This easy recipe for Steamed Cupcakes (Banh Thuan Hap) makes deliciously moist and fluffy little cakes resembling blossoming flowers. Often called Blooming Cupcakes, these petite spongy cakes are cooked in a steamer rather than an oven. You may think an oven is needed to make fluffy cakes but, these Steamed Cupcakes are super pillowy and just scrumptious. If you haven’t tried a steamed cupcake recipe before, here’s your chance. You’re going to love it! 🙂
Watch the video for instructions.
Notes on the Steamed Cupcakes / Blooming Cupcakes (Banh Thuan Hap) Recipe, Tips and Tricks
There are a few nuances to this Steamed Cupcakes / Blooming Cupcakes recipe which are important to keep in mind. Don’t deviate from it too much if you want to get the blooming effect.
Use cake flour to make fluffy cupcakes. Cake flour has less protein and is lighter than regular all-purpose flour. You can make your own cake flour for this recipe as follows: Sift together 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup corn starch. Keep in mind this isn’t actually cake flour but a simple method to lighten all-purpose flour without impacting the flour quality.
Use baking powder and not baking soda. I use double-acting baking powder which is more forgiving and easier to find than single-acting baking powder like Alsa. Single-acting baking powder works too. Make sure to use fresh baking powder. Check out this post for the 10-second test: Is Your Baking Powder Fresh?
Coconut soda is a carbonated beverage. The fizz really helps the cupcakes to be light, fluffy and spongy. You can substitute the coconut soda with another carbonated beverage such as a lemon/lime soda or use club soda. The coconut soda has sugar in it so if using a sugar-free soda, adjust accordingly.
I use silicone baking cups lined with cupcake liners. You can also use small porcelain or stainless steel bowls and cups as they hold heat well. Use what you have and what fits in your steamer.
Avoid steaming over high heat after the first minute. Too much steam will cause the batter to boil and large bubbles to form on the cupcakes. As shown in my video, you may get a cupcake with a bubble. If you catch it early, pop it with a toothpick before it grows. Not the end of the world if you get a few of these. It doesn’t affect the taste.
These Steamed Cupcakes / Blooming Cupcakes are often enhanced with flavor extracts and food coloring to make fun and festive cake variations. Add Pandan paste or purple yam (ube) extract for beautifully vivid cupcakes. Mix various food colors for eye-catching appeal. Below are cupcakes I made playing around with my two favorite colors: purple and yellow. Have fun with it! You can make some really pretty and colorful cupcakes.
Steamed Cupcakes / Banh Thuan Hap
Steamed Cupcakes / Banh Thuan Hap
This easy recipe for Steamed Cupcakes / Banh Thuan Hap makes deliciously moist and fluffy little cakes resembling blossoming flowers. Often called Blooming Cupcakes, these petite spongy cakes are cooked in a steamer rather than an oven. You may think an oven is needed to make fluffy cakes but, these Steamed Cupcakes are super pillowy and just scrumptious. If you haven't tried a steamed cupcake recipe before, here's your chance. You're going to love it! 🙂
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs , at room temperature
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar + 2 Tbsp for sugar X's
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup coconut soda or other carbonated beverage
Prepare the Molds and Steamer
Line 8 silicone baking cups with paper liners.
Fill a steamer bottom halfway with water. Cover with a lid and bring to boil over High heat. Continue with the next steps while the water heats up.
Making the Batter
Sift together the cake flour and baking powder.
Add the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the eggs on Low speed gradually increasing to Medium speed (Speed 5 on the KitchenAid stand mixer) for the first minute.
Gradually add the fine sugar, 1 Tbsp every 20 seconds, while beating the eggs on Medium Speed (Speed 5 on the KitchenAid stand mixer). The mixture should get thick and turn pale yellow. (This step take about 5 minutes.)
Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Mix on Low speed (Speed 2 on the KitchenAid stand mixer) for 30 seconds to incorporate these ingredients.
Gradually add the sifted cake flour and baking powder mixture while mixing on Low speed. Alternate adding the flour mixture with some coconut soda. (This step takes about 3 minutes. Do not over-mix the batter which may make the cupcakes dense and chewy.)
Remove the wire whisk. Scrape down the bowl. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients by hand using a spatula.
Transfer the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling each almost full. Leave about 1/4 inch gap from the top of the liner.
Sprinkle sugar on top of the cupcakes making an X. (This will bloom the cupcakes into 4 segments.)
Steaming the Cupcakes
Transfer the cupcakes into a steamer tray.
Place the steamer tray over vigorously boiling water and cover with a lid. Steam over High heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to Medium and steam for 15-18 minutes.
After 8 minutes of steaming, quickly remove the lid, wipe the lid dry and cover the steamer again. Steam for the remaining time. Check the cupcakes are done by inserting a toothpick. If no batter sticks to the toothpick, the cupcakes are done.
Turn off the heat and keep the lid on. Let the cupcakes rest for 5 minutes. (This gradual cooling prevents the cupcakes from shrinking.)
Enjoy the cupcakes freshly steamed!
Cover and store the cupcakes at room temperature for up to 2 days. After this time, store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Freeze for up to 3 months. To enjoy again, warm in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
Notes, Tips & Tricks
- Make your own cake flour for this recipe as follows: Sift together 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup corn starch. Keep in mind this isn't actually cake flour but a simple method to lighten all-purpose flour without impacting the flour quality.
- Use baking powder and not baking soda. Both single-acting and double-acting work for this recipe.
- Coconut soda is a carbonated beverage. The fizz really helps the cupcakes to be light, fluffy and spongy. You can substitute the coconut soda with another carbonated beverage such as a lemon/lime soda or use club soda. The coconut soda has sugar in it so if using a sugar-free soda, adjust accordingly.
- Avoid steaming over high heat after the first minute. Too much steam will cause the batter to boil and large bubbles to form on the cupcakes.
- If no batter sticks to the toothpick, the cupcakes are done. A few moist crumbs on the toothpick is ok. Don't over-steam the cupcakes which may make them dense and dry.
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Thank you for the recipe I made the steam cakes followed your recipe and watched ur utube step by step I was successful made it
Hi chi Trang,
I am Vietnamese and an avid cook but have never heard of these cakes until now. I decided to give it a go because your recipes are easy to follow and I’ve had much success. Wow! These cupcakes are so yummy and I can’t believe how easy it was to make. I used my hand-mixer which took a little longer to beat the eggs but other than that I did everything else as you instructed. My cupcakes bloomed perfectly and are so adorable. We ate the entire batch over the weekend so now it’s time to make another batch. I think I’ll try adding some Pandan extract or playing around with some food coloring.
Hi Gail Thy,
These cakes are wonderful treats and are often baked. I love the steamer method as it makes the cupcakes super moist and also easier to bloom. I am glad you and your family enjoyed the recipe. Have fun with using food color on your next batch. Feel free to share pics to Instagram with hashtag #runawayrice I’d love to see them!