Delicious Yuting cake comes in a variety of tempting shapes. [Photo/ah.anhuinews.com]
In Yuting town – administered by Yixian county, in Huangshan city in Anhui province – traditional Yuting cake is a must-try food for visitors.
The main ingredients include choice local rice and sesame seeds. To make it, specially boiled sugar syrup is mixed with the cake powder in measured amounts. After that, it is fully mixed, rolled and pressed into a mold and the rough edges are removed. Finally, it is taken from the mold and put into a special bamboo basket and dried by a charcoal fire.
Folks in Yuting town, Huangshan make Yuting cakes to welcome in the new year. [Photo/ah.anhuinews.com]
The shapes of Yuting cake are mostly symbolic of wealth, good fortune and happiness – including the three gods of fortune, prosperity and longevity and the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. To this day some locals still have a lot of ancestral molds, some of them have a history of hundreds of years and are highly collectable.
The cake was known for being a popular food that was taken on business trips by Huizhou merchants, who accounted for almost half of China's wealth from the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It's also known as "eatable Huizhou stone carving" because of its black and off-white appearance.