Vietnamese Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap)
Vietnamese Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap) is delicious with a wonderful fragrance and sweetness from ripe bananas. The soft-chewy texture makes this cake seriously addictive. It is gluten-free and vegan.
For the Banana Cake
- 3-4 peeled medium bananas, about 10.5 oz or 300 grams (or 5 Vietnamese dwarf bananas)
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2.5 oz tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
- 1.5 oz rice flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
- 1 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- toasted sesame seeds
Making the Steamed Banana Cake
- Slice bananas thinly and add the banana slices to a mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and gently toss to coat the banana slices with sugar. Set aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
- In another mixing bowl, combine tapioca starch, rice flour, salt and cinnamon powder. Then add 1/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons of water, mix well to create a smooth batter.
- Reserve about 12-15 banana slices to decorate the top of the cake later, add the remaining banana slices to the batter. Gently fold the banana slices into the batter.
- Pour the batter into a mold or pan which will fit inside your steamer (I use a loaf pan). Place the reserved banana slices on top for decoration.
- Set up a steamer and wrap a clean towel around the lid to prevent water condensation to drop on the cake (or wipe the lid clean every 10 minutes). Steam the cake over medium heat until cooked through (about 25-30 minutes). The batter will turn translucent and the edges will start to pull away from the mold. If you insert a toothpick, there should be no wet batter on the toothpick.
- Remove the mold/pan from the steamer and let it cool down enough to handle. Take the cake out of the mold/pan. Cut into slices and serve warm with coconut sauce and toasted sesame seeds.
- While steaming the cake, place a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water and heat gently. Stir in salt and sugar.
- Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Once you see a lot of steam from the coconut milk mixture and small bubbles around the edge, slowly add the cornstarch slurry while whisking to thicken the coconut sauce. Do not let the sauce boil. Add just enough cornstarch slurry to achieve desired thickness. Transfer the sauce to a clean bowl.
- This cake can serve 4-6 people. You can store both the leftover cake and coconut sauce in the refrigerator and then reheat both in your microwave when you want to eat it.
- 2.5 oz tapioca flour is about 2/3 cup. 1.5 oz of rice flour is a little under 1/2 cup.
- I use pisang awak, which is a type of Vietnamese dwarf banana called "chuối sứ" or "chuối xiêm". It is firmer than regular Western bananas, so I had to slice mine very thin. If you use regular bananas, make sure to use just ripe ones and avoid using overripe bananas which can get too soft after steaming.
- I use light brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar since brown sugar gives the cake a nice color naturally without having to use food coloring. The addition of cinnamon powder is also my own creation, which enhances the aroma as well as adds a warm note to the cake.
- The cake should ideally have a height of 1 inch or slightly more.
Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1.4mg