White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa)

This White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) recipe makes scrumptious snack cakes just like the ones in the Chinatown bakeries. I’ve loved White Sugar Sponge Cake as a child and whenever we went to our local Chinatown, I would beg my Mom to buy this treat for me. White Sugar Sponge Cake is sweet with a slight tang, pillowy soft and wonderfully spongy from the vertical striations, also called honeycombs, throughout the cake. How do you make this magical cake? You’ll be happy to know, it’s pretty easy! The recipe is straightforward with just 4 ingredients: rice flour, yeast, sugar and water. Watch the video below for the easy steps and then make some to enjoy! 🙂White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Delicious Snack Cakes! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Watch the video for instructions.

Jump to Recipe Card

Notes on the White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The trickiest part of the recipe is working with active dry yeast. Make sure the yeast is fresh and active, otherwise the cake won’t rise and have the airy and spongy texture. After proofing, the yeast should triple in size and be foamy.White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Easy 4 Ingredient Recipe! | recipe from runawayrice.com

You must use rice flour. Any other substitution will not yield the right texture. Learn about the Differences between Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour in this post.

Keep all liquid temperatures under 120 F (49 C) as higher temperatures will kill the yeast. Use a thermometer to check the temperature for accuracy.White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Just 4 Ingredients! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Allow the batter to rest in a warm environment to encourage the yeast to flourish. I place the batter bowl in the microwave with 2 cups boiling water to create a warm environment. You can also use your oven or Instant Pot.White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - No-Fail Recipe! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Allow the batter to rest for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. The batter should have lots of bubbles on the surface after the resting period. Depending on the air temperature, the resting time may vary a bit. During the summertime, I let the batter rest for 1 1/2 hours and during the colder months about 2 hours.

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Easy, Bakery-Style Recipe! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Avoid steaming the cake with high heat. This will cause the cake to swell and then contract, causing a wrinkly cake. Steam the cake using Medium heat. Let the cake cool in the steamer for 10 minutes before removing. The gradual cooling helps minimize deflating of the cake.

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Asian Bakery-Style Recipe! | recipe from runawayrice.com

The steam time is 25-30 minutes for a 9 inch round cake pan. Avoid over-steaming as this dries-out the cake. The texture of the White Sugar Sponge Cake should be soft and moist.

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Freshly Steamed and So Delicious! | recipe from runawayrice.com
 

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake / Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa

 

 
White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Pillowy Soft, Moist Cake! | recipe from runawayrice.com
Print

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake / Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 247 kcal
Author: Trang
This White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake / Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa recipe makes scrumptious snack cakes just like the ones in the Chinatown bakeries. I've loved White Sugar Sponge Cake as a child and whenever we went to our local Chinatown, I would beg my Mom to buy this treat for me. White Sugar Sponge Cake is sweet with a slight tang, pillowy soft and wonderfully spongy from the vertical striations, also called honeycombs, throughout the cake. How do you make this magical cake? You'll be happy to know, it's pretty easy! The recipe is straightforward with just 4 ingredients: rice flour, yeast, sugar and water. Watch the video below for the easy steps and then make some to enjoy! 🙂

Ingredients

Instructions

Proofing the Yeast

  1. Transfer 1/4 cup water to a cup or bowl. Microwave the water on High power for 10 seconds. (Water temperature should be 100-110 F (38-43 C)). Add the active dry yeast along with 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir to moisten the yeast. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes or until foamy.

Making the Batter

  1. Transfer the rice flour into a medium bowl. Add 3/4 cup water and combine together until smooth. (The mixture will be thick.)

  2. Add sugar to the remaining 1 cup water and combine together. Microwave the mixture on High powder for 45 seconds. Stir together dissolving the sugar. (Liquid temperature should be 100-110 F (38-43 C)).

  3. Add the yeast and sugar mixtures to the rice flour mixture. Stir the batter, combining all ingredients well. Cover the batter bowl with plastic wrap. Transfer the bowl into a microwave or oven. Place 2 cups boiling water next to the bowl to generate heat. Close the door and let the batter rest for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until large bubbles form on the surface. Stir the batter again, mixing well.

