Chinese Bakery Style Paper-Wrapped Sponge Cakes

chinese paper wrapped sponge cakes
Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Mildly sweet and impossibly fluffy, these paper-wrapped sponge cakes have been a favorite of mine since childhood. Along with gai mei bao (coconut cocktail buns) and dan tat (egg tarts), these simple cakes were a must-buy every time we visited a Chinese bakery. After years of attempting to recreate these treats at home, I’m so happy to finally share this recipe with you.

Tang-mian or “cooked dough” method

For this recipe, I use a technique known as tang mian, or cooked dough. Basically, the flour is “cooked” with heated oil and milk before getting mixed with other ingredients. Pre-coating the flour with fat limits gluten formation and yields an extra fluffy, moist, and cottony-textured cake. I’m not sure exactly where this technique originated, but it’s been popular amongst Asian bakers for quite some time. I’ve been experimenting with tang-mian recently and appreciate the textural difference particularly in tall cakes (less so in roll cakes, but that’s another recipe for another day). Try it and see what you think!

Keys to sponge cake success

As with all sponge-style cakes, the keys to success for these cupcakes are properly whipped egg whites and good folding technique.

This cake batter doesn’t contain any leavening agents (i.e. baking powder or soda). Instead, the rise all comes from the meringue — egg whites and sugar that are whipped to stiff peaks and folded into the batter.

I also use cold egg whites for this recipe. While most North American sponge or chiffon cake recipes direct you to use room temperature eggs, Asian cake recipes often call for using cold egg whites. Cold egg whites take longer to whip to stiff peaks, but this allows time to form a very fine and strong meringue with minimal risk of overbeating (a pinch of cream of tartar helps too). I mix on no higher than medium speed for.a smooth meringue with very small, even bubbles — this results in velvety-textured, smooth cake with no unsightly holes. You want to whip the meringue to stiff, shiny peaks for this recipe. This article from Fine Cooking pictures the various stages of meringue — very helpful!

Once you’ve created your perfect meringue, the trick is to incorporate it into the rest of the ingredients while still retaining the structure and air you’ve worked so hard to create. I start by whisking a small amount of meringue into the yolk batter to “temper” it, then scraping the yolk batter over the meringue and using a whisk to fold the two mixtures together. When just a few streaks of white remain, I switch to a silicone spatula and finish folding until the batter is all one color. You can also fold the meringue into the yolk batter in a few portions; but after making many, many chiffon and sponge cakes I find this method is more efficient — plus, I don’t end up with any film of yolk batter at the bottom of my mixing bowl. But use whatever folding method you prefer!

The molds

chinese flower sponge cake mold

If you grew up eating paper-wrapped sponge cakes, you may know that they are typically baked in flower-shaped individual tins. These tins are taller than typical cupcake molds and give these cakes their iconic shape. I got these flower cake molds from Hong Kong via a very kind friend. They are just under 2 3/4″ tall, just under 3″ wide at the top, and 1 7/8″ wide at the bottom (7cm tall, 7.1cm wide on top, 4.5cm wide on bottom).

Here are a few sources and ideas for finding for these tins:

Because I have such strong memories associated with these paper-wrapped cakes, using the proper molds absolutely enhanced my enjoyment of making them. The memories are not just about the taste of the cake — it’s the look and feel of them in your hand, the memory of peeling off the paper and slowly shredding off long pieces. If you have similar nostalgia and want to recreate this specific food memory, I think it’s 100% worth it to track some down.

HOWEVER! You can bake this batter in other cupcake or popover tins or even oven-safe paper cups — the cakes will still taste good. Here’s how I would calculate how much batter to fill a different-sized tin.

