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Steamed Purple Rice Cake 紫薯蒸糖糕

by Angie Liew
Steamed Purple Rice Cake
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Steamed Purple Rice Cake

A Classic Chinese Style Steamed Dessert: Steamed Purple Rice Cake, Made With Purple Sweet Potato

Steamed Purple Rice Cake is a classic Chinese Steamed Rice Cake with the addition of the vibrant purplish colour instead of the typical pale white colour. Similar to white sugar rice cake, only a few ingredients are needed to make this delectable sweet dessert, namely rice flour, sugar, instant yeast, some purple sweet potato for colouring and of course, a steamer to steam the rice cake.

Steamed Purple Rice Cake

Making This Traditional Steamed Cake Is Easier Than You Think

To make Steamed Purple Rice Cake, we need to first make the rice cake batter. Start by boiling some peeled purple sweet potatoes in water. Add in pandan leaves for extra fragrance. Using low heat, boil the purple sweet potatoes till the water turns purplish. Then strained the hot liquid into a measuring cup and stir in sugar. When the sugar is fully dissolved, gradually pour the hot syrup mixture into sifted rice flour in a mixing bowl, stirring it constantly to prevent it from getting lumpy and a smooth batter is formed. Leave the rice batter to cool to room temperature.

Steamed Purple Rice Cake

The Key To Beautiful Honeycomb Texture In Steamed Rice Cakes: Yeast Mixture 

Meanwhile prepare the yeast mixture. Put lukewarm water, sugar and instant yeast in a small bowl and leave to ferment for about 10 minutes when the yeast mixture will turn foamy. Mix into cooled rice cake batter and stir well. Cover with a cling wrap and leave to proof for about 2 hours. If the yeast is fully activated towards the end of the proofing, there will be lots of small air bubbles formed in the batter. This means that the yeast is good and we will be getting the much desired honeycomb cake texture.

Steamed Purple Rice Cake

Stir to remove the air bubbles, then add in cooking oil and continue to stir to mix well the flour batter. Pour the batter into an oiled steaming pan and put into steamer to steam over high heat for 30 minutes. And we are done! Remove form steamer to cool and then cut into wedges and put on serving plate to enjoy.

Steamed Purple Rice Cake

This Steamed Purple Rice Cake Is As Nice, If Not Better Than The Traditional White Sugar Rice Cake

This Steamed Purple Rice Cake tastes just as nice if not better than the usual white sugar rice cake. It has a soft, chewy yet bouncy texture. The taste is just slightly sweet with a hint of tanginess! Also, it is such a pretty sight with the light purple colour and compact honeycomb texture running up and down the rice cake. Great as a sweet dessert for any parties or social gatherings too.

So Enjoy!

Steamed Purple Rice Cake

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Steamed Purple Rice Cake 紫薯蒸糖糕

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Steamed Purple Rice Cake is a classic chinese style Steamed Rice Cake, best known for its signature honeycomb cake texture. So unbelievably soft chewy and bouncy.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes

Tap or Hover to Adjust Servings

Servings: 4 people


  • 1 square pan (7 inch) or 1 round pan (7 inch diameter)


Ingredients A:

  • 150 grams purple sweet potato
  • 600 ml water
  • 80 grams sugar, 60 – 80grams
  • 200 grams rice flour, sifted
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted

Ingredients B: (Yeast Fermentation)

  • 30 ml water, lukewarm
  • ½ tbsp sugar, 8 grams
  • 2 tsp yeast, 4 grams

Other ingredient:

  • 1 tsp cooking oil


    Preparing Rice Cake batter:

    • Ingredients to make rice cake batter.
      Have ready all ingredients needed to make the batter.
    • Boil purple sweet potato.
      Peel and cut purple sweet potatoes into small cubes. Then put into a pan together with the knotted pandan leaves and add in water. Bring to a boil. Then using low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
    • Strain purple sweet potato liquid.
      Then strain 400 ml of the hot purple water into a measuring cup. Add in sugar. Stir to mix well and ensure the sugar is fully dissolved.
    • Make purple batter.
      Next, sift rice flour into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the strained purple liquid. Using a whisk stir continuosly till there is no lumps and a smooth purple coloured batter is formed. Then set aside to allow the batter to cool down to room temperature.

    Preparing Yeast Fermentation:

    • While waiting for the batter to cool, prepare to ferment the yeast. Measure and prepare all ingredients needed to ferment the yeast.
    • In a small bowl, add in lukewarm water, sugar and yeast. Stir well and set aside for 10 minutes or till the mixture turns foamy.

    Preparing steaming tray:

    • Meanwhile, prepare the steaming pan by brushing the tray with some cooking oil. This will prevent the cooked batter to stick to the pan when steamed.

    Making Purple Steamed Rice Cake:

    • When the yeast mixture has turned foamy, pour the fermented yeast into the completely cooled batter. Stir and mix well. Then cover with a cling wrap and set aside tp proof for 2 hours.
    • After 2 hours, remove cling wrap and stir again to release the air bubbles.Then add in the cooking oil. Stir and mix well again.
    • Steam Purple Rice Cake.
      Pour the batter into the prepared steaming pan. Prepare steamer by bringing water to a rolling boil. Steam on high heat for 30 minutes or until cooked.
    • Remove from steamer and allow to cool before cutting. Once it is cool enough to handle, gently run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake from pan. Place a wire rack over the pan and flip the cake on to the wire rack. Then, flip again and cut into wedges.
    • Serve at room temperature with some hot tea and Enjoy!


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Recipe Video


  • You can adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe for a healthier version. (60g for less sweet to 80g sweet)
  • It is important to wait for the batter to cool until only warm to touch or room temperature before adding the fermented yeast. Otherwise the yeast may not be effective and there will not be any honey combed structure formed.
  • Proof the rice batter in a warm place. 
  • If the yeast is fully activated at the end of the proofing time, you will see lots of air bubbles in the batter.
  • Always give the rice batter a final stir so everything is well mixed before pouring into the steaming pan to steam.
  • Store leftover cake in an air tight container and keep in refrigerator for maximum 1 week. Use a steamer to reheat before consuming.
  • Ideal pan size is 7 – 8 inch pan. Try not to use smaller pan as this rice cake is not meant to be a tall cake. Probably about 1 1/2 inch in height. If the cake is too tall, the honey comb structure may not be obvious as it may not extend that long.
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: kuih, purple sweet potato, steamed, steamed cake

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1 comment

Bee Choo May 15, 2021 - 6:59 am

Simple and healthy. Elderly should like it.

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