As the name has implied, this Steamed Chinese Rice Cake (Bai Tang Gao) 白糖糕 essentially uses rice flour and sugar. It is a rather easy cake to make for breakfast or tea and goes very well with a cuppa of Chinese tea. The only downside is, there is a 1.5 hours proofing time at least even in our warm and humid weather.

白糖糕 may not necessarily using white sugar. You can use brown sugar too and in my recipe, I used brown sugar instead, so technically it should be named 黑糖糕. Since this is an easy cake to steam, what is the killer point to ensure success in the cake? It is the proofing time. If the yeast is being proofed for too long, it will produce a sour taste. If it is “under-proofed”, the cake won’t rise.

A good 白糖糕 should have many small holes and a special patterns inside. It should taste soft, light and spongy. Does that bring back some childhood memory? It does for me.

bai tang gao

I have adapted Karen Petite Kitchen which is in Chinese, and modified quite a fair share in the ingredients and methods. I have reduced the level of sugar as I am serving this to my kids, and I find my adjusted sugar level is sweet enough. I have added 1 teaspoon olive oil so that the cake won’t be too dry and 1/8 teaspoon salt to bring up the sweetness. I also find it not necessary to cook the rice flour mixture before steaming and it is very difficult to avoid getting lumps when the mixture comes in contact with heat. So, instead of using warm water as per the recipe, I used hot water (@ 90degree from my air pot) to dissolve the sugar (which of course, dissolved faster compared to using warm water) which was added to the rice flour subsequently.


  • Measuring cup / scale
  • Strainer / Sieve
  • 7 inches aluminium tin


  • 200g rice flour
  • 100g brown sugar or white sugar (original recipe calls for more sugar)
  • 400ml hot water
  • 1 teaspoon olive / cooking oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water


1. Sift the rice flour. Set aside. Add sugar into hot water to dissolve.

2. Add the hot sugar syrup into the rice flour and stir well.

3. Strain the rice flour mixture.

bai tang gao

4. Add 2 tablespoons lukewarm water to 1 teaspoon of instant yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes when there are bubbles in the yeast water.

5. When the rice flour mixture has cooled down, add the yeast water, mix well. Then add the baking powder and mix well.

bai tang gao

6. Let the mixture proof for 1.5 hours. If you are at a cold country or weather, proofing can take up to 4-6 hours. Cover the mixture with cling wrap while proofing.

bai tang gao

7. Grease the aluminium tin with cooking oil. Pour the mixture into the tin after proofing. Steam under high heat for 25 minutes. Cover the steamer cover with cloth to prevent water vapour from dripping into the cake while steaming.

8. After steaming, lift the cover up and let the cake cool before serving.

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