Cover it with a clean, wet cloth, set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Make mashed pumpkin. You can either steam or microwave the pumpkin. I prefer not to use microwave oven, but there will be extra moisture left in steamed pumpkin, so I usually drain pumpkin and mash it at the same time on a sieve.
  3. Sprinkle rum over the salted duck egg yolk then bake in oven 150 °C for 8 minutes. (If you use raw egg yolk, add directly into mashed pumpkin without baking it) Mince dock egg yolk when cooled down then add into mashed pumpkin. Add dessicated coconut, condensed milk and stir until mixed well.
  4. Divide the dough into 5 even portions. Flatten dough with a rolling pin until thin as a sheet (about 3 mm) and square in shape. A pasta machine can be handy and works easier to remove bubbles in dough. But I find careful hand rolling is lots of fun, too. When a dough sheet is ready, spread on mashed pumpkin mix evenly. Repeat until done.
  5. Steam with cold water for 20 minutes. Leave the cake to cool down in your steamer for a few minutes. DO NOT open the lid right away to make sure a flat surface of the cake. Cut and serve when the cake is still warm. Enjoy!

Traveling around the world, I’ve seen how those Chinese take out mislead people’s perception about Chinese food. Wok fried, heavy seasoned with soy sauce and MSG, cornstarch thickened at all time is not authentic Chinese cooking. Real Chinese cuisine is mastering selections of fresh ingredients, seasonings, various cooking methods to deliver genuine taste of food that wow your taste buds. I’m no Michelin chef but someone who knows how authentic Chinese cuisine should taste like. Welcome to my dinning table and enjoy the real Chinese food. Bon appétit!