Corner Café

August 30, 2008

Cocktail Buns / Kai Mei Pau 雞尾包

Filed under: Breads & Quick Breads — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Makes 8 buns

1/2 portion Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough
1/2 egg, lightly beaten for eggwash
White sesame seeds

Cocktail Bun Filling:
100g softened butter
45g plain flour, sifted
50g milk powder, sifted
45g caster sugar, sifted
20g desiccated coconut

Mexican Topping:
30g softened butter
10g caster sugar, sifted
20g plain flour, sifted
1. To prepare the Cocktail Bun Filling: Mix everything together. Divide into 8 equal portions.
2. To prepare the Mexican Topping: Cream softened butter and sugar until pale. Fold in flour. Transfer into a small freezer/snack bag with a tiny cut at one corner for piping (or use a piping bag fixed with a 1/2cm or smaller round nozzle).
3. Prepare the Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough as directed in Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough post up to step 3.
4. Take one of the 8 small divided balls and roll out with a rolling pin into a flat circle. Place one portion of the Cocktail Bun Filling in the centre of dough circle.
5. Gather the outer edges of the dough circle and wrap up the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal in the filling. Roll the sealed dough with your palm on the work surface lightly up and down to shape the dough into a cylindrical shape. Repeat with the other 7 dough balls.
6. Let rise, lightly covered, until double in size on a lightly greased tray. When ready, brush with eggwash. Then sprinkle a little sesame seeds onto the buns and pipe 2 lines of the Mexican Topping on top of each bun.
7. Bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Taste: Soft, fluffy and light buns with delicious coconut buttercream filling
Consume: Best served warm but also good at room temperature
Storage: Can be kept for up to 2 to 3 days in airtight container in room temperature or up to 1 week in the refrigerator, re-heat in the oven or microwave before serving
Recipe Reference: Cocktail bun filling and topping recipes from the ‘雞尾包’ recipe in the Chinese cookbook ‘專業麵包製作’ by 周健文 and 馮詠楷


  1. Hi SD! I’m glad I found your new blog via Lily’s. I loved your Cafe of the East recipes! Can’t wait to try some of your recipes here.

    Comment by Tastes of Home — September 1, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  2. Hello!
    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this recipe! I couldn’t find many recipes for cocktail buns! Just made these first time, and they ast really good!..almost like the cocktail buns you get in HK! The filling is pretty much the same! My dough didn’t seem as soft as I expected, but that could be due to my wet roux thing…as I don’t have a thermometer for that! But still! very happy with the result! More practices required for me! 😀

    Comment by Amy — January 22, 2009 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  3. i just made this and I loved the filling! i think i need to let my dough rise a bit more as they weren’t as fluffy and soft as i would like. I was wondering if it’s okay to use your recipe in my blog and link it back to your site as the source?

    Comment by ktpooh — January 22, 2009 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  4. Amy,
    You’re welcome.

    Thanks and yes, and appreciate for asking and letting me know.

    Comment by SeaDragon — January 25, 2009 @ 9:21 am | Reply

  5. Mmm coconut buns
    These must have been so good to eat 😀

    Eternal respect to you for knowing how to make them!
    I have to feed my addiction at the Chinatown bun shops haha. I always go for the browner, crispier looking ones, with lots of sesame seeds on top… if these ones were on display they would be gone in a snap haha

    Comment by Grace — March 3, 2009 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

    • Grace,
      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Love going to Asian bakeries too, always so many different breads/buns to choose from.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 4, 2009 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  6. hi! i have a quick question. What can i do to replace the milk powder in the recipe? Can i omit it altogether?or perhaps add a little extra flour? We never use milk powder and so i never buy any. Any recommendations would be much appreicaited, i have been wanting to make these for some times now. Your pictures are beautiful and are making my mouth water! lol

    Comment by charlotte — April 28, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Reply

    • You can use milk to replace the water and milk powder. But please warm the milk before using. However if you want the best tasting buns or you plan to make the recipe regularly, I would suggest you use the milk powder. The milk powder allows you to get the correct amount of milk solids for the proportion of the recipe.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 29, 2009 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  7. I have a question

    I bought some baked buns at an asian bakery in chinatown that has got light white cream filling. DO you know what kind of bun that is and do you have any idea of a recipe for making those buns?


    Comment by lilyeb — June 4, 2009 @ 6:55 am | Reply

    • You asked that same question under the ‘Coconut Buns’ post already. Was the filling baked inside the buns or was it added on after the buns were baked?

      Comment by SeaDragon — June 4, 2009 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  8. The filling was added after the buns were made.

    Comment by lilyeb — June 5, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  9. Thanks SeaDragon. Looks like the right one. I will try your recipe and find out.

