Learn how to make the famous Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes (Feng Li Su/鳳梨酥) at home. The buttery, tender, melt-in-the-mouth crust filled with sweet and tangy pineapple jam filling is so delicious and addicting.
Have you ever tried a Taiwanese pineapple cake? Pineapple cakes are a famous pastry from Taiwan. They are one of the must-buy souvenirs in Taiwan.
Surprisingly, these cakes are not too difficult to make as long as you have the ingredients and the right equipment. Let’s learn how to make these delicious treats at home.
What is Taiwanese Pineapple Cake?
Originating from Taiwan, pineapple cakes are known as feng li su (鳳梨酥) in Chinese. These cakes are usually square or rectangular-shaped and feature a tender, shortbread-like exterior with pineapple filling. They fall somewhere between a filled cookie and a mini tart rather than a cake.
In Taiwanese Hokkien, the word pineapple (ong lai/王梨) means “to come forth, prosperous and thriving”. The cakes symbolize wishes for a prosperous family and a sweet future. As a result, this delicacy is hugely popular during special occasions, especially during Lunar New Year.
Typically, the pineapple cakes are square or rectangular-shaped. Nowadays, you can easily find them in different shapes, such as mooncake shapes or 3D pineapple shapes.
The original flavor has pineapple jam inside. The bakeries have created variations on the traditional pineapple cake. The filling may also incorporate salted egg yolks or other fruits such as cranberries or strawberries.
Ingredients You Need
- Butter. You can use unsalted or salted butter. If you use salted butter, just omit the salt in the recipe.
- Confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar is used to get a softer texture and delicate melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
- Egg yolks. The egg yolk contains fat that helps add richness and tenderness to the cookies.
- Vanilla extract. To enhance the flavor.
- Cake flour. Cake flour has a lower protein content and makes a more tender pastry.
- Milk powder. Adds flavor and tenderness to the pastry.
- Almond flour. Makes the pastry more tender, nutty, and crumbly.
- Salt. Omit the salt if using salted butter.
Pineapple Jam Filling
- Fresh pineapples. Grate the pineapples for a fibrous texture or blend the pineapples with a blender for a more smooth texture.
- Granulated sugar. To sweeten and caramelize the jam.
- Salt. To enhance the sweetness.
- Spices. Cinnamon, cloves, and star anise are commonly used to infuse warmth and flavor. In this recipe, only cloves are used but you can add cinnamon and star anise if preferred.
Pineapple Cake Molds And Their Alternatives
The pineapple cake molds usually come with a press stamp. Mold size used in this recipe: 2×1.5×0.9 inch/5×3.8×2.2 cm. If using a different mold size, you will need to adjust the amount of the dough and pineapple filling.
If the size of your mold is different from what I use, try following these steps to decide the weight of the pastry and filling for each cake. You can fill up the mold you use with a small piece of dough. Press and remove the excess dough. Remove the dough from the mold and weight it. The ratio I use in this recipe is 2 parts of pastry to 1 part of filling. So, if the weight is 45 gr, then the amount of pastry is 30 gr and the filling is 15 gr. If you like more pineapple filling, you can adjust the ratio to your liking.
If you don’t have the specific mold, you can alternatively use a small muffin baking pan. Cookie cutters also work, but you will need a lot of them. You can also use a 50-gr mooncake mold, just make sure to dust the mooncake mold with a little flour so that the dough does not stick to the mold.
Make The Filling Ahead of Time
Make homemade pineapple jam from fresh pineapples because it tastes so much better than store-bought ones. You will need to make the pineapple jam filling at least a day before because it can take hours to reduce the grated pineapples and let the jam cool. When you have your jam ready, you can proceed to make these melt-in-the-mouth cookies.