Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes

Sweet and decadent Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes for a fun twist on a classic Chinese Mooncake. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

chocolate fudge mooncakes on plates

Asian Cakes and Desserts

So my kids are not the biggest fans of Asian cakes and desserts. Which I can somewhat understand because, when I was their age, it was hard to tempt me with a cake filled with durian paste too 😉 Plus, my parents ran a bakery selling French-style and Australian breads and pastries, so given the choice, I would always opt for a Cream Bun or Chocolate Eclair over something filled with red beans.

Fast forward a few decades and who knew that I would be craving all of those buns that my mum used to buy from the Chinese bakery across the street!

But I have some sympathy for my kids, and I think it’s mostly a matter of getting used to the flavours and textures of Asian cakes and desserts. In time, I hope they will love Asian baked goods just as much as I do.

chocolate fudge mooncakes on plates on pink table

Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes

In the weeks leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, I look forward to getting out my mooncake moulds and thinking about the different fillings I can make.

My favourite filling is a traditional one – Lotus Seed Paste with Salted Egg Yolks. My kids will try the Mooncakes with just Lotus Seed Paste, but they are not huge fans.

Enter my Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes! My kids loved them from the first bite, unsurprisingly! They are essentially a chocolate fudge squished into a mooncake mould, so they are quite rich and dense. These mooncakes are definitely for sharing!

I think they also provide a nice and fun alternative to a traditional Asian filling which many non-Asians would politely decline. I recommend making them alongside the traditional mooncakes so that you have a variety to offer.

chocolate fudge mooncakes on flower plate

Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes Recipe

This mooncake recipe is inspired by Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Hazelnut Mooncakes. I always love her spin on traditional Chinese recipes. And what a crazy coincidence that we even have the same mooncake moulds! Her recipe for mooncakes uses milk chocolate and hazelnut butter.

I’ve tweaked Molly’s recipe only slightly to instead use dark chocolate and everyday peanut butter (i.e. it contains a little sugar), because that is what we normally have in our home. I’ve tested the recipe with both smooth peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter – both work great here, use whichever you prefer!

If you opt to use all-natural peanut butter (i.e. the type with no sugar added), or even almond butter or cashew nut butter, you might want to add more icing sugar (powdered sugar) to taste. As the filling does not contain any raw egg, I suggest you taste the filling and adjust to your preference. I don’t like my cakes overly sweet, so I try to reduce where I can.

I have otherwise used my own recipe and method for the mooncake dough.

unbaked chocolate fudge mooncakes on baking tray

Mooncake Moulds

Pressing the mooncakes into different fancy shapes is undoubtedly the fun part of this recipe!

The mooncake moulds I use for this recipe are cheap and cheerful sets which are readily available on Amazon.

I recommend buying a set with multiple moulds so that you have a variety of patterns to use, and also a combination of square and round moulds.

If you are trying to introduce young children to mooncakes (or any Asian cake, for that matter), it helps to have fun, cartoon shapes on hand to entice them. Although, I am rather impartial to the Hello Kitty moulds for myself!

For this Chocolate Fudge Mooncake recipe, I recommend using the 50 g moulds because the filling is quite rich and dense.

baked chocolate fudge mooncakes on baking tray

How to Make Mooncakes

This mooncake recipe is a bit different to a traditional recipe for mooncakes, and it is also a bit easier.

For these Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes, you will need to do the following:

  1. Make the lye water (if necessary)
  2. Make the chocolate fudge filling
  3. Make the dough

How to Make Lye Water

Lye water is an alkaline water used in some recipes to help with texture or colour. For example, lye water gives pretzels their signature dark brown colour. For mooncakes, a small amount of lye water is used to give the dough a deep, golden colour.

Lye water is readily available in Asian grocery stores in some countries, but not in others. Due to its potency and irritant factor, lye water is even banned in some countries.

