Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
* 1 cup glutinous rice flour (available in clear packets at Asian/Chinese food stores)
* 2/3 cup tapioca flour (available at health food stores, or Asian/Chinese food stores)
* 1 can + 1/4 cup coconut milk
* pinch salt
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 2 tsp. coconut flavoring
* a few drops red food coloring - or other color(s) of your choice!
* (optional: a little shredded baking-type coconut to sprinkle over)
1. Combine flours together in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar and stir everything together.
2. Add the coconut milk plus the coconut flavoring. Stir well by hand, or mix with electric beaters on low speed. I find a hand whisk works just fine.
3. Once you have a fairly smooth batter, pour half of it into another bowl.
4. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one of the bowls and stir to create a pink batter (or choose another color or colors according to your preference).
5. Grease a loaf pan with a few drops of cooking oil (a glass one works well so you can see the layers as you add them, but it's not necessary).
6. Place the loaf pan in a steamer, if you have one. If not, a flat-bottomed wok or large soup-type pot also works, as long as your loaf pan can fit inside it (I used a flat-bottomed wok for mine). To see what this looks like, go to: How to Steam Sticky Rice Cake. You will also need a lid that will fit over both the loaf pan and the pot/wok.
7. Pour some water into your steamer, or into the bottom of the pot or wok (around the loaf pan) - it should be at least 1 inch deep. Don't make the water too deep, or there will be too much splashing when it boils.
8. Now pour roughly 1/3 of one color of batter (either pink or white) into the loaf pan. You can choose to make the layers thin or thick - anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch of batter is good.
9. Bring the water to a bubbling boil, then reduce heat so that it is gently boiling around the loaf pan (medium heat works well). If you're using a wok or pot, the boiling water may make the loaf pan rattle a little. Cover the pot or wok/steamer with a tight-fitting lid so the cake can steam-cook.
10. Steam for five minutes, or until the batter is firm to the touch. Then add your second layer on top.
Tip: the second and subsequent layers will taken slightly longer to cook than the first layer - from 8-10 minutes or longer, depending on the heat of your steamer. Cook until the middle of the cake is as firm to the touch as the outside. The cake will also rise slightly as it cooks. Be sure to add water to your steamer or wok/pot every 10 minutes or so.
11. Continue adding layers and steaming the cake in the same way until nearly all the batter is used up. For the final layer, I like to add a few extra drops of red coloring to create a darker, contrasting top to the cake.
* It's better to overcook rather than undercook this cake (if you undercook some of the layers, they will turn out too soft and the cake won't hold together when sliced).
* Note that the middle of the cake may ripple towards the end - that is normal. The rippling effect will subside once it has cooled, and you won't notice it once the cake is sliced up.
12. When cake is done cooking, remove the loaf pan from the steamer and allow it to cool on the counter for at least 10 minutes. After it has cooled, place in the refrigerator. Chilling it will help it firm up so that slicing will be easier.
13. When cake is cold, run a butter knife around the outside of the pan, then turn it over and use the knife and your hands to nudge the cake out.
14. To slice it, use a sharp, non-serrated knife and one smooth slicing motion from the top downward (try not to use too much of a sawing motion). You can simply serve this cake in slices, or cut out shapes, such as diamonds or squares. Serve cold or at room temperature. ENJOY!
To store this cake: Place in a covered container or in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator. I find it's best to eat this cake up within 3 days or so; after that, it loses its moistness and flavor.