    Comment by lilyeb — June 6, 2009 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  10. Hi there,
    I would very much prefer to use my own sweet bun recipe but your topping and filling looks awesome.
    I would like to know whether you can give me an estimate of how heavy should each dough be.
    You mentioned divide into 8 parts but didnt mention how many gram each one should me.
    I usually measure my stuffs.
    Thanks for giving this engineer from down under a number!

    Comment by Quinn — June 25, 2009 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

    • Hi Quinn,
      You can just add together the total weight for the filling ingredients and divide by 8, should then give you the weight for each portion.

      Comment by SeaDragon — June 27, 2009 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  11. Hi SeaDragon,
    Sorry I did not make myself clear.
    I actually wanna know how heavy each bread dough is, not the filling.
    I can weigh thilling myself when I am making this 🙂
    Thanks a lot…

    Comment by Quinn — June 30, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • Oops, my mistake, I just assumed since the question is under this post, it is to do with the filling. The divided dough should be about 55g to 60g each.

      Comment by SeaDragon — July 2, 2009 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  12. Thanks a million!

    Comment by Quinn — July 6, 2009 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  13. Hi SeaDragon,

    I am a die hard HK citizen and I missed my HK style buns, but nothing authentic could be found in Vietnam, where I station now. I was so excited when I found yr recipe here. I read it over and over for a few times before I started to work in the kitchen. However I have encountered certain problems. 1) My first rise takes more than an hour to double, but I live in south of VN, it is always warm and humid enough. Should I proof the yeast first? (I am using instant yeast) 2) As I have gone to the second rise stage, I did the finger test, it looked OK before I egg washed and pipe the buns. But then after 15 min of baking, it was still not quite brown enough, so I let it go another 5, still not the lovely brown as your picture. Was it because the egg wash is not abundant enough? 3) I can’t wait to take my first bite, but the bun is not as soft and fluffy as seen in your picture. I was a little disappointed with my work and honestly, I ain’t a novice baker, but have never work with Water Roux. Can you point out some areas of concern / tips to make improvements? Thousand thanks!!

    Comment by MLee — October 24, 2009 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

    • MLee,
      First of all, did you bake 16 or only 8 buns? If only 8, did you only made half the water roux only? I recently answered a very similar problem in my old post here, please read the comment section and see if those tips help. Eggwash usually only produces a shiny glaze on the buns, it helps a little but it is the sugar that caramelised to make the buns brown. Maybe check the oven temperature to make sure it is what it indicates using an oven thermometer. Instant yeast does not need pre-proving, only active dry yeast needs to pre-prove in a little warm water first. Also time of prove is only a rough guide only, you need to make sure the dough is double in size which is more accurate. Let me know if you have other questions.

      Comment by SeaDragon — October 24, 2009 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  14. Hi SeaDragon,

    Thanks for your prompt response. I just came back from a business trip and read through your old post again and again to make sure I registered every details. I guess my problem could be overproofing. I might have left my second proof in a over heated environment (inside a closed door warm oven) too long. I should get a candy thermometer too. Anyway, taking all your advises I will try again today. Will let you know on the result then. Glad that I found your website, you are a great help!!

    Comment by MLee — October 30, 2009 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

    • No worries, hope you’ve success this time.

      Comment by SeaDragon — October 31, 2009 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  15. And oh! I was using 1/2 portion of the water roux in my first trail. ^^

    Comment by MLee — October 30, 2009 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  16. Hi, i tried this recipe out for the first time and it tasted sooo nice (made 16), everything worked out perfectly well until when it comes to the egg wash, problem is the shape of it….after i brush the shaped proved dough with the egg wash, it went flat, even after baking it, it doesnt make the size of it any different…so i was wondering how i could retain its size/shape of the dough like what it had looked like after the final proving process? Many Thanx 🙂

    Comment by panda — May 26, 2010 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

    • That sounds like you over-proved the dough during the second rise. It depends on the temperature of the day, if it is hot sometimes half an hour, or less is more than enough time for the second rise.

      Comment by SeaDragon — May 29, 2010 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  17. […] of Cocktail Buns and needed to take matters into my own hands. My sister recommended trying out the Corner Cafe’s version which used a good amount of milk powder in the recipe. What further intrigued me was the […]

    Pingback by Cocktail Buns….Take 1 « The Culinary Chronicles — January 13, 2011 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  18. Hi SeaDragon,

    Thanks for your recipe! I always wanted to try to make the sweet soft bun as I’m not able to get them easily in where I live.

    I tried the recipe yesterday and the buns were soft when they were just out from oven (by the way, I made 8 buns and hence halve all the ingredients, including water roux).

    However, after a night (in a room temperature), the buns became hard. Is that normal? How can I get the buns remain as soft even after a day – just like those are sold in chinese bakery (their buns remain as soft even after a couple of days)? Could it be because they’ve put in some bread softener in the dough?

    Your advice is much appreciated! Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Comment by VW — July 17, 2012 @ 7:09 am | Reply

    • Please DO NOT reduce the amount of water roux as stated in the recipe given, there is a reason why I gave that amount. If you reduce the water roux by half, it is very difficult to cook it properly and failure is very high, that’s why your buns did not stay soft the next day. Hope this helps.

