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  • Writer's pictureDominika

Recipe for the Pumpkin cakes (南瓜饼 nán​guābǐng)

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

This week we invited the little ones for a play-date at home. But what would the kids like to have as a snack? This time I went for pumpkin cakes. I incorporated a sweet sesame filling and shaped them as the little squashes, using a trick I came across while reading The Woks of Life. Any ground nuts with sugar will also be a perfect combination.

Around 35 pumpkin cakes (6cm diameter)


  • 500 gr of butternut squash (or the choice of squash you prefer)

  • 6 cups of glutinous rice flour (around 600 gr)

  • ½ cup of corn starch

  • 2 tsp powdered cinnamon

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 1 ½ cups of toasted sesame seed

  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar

  • 35 whole cloves


  1. Bake the squash with the butter for 30 minutes (175˚C). Let cool down.

  2. In a processor, blend the sesame seeds and sugar. Set aside.

  3. Scrape the flesh from the squash and discard the skin. Mash the flesh with a fork. You can also blend it in a food processor but make sure you discard the liquids released in the pan, otherwise you will need to use more rice flour in order to get the right consistency.

  4. In a big bowl, place the squash puree and start incorporating the rice flour, the corn starch and the cinnamon (according to the Woks of life, the addition of corn starch will help the pumpkin cakes hold their shapes). Mix well until you get a smooth pliable dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes. It can also be used the next day.

  5. Shape dough into a small concave disc and add two teaspoons of the sesame mixture. Bring together the sides of the dough towards you and over the filling. Shape into a ball and then press lightly in order to flatten the top and lower side.

  6. Use a toothpick to carve the ribbed surface of the squash. Finish by placing an inverted clove on top.

  7. Line the bottom of the steamer with parchment paper and place the cakes. Make sure you leave some distance between the cakes to avoid them sticking together.

  8. Place the steamer over a pot of cold water. Turn the fire on. Steam for 15 minutes, starting to count the moment the water begins to boil.

  9. Once the cakes are ready, set aside to cool for 10 minutes. After that, using a spoon (or a spatula) previously dipped into cold water, pick up the cakes and place them on a plate (previously lined with parchment paper).

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