  • Weigh how much water it takes to fill your mold to the top and note the number in grams. For reference, one of my flower-shaped tins holds 180g of water, filled right to the top. You’ll sse these two numbers to calculate about how much batter to use per tin and your yield.
  • For example, one of my regular cupcake wells fits 100g of water. 100/180 = ~0.56. So, one of my regular cupcake wells holds 56% of the volume of one flower tin.
  • I use ~90g of batter per flower-shaped tin. Based on the previous calculation, I need 56% of that amount to fill a regular cupcake well. 90 x 0.56 = ~50. So I would use about 50g per cupcake mold, for a yield of 10-11 cupcakes. (90 x 6 = 540, total batter yield. 540 / 50 = 10.8. The recipe makes a little more than 540g to account for some loss in the bowls and utensils, so you should be able to get 11.)
  • Please note that the yield and baking time will vary depending on the size of your tin(s). Smaller, shallower cakes will bake faster than taller, thicker cakes.

It’s important to line whatever molds you use with parchment paper that extends the top edge. These delicate cakes rise quite a bit during baking and need the support. For my molds, I cut 7.5″ square papers out of parchment and followed this lining technique from Christine’s Recipes. For best results, take the time to crease the papers and get them to lie as flat as possible within the mold so batter doesn’t flow between the folds of the paper. I do NOT recommend using the method where you squish a paper into the mold using a similar-sized cup; though you can use a second mold to press the paper in tightly once you’ve folded and creased it.

Baker’s notes:

  • For best results, weigh your yolks and whites for this recipe. I use large eggs that typically weigh about 60g with shell, but even so I have noticed a surprising variance in how much large eggs weigh from brand to brand.
  • Cake flour helps achieve the very cottony, fine texture that is characteristic of these cakes. I do not recommend replacing with all-purpose. Cake flour tends to clump so I I sift it twice, once before adding to the milk-oil mixture and another time when I add it to the liquid.
chinese paper wrapped sponge cakes

Chinese Bakery Style Paper-Wrapped Sponge Cakes

Makes 6 large flower-shaped cupcakes (please read notes under “The Molds” if using different tins)

Ingredients:

  • 84g whole milk
  • 50g neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g cake flour, sifted
  • 100g egg yolks (from about 5 large eggs), cold
  • 150g egg whites (from about 5 large eggs), cold
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional — can sub with 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 84g granulated sugar, preferably caster or superfine

Method:

Preheat the oven and prepare the tins: Preheat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle. Line cupcake tins with parchment paper so the paper extends the rim of the mold (see above video for method). Place tins, evenly spaced, in a 9×13 baking pan or on a sheet tray.

Set up a bain-marie and heat milk and oil: Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and oil in a medium heatproof bowl. Once the water reaches a gentle simmer, set the bowl over the simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water). Whisk over the heat constantly until the mixture reaches 150F on an instant-read digital thermometer, about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bowl.

Make the yolk batter: Whisk the salt and vanilla into the warm milk-oil mixture. Sift in the cake flour and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 1-2 minutes (to avoid cooking the yolks), then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. The batter should be smooth and shiny. Set aside.

Make the meringue: Place the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl — choose something large and wide as eventually you’ll be mixing all the batter in it. Using an electric handheld mixer, whisk egg whites on low until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking on low to medium-low until the bubbles tighten and resemble shaving cream. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Turn the speed up to medium and whisk until the meringue holds stiff, shiny peaks when the beaters are raised slowly.

Combine the two batters: Whisk the egg yolk batter briefly to loosen. Add a large spoonful of meringue and fold in using a whisk or flexible spatula. Scrape the egg yolk batter into the bowl with the remaining meringue. Use a whisk to gently but thoroughly fold the mixtures together. Avoid stirring — we want to retain as much air as possible. Once the two mixtures are about 80% combined, switch to a flexible spatula and continue folding until you have one homogenous batter with no streaks of egg white remaining.

Portion the batter: Divide the batter among the prepared tins (for my flower shaped tins, about 90g each). The tins should be filled to the top. I used a medium cookie scoop to portion the batter; alternatively you can transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe it into the tins.

Bake the cakes: Bake until cakes are golden and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Try not to open the oven until the cakes are close to being done, or the delicate cakes may collapse. Immediately remove cupcakes from the tins and lay on their sides to cool on a wire cooling rack. This helps minimize shrinkage — a little is normal, but if cakes shrink significantly this is usually due to underbaking or a problem with the meringue/folding. Cakes are best enjoyed the day they’re baked, but leftovers can be stored for a couple days in an airtight container at room temperature or the refrigerator. Enjoy at room temperature.

paper wrapped sponge cake unwrapped

Related resources and recipes:

Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake with Dark Chocolate Mirror Glaze

chocolate raspberry mousse cake
Note: this post contains affiliate links.

