Mini Pumpkin Mooncakes

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you! Another fall celebration means another year of mooncakes, and this time their filled with pumpkin and chocolate chips. Surprised? I’m betting you are. These delicacies are a nice change from your every September mooncake, and better yet, they’re delicious and in keeping with the season!Inside these mooncakes is a cake filling that’s moist and dense. The cake itself is made from pumpkin quick bread crumbs melded together with a few spoonfuls of pumpkin butter. This cake pop-like filling serves as the swap out for the classic red bean or lotus seed paste typically found in mooncakes.

Store-bought slices of cake can also be used to create the filling. A small amount of crumbs goes a long way, and a few spoonfuls of icing easily serves as the binder. Dark chocolate or red velvet moon cake? Imagine the possibilities! For those wanting a healthier filling, try using your favorite energy ball recipe. Any paste with a rich flavor and dense, cuttable texture will work well here.

Personally, I like to use my favorite pumpkin bread recipe, with a few adjustments. When making the recipe, I typically reduce the sugar by half, add some vanilla extract, and double up on the ground cinnamon. For enough crumbs to make 24 of these Mini Pumpkin Mooncakes, I use only half a loaf of bread (or 1/4 of the full recipe).

mini pumpkin mooncakes 6When it comes to shaping the mooncakes, flour is your friend. Put a generous (even excessive) amount of flour in the molds, then use a pastry brush to lightly push the flour into all the nooks and crannies of the carved wood.To release the mooncake, give the edge of the long mold a few downward whacks against a hard, durable surface. I rap my mold against a wooden rolling pin, which allows the cake to fall onto my work surface without having to catch it.Typically, you’ll find a salted egg (or 2 or 3 or 4) tucked inside the filling of smooth bean paste. In this recipe, the salted egg is replaced with a handful of good ‘ole chocolate chips. It’s unexpected, but something most people love to discover more of. Serve these Mini Pumpkin Mooncakes a few at a time, as you would petit fours, with a good cup of Chinese tea.

Mini Pumpkin Mooncakes

Makes 24- 1.5″ x 1.5″ mooncakes.


{Skin Dough}

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp golden syrup (I used Lyle’s)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp alkaline water (get this at the Chinese grocery store)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups all purpose flour

plenty of bench flour

{Pumpkin Filling}

1/4 prepared recipe of pumpkin bread (or your favorite quick bread or cake), browned edges removed

1/4 cup pumpkin butter (more or less)

2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)

{Egg Wash}

1 egg

1 tsp water


large mixing bowl

plastic wrap

food processor, fitted with blade

mini mooncake mold (I got mine from The Wok Shop in San Francisco)

work surface

rolling pin

1 Tbsp measure

large baking sheet fitted with parchment

pastry brush

cooling rack


1. Make the Skin Dough. In a large bowl, mix together the syrup, coconut oil, and alkaline water. Add in the cinnamon and flour all at once, and mix together to form a clumpy dough. Knead the shaggy mass to form a smooth dough ball, then wrap it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

2. Make the Pumpkin Filling. Tear the pumpkin bread into pieces into the food processor. Process for 30 seconds or so, until all the pieces become fluffy crumbs. Add the pumpkin butter, and process again until the crumbs clump together into a mass. Depending on the moisture level in you pumpkin bread crumbs, you may need to slightly adjust the amount of pumpkin butter you add. Transfer the pumpkin filling into a large bowl and mix in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout.

3. Make a Dumpling. On a large work surface lightly dusted with bench flour, cut the skin dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rough 3 1/2″ circle. If you need to, coat your rolling pin in flour. Wrap a 1 Tbsp of the filling in the circle, then pinch to seal and enclose the filling.

4. Shape the Dumpling into a Mooncake. Prep the wooden mold by putting a generous amount of flour in the cavity. Use a pastry brush to brush the flour into all the nooks and crannies of the decorative mold. Now take the dumpling and generously flour it on all sides. Roll it into a cylinder-like shape, with the width less than 1 1/2″. Push the dough round into the cavity and press it in firmly with the palm of your hand.

