Rice Cake Rainbow Dessert

  • 01 of 10

    Measure the Flour Into a Large Mixing Bowl.

    Measuring the Flour. D.Schmidt


    Shopping Tip: Buy the flours at Asian/Chinese or health food stores

    • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
    • 2/3 cup tapioca flour (also called "tapioca starch")
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 can plus 1/4 cup coconut milk
    • 3/4 cup palm, brown, or white sugar (white works the best for this recipe)
    • 2 tsp. coconut extract
    • optional: 1/2 tsp. pandan paste (available in tiny bottles at Asian stores)
    • food coloring (choose the colors you want) - Note that pandan paste also serves as a green coloring

    First, measure the...MORE two flours into a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and stir.

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  • 02 of 10

    Add the Coconut Milk and Other Liquids.

    Adding the Coconut Milk. D.Schmidt

    Add the sugar, coconut milk, water, and coconut extract. Stir to incorporate liquids and sugar into the flour mixture to create a batter. (Because I only had brown sugar in my cupboard, my batter is slightly brown in color. White sugar gives a better result, as it keeps the colors true.)

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  • 03 of 10

    Stir Batter With a Whisk, or Beat With Electric Mixer.

    Whisking the Batter. D.Schmidt

    Whisk the batter for 1-2 minutes to reduce the lumps. OR beat for 1 minute with an electric beater or mixer at medium speed.

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  • 04 of 10

    Divide the Batter Into 3 or 4 Bowls.

    Straining the Batter. D.Schmidt

    Traditionally, the batter is strained at this point, but I usually find it turns out quite smooth, so I can skip this step. Now divide the batter into 3 or 4 bowls or cups. 3 bowls mean you will have 3 different colors in your rainbow cake; 4 bowls = 4 colors, etc...

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  • 05 of 10

    Add Color to the 3 or 4 Bowls of Batter

    Coloring the Batter. D.Schmidt

    Stir 1 tsp. pandan paste into the first bowl of batter. This will turn the batter green and also add a nice flavoring. (Pandan paste comes from pandan leaf, a natural herb).

    Leave the second bowl plain white, then color the remaining bowls with different tints of food coloring.

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  • 06 of 10

    Place a Loaf Pan Inside a Wok or Large Pot.

    Preparing to Steam the Cake. D.Schmidt

    To steam the cake, you can use a regular steamer, as long as the cake/loaf pan you're using will fit inside it.

    In my case, I didn't have an appropriate steamer, so I used a flat-bottomed wok. You can also use a large soup-type pot with a cover. Pour 1-2 cups water into the bottom of the wok or pot. You will also need a loaf pan. The loaf pan will sit inside the wok or pot, allowing the cake to steam cook. Lightly grease the loaf pan with a little cooking oil. Note: Be sure you can cover...MORE the wok or soup pot with a tight-fitting lid (with the loaf pan sitting comfortably inside).

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  • 07 of 10

    Carefully Ladle the First Layer Into the Pan.

    Ladling the First Layer into the Pan. D.Schmidt

    Create the first layer of the cake by pouring or ladling 1 color of batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Two to three ladles should be enough (layers are usually about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick).

    Now bring the water to a comfortable boil (the boiling action will cause the loaf pan to clatter against the bottom of the wok/pot, so don't keep the temperature too high. Medium heat is best once the water is boiling.) Cover the wok or pot tightly with the lid, allowing the first layer to steam for...MORE 3-5 minutes, or until it is firm to the touch.

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  • 08 of 10

    Add More Colorful Layers in the Same Way.

    Adding More Layers to Create a Rainbow Effect. D.Schmidt

    Once the first layer is firm, you can add the second layer - a different color of your choice. Pour the second color of batter on top of the first layer. Continue steaming until the second layer is firm (this may take 10 minutes or slightly longer).

    Tips: Note that the first layer will firm up the fastest; with all the other layers, you will need a longer steaming time to ensure the middle of the cake firms up (usually between 8 and 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your steamer). If the...MORE middle is still "wobbly" when you press down on it, it needs more time (it helps to compare with the firmness around the outside of the cake - it should be equally firm in the center). Also, be sure to add a cup of water to the wok/pot from time to time, ensuring it doesn't boil dry.

    Continue adding layers of colored batter, steaming each layer separately, until all the batter is used up.

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  • 09 of 10

    Cool the Cake, Then Turn Out.

    Removing Cake from Loaf Pan. D.Schmidt

    When you have finished steaming all the layers of your cake, turn off the heat and carefully remove the loaf pan from out of the wok/pot. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then you can place it in the refrigerator to firm up.

    When cold, run a knife around the outside of the loaf pan, then overturn onto a cutting board. Using a long, sharp knife (a thin blade is better than thick), cut the cake into pieces.

    Cutting Tips: Because of the sticky nature of this cake, it is quite...MORE difficult to cut. In fact, I once saw a Thai cook slice a similar cake with a piece of thin wire (which seemed to work pretty well!). In general, I find that a "sawing" action doesn't work - it's better to simply press your knife through from top to bottom. You can also try greasing it with a little cooking oil before slicing.

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  • 10 of 10

    Serve the Rainbow Rice Cake!

    Rainbow Sticky Rice Cake
    Rainbow Sticky Rice Cake, like they serve throughout Southeast-Asia!. Taken by D.Schmidt for About.com

    Place slices of the cake on a serving plate (I used a banana leaf to dress up the plate), and enjoy with friends or family! This cake makes a terrific gluten-free dessert, snack, or accompaniment to afternoon tea.

    To store, wrap the cake in plastic (or place in a sealed plastic bag), or an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Note that this cake is best eaten within a 3 days - the longer it is refrigerated, the less moist it will be.