For obvious reasons, I haven’t made many fancy cakes this past year. It’s hard to work up the enthusiasm when sharing celebrations with your extended family and friends isn’t an option (Zoom doesn’t count). But this week was my husband’s birthday, his second pandemic one. And even if the days of the past year have crawled along ever so slowly (especially lately — pandemic fatigue is real, I tell you), it still felt necessary to acknowledge their passing. With cake.

There’s a recipe called David’s Chocolate Raspberry Cake in my book. It’s his favorite, the classic combination of deep chocolate cake, bright raspberries, and silky chocolate frosting. He would have been more than happy with that, but I was in the mood for a Project. I didn’t dare stray from the chocolate-raspberry flavor combination, so this was all about repackaging. We start with the same chocolate cake, but this time the raspberry shows up an an intense gelée, a smooth crémeux (basically a fancy set pudding), and in the rich chocolate mousse. All of that is doused in a gloriously shiny glaze and sprinkled with chocolate crumbs (which taste like oreos) for texture. It was good, very good.

chocolate raspberry mousse cake inside

Tips for making mousse cakes

It’s all about the timing

Layered mousse cakes look impressive and complicated, but they aren’t necessarily more difficult to assemble than a “regular” layer cake. While there are several components, none are difficult to prepare and most can be made ahead of time. I suggest spreading the work out over a few days to keep the process relaxed and fun. For example, this is the schedule I followed:

  • Day 1: Make chocolate cake (store in fridge), gelée (freeze), and crémeux (freeze)
  • Day 2: Make chocolate crumbs, chocolate mousse, and assemble cake (freeze overnight)
  • Day 3 (serving day): Make glaze, glaze and decorate frozen cake, defrost in fridge, eat!

You can definitely condense the project into 2 days. However, the key timing points are to make sure the gelée/crémeux are frozen before assembly, the mousse is used right before assembly, and the entire cake is frozen before glazing. Once glazed, the cake will need at least 2 hours in the fridge to defrost before eating.

chocolate mirror glaze

Useful equipment

There are a few pieces of equipment that make assembling mousse cakes straightforward and produce sleek results.

  • Cake ring: Mousse cakes are often assembled in stainless steel rings that act as molds. I used a 6×3 cake ring.
  • Acetate: Also known as cake collars, these thin, transparent sheets line the cake ring and make the frozen cake easy to unmold. I used 3″ high acetate cut to fit the ring.
  • Instant-read digital thermometer: Important for the crémeux and mirror glaze, which are cooked or cooled to exact temperatures for best results. My favorite is the Thermapen.
  • Immersion blender: Not strictly necessary, but does help remove lumps from mirror glaze for a smooth finish. I use this Hamilton Beach immersion blender.

Specialty ingredients

  • Powdered gelatin: Gelatin is the setting agent in several layers. I generally use powdered because it’s readily available in my area. You’ll need 26g total (if you’re using packets, this is a little less than 4 packets).
  • Ruby chocolate: Ruby chocolate is a special variety of chocolate that is naturally pink. It has a unique fruity flavor that pairs really well with raspberries. I use Callebaut brand.
  • Raspberry puree: You will need 260g raspberry puree total for all the components. You can buy pre-made puree online from some specialty baking / food stores, or make your own. To make raspberry puree, I simply blended one 400g bag of frozen raspberries (after thawing). I used puree with seeds for the gelée, but strained out the seeds for the crémeux and mousse. I had just enough puree; so if you want to use all seedless I would start with ~550g frozen raspberries to ensure you have enough after straining.

