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Mid Autumn Festival Fall Traditions with Mooncake Recipe

The Mid Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month based on the Chinese lunar calendar. It occurs at the time of the year when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

There are plenty of legends and history behind this fall celebration, but what I remember the most while growing up were the mooncakes that my mom made. Mooncakes are round pastries with a firm, glazed dough with fillings such as red bean paste, lotus bean paste, and even fruit, nuts, and meat. The round shape of the mooncakes symbolizes “reunion,” and as such people give them to friends and relatives to wish them a joyful and long life.

Though Chinese grocery stores sell mooncakes during the weeks surrounding the Mid Autumn Festival, I always found the store-bought cake filling to be too sweet or too artificially colored red for my liking. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to my mom’s mooncakes with red bean paste.

Some moon cake versions include a filling with a whole egg yolk in the middle surrounded by a bean paste. My mom never put whole yolks in her eggs, but some people really like them. When they cut their mooncakes into quarters, they’ll find a tasty bit of yellow yolk in each piece.

Here’s a recipe that does not include the yolk just like the kind I grew up eating. This recipe requires a mooncake mold. If you don’t have an Asian specialty store or a Chinatown nearby, search online like at Amazon.com to purchase.

Moon Cake with Red Bean Paste Filling

Moon Cake with Red Bean Paste Filling


  • 2 cups red bean paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten


  1. Preheat over to 375°F.
  2. Divide bean paste into 10 sections. Roll each section into a ball.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and dry milk powder into a large bowl. Sift 2 additional times.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar in another large bowl until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes if using an electric mixer. Add melted butter and salt. Add flour mixture and mix to a soft dough.
  5. Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each dough ball into a 4-inch circle. Place a bean paste ball in the center of a circle and gather edges to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining dough and bean paste balls.
  6. Place cake into moon cake mold, then turn mold over and tap on the back to remove cake. Place cakes on a baking sheet. Brush each cake with beaten egg yolk to create the glaze.
  7. Place a small pan of water in the oven for moisture and to prevent cracking in the cakes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until browned. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a rack. Serve immediately or wrap cooled cakes in wax paper or aluminum foil until ready to serve.


Find canned red bean paste in Asian grocery stores. For moon cake molds search online to purchase if no Asian specialty shops are nearby.

Whether you end up purchasing mooncakes or making them yourself, have a very happy Mid Autumn Festival celebration!

Asian Mom Bloggers

Our September blog carnival is all about our family’s fall traditions. Check out what cool things my fellow #AsianMomBloggers and their family do when the weather cools down for autumn.


  1. Wow you are so lucky to have homemade moon cakes! I’ve never been a fan of the store bought fillings either. This year I bought the moon cakes from the Peninsula Hotel because they use the egg custard filling. If these don’t work out, I’m going to make them also next year.

  2. Nice! I bought one of those wooden molds in Taiwan but I have yet to try it. My family never made moon cakes at home, and I really want to learn this tradition.

  3. You are SOOO lucky to have had homemade ones! I had never had one until I was an adult! And only ONCE! 🙁 oh well…I got some from the store…but they are SO expensive! they must be hard to make to be so expensive!

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