If you've never tried any Asian version of steamed layer cake, then this steamed coconut taro cake (Bánh Da Lợn) should be on your list. The cake is sweet, moist and packed with multiple soft layers. Think KitKat, but thousand times better.
Also, the steamed cake is 100% vegan and you can either eat it as a dessert or as a snack. Normally, we Vietnamese, don't eat Bánh Da Lợn after a meal. Instead we munch on it like daily snack or sometimes as main entrée (at least for me, yeah I'm that weirdo).
** Disclaimer: this post was originally published on Jul 19, 2015. It is now edited to add more useful info for my lovely readers. However, the recipe remains the same. This day was also a day I had my big boy Rain fixed. Though this fact has nothing to do with the recipe, I insist to write it here so I can have a little smile when I look back at the post later. **
Origin of steamed coconut taro cake (Nguồn gốc của bánh da lợn)
This sweet desserts origins from Hoi An, Da Nang, Vietnam. The most popular version of this steamed layer cake is made from mung bean, mung bean paste, tapioca starch, pandan leaves and coconut milk.
In this recipe, I switch out the mung bean options and used taro flavor instead. That makes it simpler and faster to make.
The uniqueness of this steamed cake is it has multiple layers stack on one another. So you can either bite all at once or munch on each layer (just like I do).
- Tapioca starch - or tapioca flour is the main ingredient of this steamed coconut taro cake. You can use any brand you like. However, I adore Bob's red mill brand and just love love (yes, that's 2 loves) their tapioca starch.
- Coconut milk - another star of the recipe. If you can get a hand on fresh squeezed coconut milk, then you're so lucky. But chances are most of us in the States have to use canned coconut milk. But believe me, there's brand just as good as the fresh squeezed one.
- Sugar - for this steamed layer cake recipe, I advise to use the superfine caster sugar in order for the mixture incorporates easier.
- Taro - you can easily find this one in any grocery store especially the Asian ones.
- Food color - this is totally optional. I understand some of us try to steer clear of commercial food color due to the appearance of chemical. I did use 1 drop of purple color to enhance the taro layer in this steamed cake.
Related authentic Vietnamese recipes
There are other vegan Vietnamese dessert-like recipes on my blog that I bet you're gonna love them just like this one.
- Soybean pudding with ginger syrup (dohua - tàu hủ đường) - a complete and ultimate guide to make this amazing pudding at home.
- Homemade banana coconut ice cream on a stick.
- A famous street food assorted beans in coconut milk (chè ba màu).
Steamed Coconut Taro Cake (Bánh Da Lợn)
- Baking pan (5x8 inch)
- 5 oz tapioca starch
- 8 oz coconut milk
- 2 oz water
- 3 oz sugar
- 5 oz tapioca starch
- 4 oz coconut milk
- 4 oz water
- 8 oz taro cut into small cubes
- 3 oz sugar
- 1 drop purple food color optional
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients well. Set aside.
- Boil taro cubes until they are soft enough to smash into paste.
- Put taro and water in a blender, blend well. In a mixing bowl, incorporate taro mixture with the rest of ingredients. Mix well.
- Add 1 drop of purple food color (optional). Set aside.
- Prepare a steamer. Spray 1 thin layer of oil on your choice of baking mold.
- When the steamer is ready. Ladle about ¼ c of coconut mixture into the mold, put in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes.
- After that, ladle ¼ c of taro mixture on top of now cooked coconut layer and steam for another 5 minutes. You can do this step directly on the mold when it's still in the steamer or take the mold out and return it back to steamer when finish adding extra layer.
- Repeat these steps until the rest of both mixtures are used up, then steam a whole cake for extra 20 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely (2 hours) before un-mold and cut into pieces. Serve best at room temperature. Enjoy!
- If you add extra layer with the mold remains in the steamer, be aware of the steam heat, it might burn your hands.
- You can serve the cake warm, if desired. Traditionally, this cake is eaten at room temperature.
- The cake can be kept at room tempt, tightly wrap for 2 days. Or up to 5 days under refrigeration.
- If you decide to freeze it, you can heat it up quickly in microwave for 5 to 10 seconds before serving.