If you are unable to buy lye water, please see my recipe on how to make Lye Water with step-by-step photos.

step by step photos for making lye water
{How to Make Lye Water with step-by-step photos}

How to Make the Chocolate Fudge Filling

Compared to a traditional Asian filling for mooncakes, this chocolate fudge filling is super easy!

Simply melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water), whisk in the peanut butter, then add the icing sugar (powdered sugar) and cocoa powder.

Depending on the type of peanut butter that you are using, the consistency of the mixture might vary, especially since the consistency of peanut butter itself varies between brands.

Ultimately, you need a mixture which is thick but soft enough to roll into little balls. You may need to put the mixture into the fridge for 5-10 minutes for the mixture to firm up sufficiently before you cover them with the dough.

Additionally, once you have rolled the filling into balls, if the balls feel very soft and don’t hold their shape, i.e. they are sticky and floppy (like in my photo below), you may need to stick them in the fridge to firm up slightly.

However, do not leave them in the fridge for too long to become very cold and solid. Otherwise, you won’t be able to cover them with the dough and press them with the mooncake mould. You just want the filling to be firm (and cold) enough so they are not so sticky, and you can cover them easily with the dough.

My advice is to just try and wrap one piece of filling in the dough, and you will get the hang of how soft or firm the filling needs to be. And if the filling is too soft and melds with the dough, don’t fret. Press them in the mould anyway and bake them – they will still taste great!

chocolate fudge filling for mooncakes

How to Make Mooncake Dough

Please see full recipe instructions in the recipe card below.

This dough is fairly interesting in that it uses golden syrup for both moisture and sweetness. I don’t think you can substitute the golden syrup for another type of syrup, nor is it worthwhile if you want to create a mooncake which is both authentic in taste and texture.

I use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is commonly used in British and Australian baking recipes.

When making the mooncake dough, you want a mixture which is fairly soft and pliable. If the mixture looks too dry and crumbly, add a dash of water to try and bring the dough together. Otherwise, a dry dough will be difficult to roll out later to stretch and cover the filling.

When you roll out the dough, it should feel both sticky and oily.

making mooncake dough in white mixing bowl
mooncake dough in white mixing bowl
balls of mooncake dough on baking tray

How to Shape the Mooncakes

Please see full recipe instructions in the recipe card below.

For these Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes, I recommend using the 50 g moulds, which are generally the smallest you can buy. These Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes are very dense and filling, and I think a 50 g mould gives a good ratio of dough to filling.

Depending on the consistency of your dough, you may need to dust your mould with some flour to prevent the dough from sticking.

It may take you a few attempts to know how much pressure to apply and when to release the mould, but you should get the hang of it pretty quickly.

mooncake filling
pressing mooncakes with moulds

How to Bake the Mooncakes

Please see full instructions in the recipe card below.

Mooncakes need to be baked twice. The first bake is mostly to set the pattern before applying any egg wash. Otherwise, applying the egg wash first might prevent the patterns from staying in place.

After the first bake, you need to let the cakes cool slightly before applying the egg wash. If you apply the egg wash too soon, the egg might coagulate on the cakes and leave spots on the surface.

The egg wash should be brushed only very lightly on the cakes – you want just enough to moisten the dough and to help the cakes brown evenly. I recommend using a pastry brush with fine (natural) bristles which is better at applying the egg wash over the intricate patterns; a silicone brush generally picks up too much egg wash.