      Comment by SeaDragon — July 17, 2012 @ 8:37 am | Reply

      • Hi SeaDragon,

        Thanks for your prompt reply. Sorry for being a bit blur here but I thought I’d ask to clarify – the reason I halve the amount of water roux is because I made 8 buns while the recipe you provided is for 16 buns with water roux of 25g flour + 125ml water. Hence, wouldn’t it be reasonable to mix the water roux with 12.5g flour + 62.5g flour for 8 buns recipe?

        If the water roux is not reduced this way, how much should I add into the recipe in order to make only 8 buns?

        Sorry for being a bit dip. But your advice is much appreciated.!

        Comment by VW — July 17, 2012 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

        • Hi SeaDragon,

          I think I’ve got the answer I wanted from your older blog in blogspot. I’ll use the given quantity and try again but with this time only use of the water roux in my recipe to make 8 buns. I’ll let you know the outcome. Cheers! 🙂

          Comment by VW — July 18, 2012 @ 7:00 am | Reply

          • LOL, sorry for not making my reply clearer. Yes, need to cook the full amount of water roux as stated in the recipe to ensure success and then use half of that if making 8 buns.

            Comment by SeaDragon — July 22, 2012 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

            • Hi SeaDragon,

              I tried again today with cooking the full amount of water roux (but use half cos I made 8 buns). The result wasn’t good – the buns were hard, even just came out from the oven. Where have I made wrong? I suspect it was the kneading part. I looked at your older post in another blog and you explained very clearly about the kneading, which I tried to follow. But I wasn’t able to knead the dough to a chewy stage – i.e. the stage where the dough stick to the worktop and stretch like a gum when it’s pulled. The dough was stretchy but not chewy, and it sometimes can break into two when I threw it on to the worktop or it’s breakable quite easily. I knead for more than 25 mins and stopped when it got stretchy long (yet breakable when pulled). Is there something wrong with my kneading? Have I over done (under done) the kneading? Perhaps do you have a photo/video could demonstrate how the end result of the kneading should be? Many thanks for your advice. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

              Comment by VW — July 23, 2012 @ 8:55 am | Reply

              • There could be a few reasons. Are you using the correct yeast? Or have you used water that’s too hot and killed the yeast? When the buns are hard when just baked, that is a sign that the yeast is not working. When you proved the buns, did they doubled in size? I don’t think the problem is kneading, btw, I don’t do video but there should be a lot of YouTube videos out there that you can look for to watch and learn.

                Comment by SeaDragon — July 26, 2012 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

                • Hi SeaDragon,

                  The dough did double in size when it was proving. I also tested using the finger test – the hole remains same after few seconds. Everything seems to work fine until they were baked. I used instant yeast – i.e. no dissolving before hand is needed. I did add some water when trying to form dough but they were lukewarm water, so presumably that is fine?

                  You reckon what I had done on kneading part was fine? Could I ask what the texture should it be like after the kneading? I tried to stretch it till thin to see if it’s thin enough to be transparent but it got broken off easily.

                  When the buns are baked, they should be really soft and fluffy but I do not seem to get that. Sigh.. I’m very disappointed with my end results – I so hoped I could make these buns successfully. Perhaps I have to keep trying. Do you have other recommendations on the making process? Many thanks.

                  Comment by VW — July 28, 2012 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

                  • Hmm, that’s unusual. The reason I suspected that your kneading was not a problem was because you said you kneaded for 25 mins and the dough is stretchy which sounded fine to me. The dough should be elastic and soft and smooth. Can you tell me what bread flour you used? Look at the packet and there should be info about % of protein per 100g flour, how much is the protein % of the bread flour you used?
                    May be you did have problem with the kneading. It took me many tries before I can get consistent results with bread making, it is not the easier thing to make, so the best way to improve is to practice and watch some videos online about how to knead. There are different ways of kneading, my method may not suit you, so try other techniques and see.

                    Comment by SeaDragon — July 29, 2012 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  19. […] Cocktail Buns / Kai Mei Pau 雞尾包 (recipe adapted from Corner CafeMakes 8 buns […]

    Pingback by a traditional bake ~ cocktail bun (gai mei bao) | Baking into the Ether — May 18, 2013 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  20. […] Hong Kong Cocktail Buns – Fillings are shredded coconut and butter […]

    Pingback by Home Sick Buns? Yes, it is Sarawak Style Butter Buns.. | GUAI SHU SHU — July 17, 2013 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  21. […] Buns / Kai Mei Pau (recipe adapted from Corner Cafe ) makes 8 […]

    Pingback by a traditional bake ~ cocktail bun (gai mei bao) ~ highly recommended 传统鸡尾包 ~强力推荐 – Victoria Bakes — November 28, 2019 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: