Whenever I come back stateside, one thing I have to bring back is pineapple cake (鳳梨酥 / feng li su). Pineapple cake, is about as ubiquitous in Taiwanese gift shops as boba shops across the island. Various gift shops and grocery stores offer different brands of pineapple cake with Chia Te and Sunnyhill being some of the top brands.
I recently had the chance to learn about the pineapple cake-making process and make my own to take home.
To do this, I headed to the Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry (郭元益糕餅博物館 / guo yuan yi gao bing bo wu guan) in Shilin District.
After checking in, we were brought to the production area where our chef was getting ready to teach.
The ingredients were already portioned out for us upon arrival. You can see a cup with beaten eggs and button in the background.
I don’t have photos of me mixing, but there’s a lot of mixing that goes into making a great pineapple cake. For some of the participants, the chef would come over and show them how to mix.
After mixing the dough, we made little balls of dough that there equal in size. These balls were then squished in our palm. A small ball of pineapple (that kind of looked like a gumdrop) was placed inside and covered to create an even larger ball of dough.
We put the finished balls into these little tins and marked them so that we knew whose was whose.
While our cakes were baking, we were shown the museum part of this building. It was fun to learn about various Taiwanese traditions, as they related to food and cake. We were also treated to some of their top cakes.
The strangest one was the wedding cake (囍餅 / xi bing) that had meat in it.
Of course there was amazing tea to go with the cakes.
Here is the finished pineapple cake straight out of the oven.
We then received packaging materials and instructions on how to put it all together.
After careful folding, we placed the cakes in our box.
Our table-mates were really cute friends that seemed to enjoy our company.
We received a voucher, as a part of our ticket price, for 50 NTD. Collectively, we used the vouchers to get some chocolate cookies.
Here’s a view of the gift shop that you can use the voucher in.
I’m so used to experiencing travel though food. It was refreshing to take some time to relax and learn how to cook something uniquely Taiwanese.
If you’re in the area and want to give your hand a try at making a gift, check out Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry for a fun little experience. Just make a note that the pineapple cake only lasts for about a week in case you want to time your making experience for heading back home.