Baker’s notes:

  • Before making the dark chocolate raspberry mousse, I recommend having your cake and gelée-crémeux layers trimmed and all your equipment for assembly ready to go. The gelatin in the mousse will begin setting as soon as you add the cream, and the longer you wait the harder it will be to spread.
  • I had intended to use another layer of cake but didn’t have quite enough room on after adding the gelée and crémeux. Next time I make this, I’ll put the first round of cake directly on the bottom of the cake ring and pipe mousse around it. That should give just enough room for another extra cake layer.
  • I didn’t use a piping bag to add the mousse and ended up missing a couple spots around the crémeux. I filled them in with some ganache before glazing, and that worked ok. But after about a day in the fridge the glaze sort of wrinkled where the ganache was (probably because it was a different density compared the mousse). So I definitely recommend using a piping bag and taking care to get all the edges filled with mousse for the cleanest finish!
  • The recipe for chocolate crumb makes quite a lot; feel free to cut in half or even a quarter depending on how much you want to use for garnish. I made a full batch to freeze extras for snacking and other projects.

Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake with Dark Chocolate Mirror Glaze

Makes one 6×3 mousse cake (serves 8-12) | Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Baked to Order; raspberry gelée, dark chocolate raspberry mousse, and dark chocolate glaze adapted from Dominique Ansel’s Everyone Can Bake; ruby raspberry crémeux adapted from Felicia Mayden; chocolate crumb adapted from Milk

Ingredients:

For the chocolate cake (Makes one 8″ round):
  • 57g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 27g neutral vegetable oil
  • 60g whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g all-purpose flour
  • 34g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 165g light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 80g sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 60g freshly brewed coffee
For the raspberry gelée (makes about 240g or 1 cup):
  • 20g cold water
  • 4g (scant 1 1/4 tsp) powdered gelatin
  • 185g raspberry puree (with or without seeds)
  • 30g granulated sugar
For the ruby raspberry crémeux (makes about 435g or 1 3/4 c):
  • 140g heavy cream (35%), divided
  • 3g (1 tsp) powdered gelatin
  • 115g ruby chocolate, chopped
  • 20g corn syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100g whole milk
  • 40g seedless raspberry puree
For the chocolate crumb (makes about 350g or 2 1/2 c):
  • 105g all-purpose flour
  • 4g (1 tsp) cornstarch
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 65g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 4g (1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 85g butter, melted
For the dark chocolate raspberry mousse (makes about 750g or 3 c):
  • 7g (2 1/4 tsp) powdered gelatin
  • 214g dark chocolate, chopped (I used half 54.5% Callebaut, half 70% Callebaut)
  • 182g whole milk, divided
  • 35g seedless raspberry puree
  • 315g cream (35%)
For the dark chocolate mirror glaze (makes about 500g or 2 c):
  • 60g cold water
  • 12g (4 tsp) powdered gelatin
  • 70g unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed)
  • 140g heavy cream
  • 75g room temperature water
  • 200g granulated sugar

To assemble:

Method:

For the chocolate cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the middle. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the pan again and dust with the cocoa powder.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter has melted, remove from the heat, and whisk in the oil, milk, and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the sour cream into the butter mixture, followed by the egg. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. Add the hot coffee and whisk just until smooth.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 25-32 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once the pan is cool enough to handle, run an offset spatula around the edge and turn the cake out to finish cooling completely. Wrap and chill the cake in the fridge until ready to assemble.

For the raspberry gelée:

Line a 6-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.

Bloom the gelatin: Combine the cold water and gelatin in a small bowl. Stir with a spoon until the gelatin has dissolved. Allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes.

Cook the gelée: In a medium saucepan, bring the raspberry puree and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Add the gelatin mixture and whisk to combine, making sure the gelatin completely dissolves.

Set the gelée: Pour the gelée into the prepared pan. Freeze until firm before adding crémeux, about 1 hour.

For the ruby raspberry crémeux:

Bloom the gelatin: Combine the gelatin and 15g of the heavy cream in a small bowl. Stir with a spoon until the gelatin has dissolved. Allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes.

Make the crémeux: Place the chopped ruby chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl and set a fine-meshed sieve over it.

Place egg yolk in a medium bowl. Heat the corn syrup in the microwave until warm. Slowly whisk into the egg yolk until smooth (warming the corn syrup helps temper the yolk).

