Most have to do with crusts. In fact I took this project on after a pair of readers told me they were having problems with the outer skins. Mooncakes have decorative patterns pressed into their tops, which is the primary purpose of the molds, to impress a design on the skin and give the outside edges their classic fluted appearance.
A common problem is that crusts expand in the oven and erase the delicate details. Part of the problem is that there are at three different types of crusts for mooncakes — sweet and chewy, rich and flaky and tender, almost like a short crust — and all of them yield very different results. The chewier crusts perform much better when you want to retain a complex design on the top, which is why I chose that style for my mooncakes this week.
We’ll see if my decision was the right one when the dough hits the heat. My strategy in a nutshell: to undercut any gluten formation and hit the cake hard with heat at the outset, thus freezing the design in place before it has a chance to heat up and expand. Cross your fingers.