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Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake

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This old-fashioned Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake is gluten-free and dairy-free, made with black glutinous rice flour as its main ingredient.

steamed black glutinous rice cake

This Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake brings back my childhood memories. My mom always brought back one or two traditional desserts bought from peddlers around my elementary school whenever she took me and my brother home. This cake was one of them. I had a very fond memory of it since I thought it was a chocolate cake that did not taste anything like chocolate. I mean, The young and ignorant me could only assume it was chocolate since the color of the cake was almost black.

And if you thought this cake has anything chocolate in it, you are wrong. The color comes from black glutinous rice flour. It was similar to the white glutinous rice flour that we commonly use for making Japanese mochi or Chinese tang yuan, but black in color. The black glutinous rice flour is not as commonly used as its white counterpart. In Indonesia, we usually use it mainly for making cakes or brownies.

If you wonder how Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake tastes like, it tastes exactly like sweetened black glutinous rice with a hint of coconut. It tastes rich with a nutty flavor that is distinctly different from the more subtle delicateness of white glutinous rice. The texture itself is soft, fluffy, and moist with tender crumbs despite using gluten-free flour. In addition, the dessert is a healthier option for you since black glutinous rice is packed with nutrients and comes with a lot of health benefits.

steamed black glutinous rice cake

About Black Glutinous Rice and Its Health Benefits

Black glutinous rice is naturally sweet, dark rice that is more of a dark purple than black. This shows that it is rich in antioxidants thanks to its anthocyanin content. The antioxidant content in rice is claimed to be higher compared to other types of rice. Research says that anthocyanins as antioxidants contained in black glutinous rice are believed to have abilities such as: maintaining heart health, preventing cancer caused by free radicals, improving brain function, helping to reduce inflammation, and much more. Not only that, but black glutinous rice also contains other important antioxidants such as vitamin E, which can also help maintain eye health, skin, and body immunity.

Black glutinous rice is rich in food fiber. Even the food fiber content is higher than other types of rice. The fiber content is what serves to help maintain the digestive tract because it can help prevent constipation, flatulence, and even absorb toxins in the drain. Not only helps the body’s metabolic processes, but food fiber in black glutinous rice can also help you be full longer. This is suitable for you who want to lose weight!

Like other types of rice, although sticky, black glutinous rice does not contain gluten. As different as sticky wheat flour because of its gluten content, the sticky nature of black sticky rice comes from starch which is naturally found in all types of rice. For people who are allergic to gluten, consuming black glutinous rice can be an alternative option for their carbohydrate intake.

How to Make Black Glutinous Rice Flour

Black glutinous rice flour is obviously the main ingredient needed to make this Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Flour. The flour is pretty common here in Indonesia, but probably can hardly be found in other parts of the world. Fortunately, you can actually make black glutinous rice flour by yourself at home.

Just like making white glutinous rice flour, you can get the black glutinous rice grain and pulverize it into powder using a food processor or coffee grinder. Make sure to sift the ground powder. If any rice pieces are still too big to sift, grind them again until they can be sifted.

how to make steamed black glutinous rice cake

About Ovalette and How to Substitute It

Ovalette is a gluten-free stabilizer and emulsifier which is used for beverages and confectionaries. It is widely used in baking sponge cakes. It is responsible for raising the eggs and delivering the stiff structure. As it is acidic it also helps the beaten eggs to remain stable and not lose the airy and voluminous texture. As a result, ovalette leads to smooth and soft cakes with a raised structure.

Although you can completely omit it, the cake will not rise correctly without it especially when we steam the cake. Without it, the whipped eggs tend to deflate when you leave the batter too long at the counter. When using ovalette, the cake batter will be sturdier and not deflate easily.

For making this recipe, I use Koepoe-Koepoe Ovalett Emulsifiers. You can click the link to buy it online on Amazon.

steamed black glutinous rice cake

More Steamed Cake Recipes

While you are here, don’t forget to check out more steamed cake recipes from my blog!

steamed black glutinous rice cake
4.7 from 3 votes

Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake

This old-fashioned Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake is gluten-free and dairy-free, made with black glutinous rice flour as its main ingredient.
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 1 9-inch/22.5 cm bundt cake
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 10 tbsp (125 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ovalette/cake stabilizer
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (180 gr) black glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut cream


  • Preheat the steamer by bringing the water in the steamer to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch the condensation.
  • Grease a 9-inch/22.5cm bundt pan with butter or margarine.
  • In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil and coconut cream. Set aside.
  • With a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and ovalette. Beat on high speed until white and fluffy.
  • Sift in black glutinous rice flour, baking powder, and salt into the egg mixture. Fold the mixture with a spatula until well combined. Pour in the oil and coconut cream mixture. Fold the mixture until well combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom during mixing and don’t overmix or you will lose the air you have incorporated during the egg whipping.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with the spatula. Tap the pan on the counter to release the air bubbles.
  • Steam for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cools in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan by placing the wire rack on top and flipping it over. Let it cool completely before serving.


Make sure to bring all the ingredients to room temperature before making this recipe. Room temperature ingredients will mix better and rise more easily.
If you can’t find ready-made black glutinous rice flour, you can make your own by blending black glutinous rice grain in a food processor or coffee grinder into powder.



Serving: 1whole cake | Calories: 2774kcal | Carbohydrates: 319g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 150g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 67g | Monounsaturated Fat: 33g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 655mg | Sodium: 1665mg | Potassium: 627mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 122g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 9mg
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