Kitchn Love Letters

The Limited-Edition Mooncakes I Look Forward to Every Year

published Aug 19, 2022
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inside of a Lady M mooncake
Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t like mooncakes. In my opinion, traditional Cantonese-style mooncakes are dry and crumbly, and a little too dense and rich for my liking. And I’m not alone: Last year, nearly 3 million mooncakes were tossed by families living in Hong Kong. Yet, the mooncake is one of the most iconic baked goods of my ancestral culture. 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, the second-most significant holiday celebrated by the Chinese, you’re expected to exchange these elaborately stamped, expensive baked delicacies with family members and friends. To skip out on mooncake sharing is like spending all of Christmas without unwrapping a single present. It’s simply not the holiday without it.

Then last year, everything changed when I tried Lady M’s seasonal mooncakes. The luxury confectionery famous for its signature Mille Crepes cakes collaborated with Hong Kong’s legendary Kee Wah Bakery, the bride cake and mooncake specialists par excellence. The result was a world away from what I grew up with. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to revisiting the dan tat (egg tart)adjacent and the cocoa dust flavors again.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What’s So Great About Lady M Glowing Lights Mooncake Gift Set?

Much to my surprise, this year’s unveiling revealed the duo had changed things up this year. Instead of the tried-and-true vanilla-ish and chocolate combo, Lady M and Kee Wah Bakery came up with a trifecta of flavors: Coffee Caramel, Earl Grey, and Purple Yam Custard. Interesting — and not at all what I expected.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I opened the box to pull out a gorgeous butter-colored pail lantern with a gold metal bucket handle and rabbit, a symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The lantern was printed with metallic foil designs and, with the flip of a switch, it lit up with hues of yellow, fuchsia, chartreuse, tangerine, and violet, revealing a secret hilltop scene with temples, Huangshan pine trees, and, of course, gatherings of fuzzy bunnies.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

Inside the lantern is a collection of neatly stacked boxes. Each one holds a perfectly formed, plastic-wrapped mooncake in a rose-gold tray. The cakes themselves were as lovely as their presentation. 

I tried the Earl Grey first. Like any mooncake, there’s a density to it, but the Lady M ones have more of an airiness than the traditional ones. The cake was moist, soft, and a little powdery as it crumbled in my mouth. The bergamot was nicely understated and the tea’s signature flavor was milder than I’d expected — like washing an eggy custard down with a sip of cool milk tea at a Chinese bakery.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

Next was the Purple Yam Custard in, of course, the purple boxes. It looks more exciting than the others, with its semi-opaque shell hinting at the purple interior. But as a whole, it’s more comforting than anything else. There’s a warm flavor to it, like sweet potato pie but with fewer spices and more butter, making it feel more like a continuation of the mooncake pastry shell. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I saved the yellow-boxed Caramel Coffee Mooncake for last, expecting it to be my favorite. It didn’t disappoint. The flavor starts out sweet, but then the coffee creeps in with an almost chocolate earthiness. This was better than I’d even hoped, reminding me of biting into a pillowy bo lo bao (pineapple bun) and washing it down with the extra-strong, milky coffee served at my favorite Hong Kong-style bakery back in Flushing, New York.

Available now until supplies last, these mooncakes aren’t just meant to be given as token, obligatory gifts — they’re meant to be shared and enjoyed. The flavors are fun and novel enough that kids, adults, and even non-mooncake-enthusiasts will want to try them. And the presentation is one that can’t fail to bring joy. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

It’s worth noting that the excessive packaging materials used in Chinese gifting has become problematic to several groups. But my eco-conscience is on board with Lady M’s designs; they’re so gorgeous that they don’t go in the trash. They go on display, allowing me to savor the memory of the only mooncakes I’ve ever loved.

Buy: Lady M Glowing Lights Mooncake Gift Set, $78 for a set of 6 mooncakes

Have you tried these mooncakes from Lady M? Tell us about it in the comments below.