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 120g heavy cream and whole milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Once the cream-milk mixture comes to a simmer, slowly whisk into the egg yolk mixture until well incorporated. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 180F on a digital thermometer. Remove from heat, then add bloomed gelatin and whisk to combine thoroughly. Strain mixture over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute, then whisk together to form a smooth emulsion. Add the raspberry puree and whisk in thoroughly.

Freeze the crémeux: Pour crémeux over set raspberry gelée. Freeze uncovered until top is set, about 1 hour. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top and freeze until completely solid, at least 5 hours or overnight.

For the chocolate crumb:

Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture forms small clusters.

Spread the clusters in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. (I like to squeeze some clumps together to get a mixture of bigger and smaller pieces.) Bake for 20-22 minutes, stirring occasionally to promote even baking. The clumps should be slightly moist to the touch; they will harden as they cool.

Let crumbs cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

For the dark chocolate raspberry mousse:

Note: prepare the mousse right before assembling the cake.

Combine the gelatin and 35g whole milk in a small bowl. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to bloom for 5-10 minutes.

Place the chopped dark chocolate in a medium bowl and set a fine-meshed sieve over it.

Put the remaining 147g milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until steaming, stirring occasionally. Once steaming, remove from heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin mixture.

Strain over the chopped chocolate. Let mixture sit, without stirring, for 30 seconds; then whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the raspberry puree and whisk until completel.ombined. Let cool at room temperature while you whip the cream (you want the ganache to be slightly warm when combining with the cream).

Place the cold heavy cream in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the whisk attachment). Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Slowly pour the ganache into the whipped cream a little at a time, gently folding it in with a spatula until just combined. Transfer to a piping bag and use immediately.

Assemble the chocolate raspberry mousse cake:

Note: I recommend preparing the cake ring and trimming the layers before making the dark chocolate raspberry mousse.

Line the inside of a 6×3 cake ring with acetate and set on a plastic-lined sheet pan. Make sure you have space in your freezer where the sheet pan can fit flat so the cake can freeze properly.

Trim the cake and gelée-crémeux rounds so both are about 1/4″ to 1/2″ smaller than the cake ring (5 1/2″ to 5 3/4″ inches in diameter). Trim the cake to about 1/2″ thickness. (Save leftovers for snacking or another project, or see baker’s notes for thoughts on using more cake layers.)

Prepare the dark chocolate raspberry mousse (see above).

Pipe about 1/2″ of mousse into the bottom of the cake ring. Lightly tap the pan to ensure there are no air bubbles and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Set the cake layer on top of the mousse and gently press into the mousse until the mousse comes over the edge of the cake a bit. Pipe in about 3/4″ layer of mousse into the cake ring covering the cake layer. Set the gelée-crémeux layer on top of the mousse, gelée side on top. Gently press into the mousse until the mousse comes up the edge of the crémeux. Pipe mousse around the edge of the gelée-crémeux, then pipe in mousse to fill the remainder of the mold. Tap pan again to remove any air bubbles. Smooth the top so it is perfectly flush with the top of the mold. (You may have a little mousse leftover — consider it a baker’s treat!)

Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make the dark chocolate glaze:

Note: prepare glaze about 1-2 hours before you want to glaze the cake, or at least 3-4 hours before serving. After glazing the cake will still need fully defrost in the fridge before serving.

Combine the gelatin and 60g cold water in a medium bowl. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to bloom for 5-10 minutes.

Sift the cocoa powder into a medium saucepan. Add the 75g room temperature water and stir to form a thick paste. Add a small amount of cream and whisk to loosen. Add the remaining cream and sugar and whisk to combine.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the glaze just comes to a boil, about 3-5 minutes.

Set a fine-meshed sieve over the bloomed gelatin and pour the glaze through the sieve. Whisk to combine and melt the gelatin. Blend with an immersion blender to remove lumps and air bubbles. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and cool to 95F before glazing the cake (this took me about an hour). Right before glazing, strain glaze again into a tall pouring container to remove any air bubbles — pour from a low distance for best results. (Note: glaze can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week; rewarm in the microwave to 95F before using.)

