Home Kitchen Recipe | Chinese Smiling Steamed Cake – Huat Kuih

Chinese Smiling Steamed Cake or fondly known as ‘Huat Kuih’ is a famous cup cake among Malaysian Chinese culinary. ‘Huat’ – a Hokkien dialect, in layman’s understanding could mean ‘prosper’ or ‘expanding in volume’. The traditional Huat Kuih or Chinese steamed cake that I know of is made from rice flour but nowadays there are several variations to prepare it from wheat flour or even self-rising flour. To me, the fun of making Huat Kuih is to see them ‘blooming’ or ‘flourishing’ which is rewarding! In a way, these cakes are ‘smiling’ and that’s how the name came about.
'Blooming' Huat Kuih
The recipe below is adapted from Lily’s blog with a bit of twists and turns at my home kitchen.


Ingredients (makes ~ 10 steamed cakes)
2 cup self rising flour – I use HEB brand
2/3 cup brown sugar  
1/2 cup water
1 small can (5.6 fl oz – 165 ml) coconut milk – I use Chaokoh brand
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Combine brown sugar, water, salt and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl. Mix well.
2. Add coconut milk and whisk lightly.
3. Add self rising flour. Stir well.
4. Spoon batter into paper cups about three quarter full and steam for 15 minutes.
Smiling Steamed Cake
Tips: Ensure high heat is observed and prevent condensed water to drip onto these cakes during steaming.

Note: It works too when I attempted with whole milk instead of coconut milk.

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