5. Release the Mooncake. Hold one end of the wooden mold while smacking the other end against a hard, durable surface edge (or rolling pin) over the floured work surface. As the edges of mooncake start to release from the mold, lightly ease it out with your fingers, then place it on a baking sheet fitted with parchment. Gently dust it off with the pastry brush to reveal it’s decorative design. Set the oven to 350 degrees F. Repeat this process to make a total of 24 mini moon cakes.

6. Finish & Bake the Mooncakes. Place the moon cakes on the baking sheet at least 1/2″ apart. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Brush the mooncakes lightly, on all sides, with egg wash, then place them back in the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cakes are a rich mahogany brown on all sides. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once they have cooled, store these cakes in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Your mini mooncakes look absolutely amazing! Love the wonderful fusion of flavors you conjured up. Last night, my family and I gathered around the table tasting a handful of mooncakes from Starbucks (sold in HK that my brother got as a gift somehow). Those had great flavors but I think yours could easily go head to head with them! You make everything look easy (though they’re surely not) and so perfect! : )

Bonnie Eng

Wow, Starbucks mooncakes–would love to try those someday! Thanks so much for the kind words and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you and yours!! 😉


I had starbucks mooncakes in HK airport and they were the best mooncakes of my entire life – in the world. That said – they are anything but traditional. I remember them being almost like flan and espresso.

Bonnie Eng

Hahah, I told my mom about making these and she’s like: “pumpkin??” 🙂 What’s great is that you can easily fill half the mooncakes with a traditional filling like red bean/lotus seed paste, and fill the others with the cake filling of your choice. The chocolate chips end up making these taste kind of like rugelach, so if you like those, you’ll love these! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival Heather!!

Bonnie Eng

Happy belated Mid-Autumn Festival to you too Christine…thank you for the sweet message! 🙂


Those moon cakes are so pretty and cute as is your mold! I love the choice of your filling. I can remember the time I tried a moon cake and definitely was not that happy to bite into a salty egg while expecting something sweet 😉


These mooncakes are so utterly dainty and beautiful! And they must taste wonderful and so suited to this time of the year! Gorgeous!!


Bonnie these are gorgeous! I’ve never had moon cakes, but I can get behind anything as beautiful as these little cakes, especially when they’re filled with a seasonal pumpkin cake! such a genius idea.


Just made these tonight with my adopted Chinese girls. We tried traditional mooncakes (not a fan of the fillings…). We tried another homemade version last year, but these pumpkin ones are by far the best!! Thanks for the Chinese/American mooncake. We love them!

Bonnie Eng

Happy Mid-Autumn, Marnie! Thanks for the sweet message, makes me super happy to know that you were able to share these with your little ones. 🙂 If you’ve ever had cake pops/balls, any of those fillings will work here too! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Jane Kaufman

I’m losing my mind. I’ve made the dough twice now and it’s all wrong, falling apart, can’t even be kneaded. I wish I could see exact measurements in grams! I’m using the same exact ingredients, same brand as well, that are mentioned in this recipe. Has anyone actually tried to make this? Not working, please help!

Bonnie Eng

Thanks for your message, Jane. For the skin dough, as a general recommendation, I would say that if the dough is falling apart to go ahead and add some more of the golden syrup. Just add a little at a time (a teaspoon) until the dough comes together. You won’t want the dough too wet as this will make the cakes harder to form (especially if you are using a wooden mold). I have used the same skin dough recipe in another post of mine, Mooncake Brownie Bites. Sorry to hear about the troubles and hope this helps!

Jane Kaufman

Hi Bonnie, thank you so much for your reply! I’m going to try again this weekend. I think what may have happened was that I decided to knead the dough for like 10 minutes…was that a huge mistake? How long do you knead it for? It seems akin to the texture and consistency of cookie dough (as opposed to bread dough which would get kneaded for a long time). I think I was expecting it to get very stretchy and elastic like dumpling skin.