Steaming the Cake

  1. Coat the inside of a 9 inch round cake pan with vegetable oil. Place the cake pan inside the steamer tray. Fill a steamer basin halfway with water. Cover and bring to a rapid boil over High heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to Medium. Add the steamer tray with the cake pan. Stir the batter a few more times and then pour into the cake pan. Skim off any large bubbles from the top of the batter.
  3. Wrap a kitchen towel around the lid and place the lid on the steamer. Steam the cake for 25-30 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake and it should not have any wet batter sticking to it.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the cake rest in the steamer (lid off) for 10 minutes.

  5. Remove the cake from the steamer and let cool on the counter for another 10 minutes.

Serving and Storing

  1. Use a spatula to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and then transfer the cake to a large plate.
  2. Cut the cake into slices and enjoy as finger-food.
  3. Cover and store the White Sugar Sponge Cake at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Afterwards, refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm in the microwave or by gently steaming.

Recipe Video

Notes, Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure the yeast is fresh and active, otherwise the cake won't rise and have the airy and spongy texture. After proofing, the yeast should triple in size and be foamy.
  • Keep all liquid temperatures under 120 F (49 C) as higher temperatures will kill the yeast. Use a thermometer to check the temperature for accuracy.
  • Allow the batter to rest in a warm environment to encourage the yeast to flourish. Use  your microwave, oven or Instant Pot.
  • Avoid steaming the cake with high heat. This will cause the cake to swell and then contract, causing a wrinkly cake. Steam the cake using medium heat. Let the cake cool in the steamer for 10 minutes before removing. The gradual cooling helps minimize deflating of the cake.
  • Avoid over-steaming as this dries-out the cake. The texture of the White Sugar Sponge Cake should be soft and moist.

Nutrition Facts
White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake / Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 247 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 40mg1%
Carbohydrates 57g19%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Asian Bakery Recipe! | recipe from runawayrice.com

White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) - Magical Honeycomb Cake! | recipe from runawayrice.com

If you enjoy this White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa) recipe, you may also like:

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

 
 

, , ,

8 Responses to White Sugar Sponge Cake / Chinese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nguoi Hoa)

  1. Lynn October 5, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Trang, I’m still waiting for you post up a new courses. Are you well or not. Take care & love.

    • Trang October 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi Lynn,
      I am doing great! Thank you for your concern, just taking a little break to travel. Hope you and your family are well and thank you for your support. Much love! 🙂

  2. Belinda Chan September 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm #

    Hi chi Trang,
    My family can’t get enough of these yummy cakes. I’ve made several and they eat all in a matter of minutes. I thought this cake was difficult to make with and there was a secret to getting them with honeycombs but it’s so easy. Thank you for your recipe!

    • Trang September 13, 2019 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Belinda,
      I am thrilled your and your family love my easy recipe! Enjoy! 🙂

  3. ANNE MARIE VandenBerg September 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    I hope that you are having a good summer. Thanks for this recipe. I do have 2 questions: 1) instead of the hot water for proofing, could I just turn the oven light on? 2) have you used this same recipe and bake the cake instead of steaming it? I know that there is a specific recipe for the baked cake, which I have tried a couple of times…but have never been able to succeed. A real catastrophe! LOL. So I kinda gave up!
    I am so tempted to “bake” this recipe. What do you think?
    Well, if I do, I’ll let you know…and maybe, we can all have a good laugh!!!!!!! Another catastrophe!
    Take care.
    AM

    • Trang September 9, 2019 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi Anne Marie,
      I am having a wonderful summer and hope yours is awesome too! To answer your questions 1) Proofing with the oven light works great! I use my oven when my microwave is too small. 2) I have not tried baking this cake. It sounds intriguing and as I type this I hope you’ve tried it already, lol 🙂

  4. Ann August 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm #

    Hello chi Trang, we are going to a pot luck gathering this weekend and I am going to make this for dessert- I am so confident that it’s going ro turn out well that I won’t even make a trial run! Besides, I am on vacation so I don’t have all the ingredients anyway- thank you! I’m going to give it a 5 stars now

    • Trang September 9, 2019 at 4:23 pm #

      Hi Ann,
      I hope you had a wonderful pot luck and this cake turned out well! Thank you so much for your enthusiastic and continued support. I am so appreciative! <3

Leave a Reply

Back to Top