Water Chestnut Cake Recipe – Chinese Famous Dim Sum

Water Chestnut Cakes are a well-known snack in Guangdong, China, especially in Guangzhou Province.

It can be easily found from tea houses to the breakfast stalls on the street.

water chestnut

My family loves to eat Water Chestnut Cake, so every time they go to a tea house, they will order this delicious treat!

water chestnut cake

Many people will make dim sum like these for their family not only because they are so delicious, but also because like the taro cake, it is a wish for good fortune.

A successful Water Chestnut Cake is soft; moist, and sweet. When you pick it up with your chopsticks, the cake will slightly tremble, this is how you know you have the perfect cake!

water chestnut cake

Before I started making Water Chestnut Cake: I read a lot of blog posts, referred to some known practices and summarized experiences. What I learned was that there are two main points to making a successful cake.

1. The ratio of dry ingredients to liquid ingredients:

This ratio determines the taste of the finished product. I have found that the best ratio is when the water is 4 to 5 times that of the Water Chestnut powder.

If you use 4 times water to the Water Chestnut powder, the finished product is elastic, and will become more solid after cooling. Make adjustments according to your favorite texture.

2. Temperature

Pay attention to the temperature when mixing the slurry. If the temperature is too low or too high, it will affect the finished product.

After several repeated attempts, I finally made a Water Chestnut Cake with a refreshing flavor, thanks to all the knowledge shared from experienced cooks.


Slurry material:

  • 1) 125g Water Chestnut powder
  • 2) 280g Water

Sugar water material:

  • 1) 130g White sugar (The amount of sugar can be increased for a sweeter cake)
  • 2) 280g Water
  • 3) 85g Water Chestnut Grain

White coconut juice layer:

  • 1) 50g Water Chestnut powder
  • 2) 125g Coconut Milk

Coconut milk/sugar water material:

  • 1) 50g of Icing Sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2) 62.5g Coconut milk
  • 3) 62.5g Water: 62.5g (my coconut milk is thicker, so I adjusted the amount of water accordingly)

(Note: The white coconut layer on the surface layer is optional. If you do it, you only need to apply a thin layer. The extra amount can be added to make the coconut cake.)

how to make water chestnut cake:

Step 1. After the Water Chestnut is peeled, gently smash it with the back of the knife. Some large pieces of the knife can be cut twice.

water chestnut cake step1

Step 2. Put 125g Water Chestnut powder into the bowl, add 280g of water, stir evenly with a whisk to make a slurry.

water chestnut cake step2

Step 3. Put the sugar into a pan and heat until golden (it will look like the picture below).

water chestnut cake step3-1

water chestnut cake step3-2

Step 4. Add 280g of water, boil until the sugar melts, add 85g Water Chestnut grain and turn off the flame.

water chestnut cake step4-1

water chestnut cake step4-2


Step 5. Mix the slurry of Step 2* with the whisk again, then slowly pour it into the Step 4* sugar water, and mix it evenly with the whisk. The sugar will gradually turn gelatinous. (note that you should slowly pour whilst stirring constantly, or it will form a block.)

water chestnut cake step5-1

water chestnut cake step5-2

water chestnut cake step5-3

Step 6. Pour into the mold (you do not need to apply oil), cover with plastic wrap (this is so the water from the steamer doesn’t affect the cake).

water chestnut cake step6

Step 7. After the water in the steamer is boiling, put it in and steam for about 35 minutes. Adjust the time according to the size and thickness of the cake and mold.

water chestnut cake step7

Step 8. After steaming, tear off the plastic wrap, and then release the mold after cooling (the colder the better). Your cakes are now done and you can enjoy!

water chestnut cake step8


1. The ratio of Water Chestnut powder to water determines the taste of the finished product. It can be considered that the water is 4 to 5 times of the powder.

2. Pay attention to the temperature when mixing the raw slurry. The temperature is too low or too high, it will affect the finished product.

3. Water Chestnut Cake is easy to release from the mold, no need to apply oil.

My first time making this was ruined because I did not use the correct water chestnut powder. The formula is the same, but the taste and texture are very different, so make sure you get the correct Water Chestnut powder.

This is the recommended Water Chestnut Powder.

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