Glaze the mousse cake:

At least 3 hours before serving, unmold and glaze the cake. Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap and set a sturdy plastic container or 4″ cake pan on top. (You want something smaller than the diameter of the cake so the glaze will drip off properly, but make sure it’s level and sturdy.) Take the cake out of the freezer and remove the cake ring. Move the cake to a 6″ cake board and remove the acetate. Double check the glaze is at working temperature — at 95F — before glazing. If not, wrap cake tightly in plastic and keep in freezer until ready to glaze — the cake must be frozen and not starting to melt when the glaze is applied.

In one swift and confident motion, pour most of the glaze over the center of the cake. If everything is at the proper temperature, the glaze should flow down and cling to the sides of the cake. If there are any spots that get missed, use an offset spatula to gently smear some extra glaze on. Let set for a couple of minutes, then use an offset spatula to cut off any stray drips at the base of the cake.

Finish and serve the mousse cake

Use a cake lifter or a couple of offset spatulas to move the glazed cake onto a serving plate. (The extra glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or frozen; rewarm before using.) Decorate with chocolate crumbs at this point if desired (they will adhere better when the glaze is still a little sticky). Transfer cake to the refrigerator to thaw completely before serving (at least 2 hours, or up to a couple days). Decorate with edible glitter paint, and fresh raspberries (brushed with some warmed apricot jam for shine), if desired, before serving.

chocolate raspberry mousse cake slice

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Blueberry Rye Scones

blueberry rye scones

Meet my favorite coffee companion. Crisp on the outside, tender and fruit-studded on the inside, these blueberry rye scones are everything I want in a breakfast treat. As with pie dough, I always make scones with a portion of wholegrain flour for an extra dimension of flavor. I love the pairing of earthy rye with berries; but spelt, einkorn, or whole wheat work fine as well. The lemon glaze is optional for me, but not for my kids. If you’re going with the glaze, feel free to add the zest of the lemon into the scone dough.

Baker’s notes:

  • If you’re like me and don’t even think about baking BC (before coffee), prep the scones in advance through the chilling and cutting step. Freeze directly on the sheet tray until solid, then transfer the frozen scones to a ziplock bag and bake them off as needed (they’ll likely need a few extra minutes of bake time).
blueberry rye scone

Blueberry Rye Scones

Makes 8 scones | Adapted from Baked to Order

Ingredients:

For the blueberry rye scones:

  • 250g (2 c) all-purpose flour
  • 63g (2/3 c) whole rye flour
  • 50g (1/4 c) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half as much for table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 85g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 170g (1 1/4 c) fresh blueberries
  • 120g (1/2 c) cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 60g (1/4 c) sour cream, cold
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

For the lemon glaze (optional):

  • 60g (1/2 c) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed

Method:

  • Make the scone dough: Line a 6-inch cake pan with plastic wrap and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
  • Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry ingredients and cut it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or your fingers. You should have varying sizes of butter pieces, ranging from pea to nickel shaped. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  • Whisk together the heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and extracts. Pour over the dry ingredients and gently fold in with a spatula until combined. The dough should be a bit shaggy, but should hold together. If not, add more cold cream 1 teaspoon at a time until it does. Gently fold the dough onto itself until it becomes a cohesive mass.
  • Chill the dough and preheat the oven: Transfer dough to the prepared cake pan and freeze for about 20-30 minutes or until slightly hardened. While scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle. Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper. (I like to bake these scones with an extra baking sheet underneath to keep the bottoms from browning too much.)
  • Cut and bake the scones: When scone dough is chilled, invert onto a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut like a pie into eight wedges. Transfer scones to prepared sheet pan. Lightly brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake for 22-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Glaze and enjoy: While the scones are cooling, make the glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add 2 tsp lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Add more lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is smooth and pourable. Drizzle or spoon over the scones. Enjoy immediately.
  • Storage: Scones are best freshly baked, but you can store them well wrapped at room temperature for a few days. (I would hold off on glazing until you’re ready to eat them.) Reheat for 5 to 10 minutes in a 350°F (175°C) oven. You can also freeze scones unbaked and bake them straight from frozen (you may need to add a few extra minutes of baking time).
unglazed blueberry rye scones

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