Active Time
30 MIN
Total Time
3 HR
Yield
Serves : 12

The jury’s still out on exactly how this crowd-pleasing sweet came by the nickname “Moon Cake,” but the one thing our editors couldn’t argue about is its heavenly flavor. Basically a gargantuan éclair, this cake features an ethereal choux pastry crust and a quick homemade vanilla custard layer, topped with drifts of mascarpone cheese–enriched whipped cream and generous curls of shaved chocolate. Be sure to keep an eye on the crust and custard while preparing this recipe; a little extra attention ensures a perfectly executed dessert.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2    

Combine 1 cup water, butter, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high; reduce heat to medium. Add flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a tight dough forms and pulls away from sides of pan, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer dough to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Step 3    

Beat on medium speed 1 minute to help release steam. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat until dough is thick and glossy, about 1 minute.

Step 4    

Place dough on prepared baking sheet; spread into a 13- x 9 1/2-inch rectangle, leaving 1/2-inch of parchment paper exposed around edges. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Step 5    

Make the custard: Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan; whisk in milk and eggs until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches a chilled pudding–like consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. Boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Let strained custard cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Spread custard on cooled crust.

Step 6    

Make the whipped cream: Place mascarpone, heavy cream, and powdered sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 7    

Assemble the cake: Spread whipped cream evenly over custard. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Chill, uncovered, until cold, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into squares just before serving.

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