The second bake is to fully cook the mooncakes until they are golden brown all over.

unbaked mooncakes on small baking tray
brushing mooncakes with egg wash
baked mooncakes on baking tray

More Mooncake Recipes

Mooncakes with Lotus Seed Paste and Salted Egg Yolk

Print

Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes

5 from 1 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 10-12 small cakes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese

Sweet and decadent Chocolate Fudge Mooncakes for a fun twist on a classic Chinese Mooncake. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Fudge Filling

For the Mooncake Dough

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

For the Chocolate Fudge Filling (this step requires approx 30 mins)

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water).
  2. Whisk in the peanut butter.
  3. Take the pan or bowl off the heat.
  4. Stir in the icing sugar (powdered sugar), cocoa powder and salt.
  5. The mixture should thicken considerably and look like a stiff and sticky cookie dough. If necessary, let the mixture cool slightly (whether at room temperature or in the fridge), so that it is firm enough to work with.
  6. Divide the filling into about 12 portions, each weighing 30 g.
  7. Roll each portion of dough into a smooth ball.
  8. If the mixture is too soft and/or sticky to work with, put it back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up sufficiently.

For the Mooncake Dough (this step requires approx. 45 mins)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the golden syrup, oil and lye water.
  2. Add the flour.
  3. Mix everything together until a dough forms.
  4. Lightly knead the dough until you have a soft and smooth ball of dough. If the dough is too crumbly and doesn’t come together well, add some water.
  5. Wrap the dough in some cling film.
  6. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

To Prepare the Mooncake Dough

  1. At this stage, the dough should feel slightly oily and sticky.
  2. Portion the dough using a digital kitchen scale. You will need as many pieces of dough as you have balls of filling.
  3. Each portion of dough should weigh 20 g.
  4. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball.
  5. You will have leftover dough in this recipe.

To Assemble the Mooncakes

  1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Flatten a piece of Mooncake Dough into a thin round shape which is just large enough to encase the filling.
  3. Bring the edges of the dough up around the filling, cupping the mixture between your thumb and forefinger as you do so.
  4. Gently pinch the dough until it stretches to completely cover the filling.
  5. Pinch any cracks together, or even add a bit of extra dough to patch up any cracks if necessary.
  6. Roll the mixture into a smooth ball.
  7. Place the balls of filled dough onto the lined baking tray.

To Shape the Mooncakes

  1. Prepare the mooncake moulds by affixing your desired stamp to the plunger.
  2. It may be wise to lightly dust the moulds with some flour to stop the cakes from sticking to the stamps. But I generally find that the dough does not stick, especially if you are using the plastic mooncake moulds like I have.
  3. Place one ball into the mould. For square moulds, I recommend gently pushing the ball of dough into a squarish-shape with your fingers before inserting it into the mould.
  4. Place the plunger directly onto the baking tray, and press the plunger down with some gentle pressure. If you press down too hard, you might flatten the cakes too much.
  5. Gently release the mould from the cake.
  6. Repeat with the remaining balls of filled dough.
  7. The cakes do not spread as they bake, but I would still recommend spacing them apart so that they bake evenly.

To Bake the Mooncakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F (without fan).
  2. Bake the mooncakes for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the baking tray from the oven and let the cakes cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°F/320°F (without fan).
  5. Meanwhile, make the Egg Wash by whisking the egg with some water in a small bowl.
  6. Lightly brush the mooncakes with the Egg Wash, using a pastry brush with fine bristles (a silicon brush picks up too much egg wash for this task). Try to avoid putting too much Egg Wash onto the intricate patterns on the surface. If you have too much Egg Wash on the cakes, use some kitchen paper to blot the cakes.
  7. Return the baking tray to the oven.
  8. Continue baking the mooncakes for 10-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown all over.
  9. Let the mooncakes cool completely on the baking tray, which will allow them to develop a crisp bottom.

To Store the Mooncakes

  1. Store the mooncakes in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  2. The mooncakes are typically served after 1-2 days when the dough has softened slightly and the patterns become more settled and defined. However, I recommend trying at least one while it is still fresh and the dough is somewhat crispy.
  3. The mooncakes can also be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. Bring the cakes to room temperature before serving.

Kitchen Notes

RECIPE CREDIT
This recipe is adapted from Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Hazelnut Mooncakes.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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1 comment

  1. Kirsten 18 September 2022

    Wow great instructions! I can’t wait to try and make these mooncakes. Could you please share the link to your molds?

    Reply