Maybe not their official name, I’ve called these “paper cupcakes” my entire life. (I think they may technically be called 紙包蛋糕 , and who am I to argue?) If you stop in a Chinese bakery and mention “the cake baked in paper” you should be ok.
Instead of colorful, patterned, pleated and possibly foil-lined baking cups, these cakes appear to be baked in some leftover Xerox paper. I’m sure the paper is culinary-grade, but there’s still a certain endearing whimsy to the possibility of sending out an office memo on the wrapper once you’re done. (ATTN: All Personnel: I’m eating cake again, please restock the supplies ASAP.)
All that aside, these are lighter, fluffier, eggier, and taller than a regular cupcake. They’re similar to a sponge cake or a chiffon cake, and you can get them at most Chinese bakeries. I go to Chiu Quon Bakery in Chicago’s Chinatown, where on this past Sunday morning, I snagged the LAST ONE!! (truth be told, had there been more, I would have bought about 4 of them and eaten them all….)
*everything at Chiu Quon is lighter/less dense than you would expect – the coconut tart, egg tart and the buns are all fantastic especially paired with a cup of coffee or tea, and ps: everything is about $1, so don’t be afraid to try them all!