Recipes

White steamed rice cake

Baekseolgi-tteok 백설기떡

Koreans often make baekseolgi-tteok to celebrate a baby’s 3 week birthday (saei rye in Korean) or any child’s birthday, but it’s most often traditionally prepared to celebrate a baby’s 100 day birthday (baek il in Korean). The white cake represents purity and perfection and is attained by using fluffy steamed white rice flour and a few other ingredients: sugar, salt, and water.

Everybody at the party gives the baby good wishes on his or her 100 day birthday. They might say: “I hope you grow up to be always healthy, pure, and happy!”

This rice cake was meant to be shared with many people because it’s believed that the more people who share it, the longer life the baby will have.

If you’ve already made my mujigae-tteok (rainbow rice cake), I think making baekseolgi-tteok may be too simple for you. I added some dried fruits and sliced almonds to this rice cake to make it more tasty and colorful, but if you want to make it in the traditional Korean style, leave them out.

Let me know if you make this for your lovely family members, friends, babies, your parents, or even your co-workers! Impress me and my other readers.

A note about short grain rice flour: the flour you buy at your local store or the flour you make may have more or less moisture in it than the rice flour I use in this recipe. This is because of many different things like how long it’s been in the freezer in the store, or the atmospheric conditions where you live. You may need to add more or less water, depending on how dry or wet your short grain rice flour is.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups and 1 TBS rice flour (made from short grain rice)
  • 1 ts salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • dried colorful fruits and nuts if desired : raisins, golden raisins, papaya or apricot (sliced), cranberries, and almonds (sliced or chopped)

Cooking utensils:
Steamer, sifter, 8 inch (20 cm) cake ring

Directions:

  1. Thaw out the package of frozen rice flour and put it into a large bowl.
  2. Add water and salt. Mix it all up and press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms. Repeat until all the lumps are broken and the rice flour is uniformly wet.
  3. Sift the rice flour twice, then add sugar and sift once more.
  4. Add 10 cups of water to the bottom of a steamer and bring to a boil.
  5. When the water boils, place a wet cloth or cheese cloth over the rack and put the cake ring on top. Put the sifted rice flour into the ring and flatten it out so the mixture sits level.
    *tip: a business card works well for this
  6. Add colorful dried fruits and nuts on top, if you want them. The traditional Korean style doesn’t use them, but you can add them if you like.
  7. Cover the cake with the cloth and steam over high heat for 30 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat and open the lid. Uncover the cake and carefully lift it out using the sides of the cloth. Place it on a plate or cakeboard.
  9. Wait a few minutes for it to cool down before gently pulling the cloth out and removing the cake ring from the cake.
  10. Serve with tea, coffee, or milk.

Freeze any leftover rice cake: if you freeze it when it’s still fresh and fluffy, it will still be chewy and fluffy when it’s thawed out. Cut the rice cake into individual servings and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Put the pieces into a plastic bag and keep that  in the freezer. Thaw it out at room temperature before serving, or reheat it in a steamer or microwave oven.

If you can’t find frozen rice flour in a Korean grocery store, you can make rice flour it at home:

  1. Rinse and drain some short grain rice a couple of times and soak overnight (10-12 hours).
  2. Drain the water and grind the rice very finely. Use it right away, or immediately store in the freezer.

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20 Comments:

  1. BrendaCuson Columbus, OH My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 13th, 2013 at 5:12 pm | # |

    I think this is the cake I loved as a child. The only difference is that the cakes my mom would get had raisins inside the cake. If I were to make the recipe with raisins, would you recommend soaking the raisins first as you would with fruit for an English steamed pudding?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 14th, 2013 at 11:55 am | # |

      You don’t have to soak them, you can just put them in directly. Steaming will give them enough moisture.
      Good luck with your rice cake, and let me know how it goes!

  2. GlenK United States My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 3:21 pm | # |

    I’m not a big fan of desserts, but you might ought to give this a go with dates. I recommend honey dates. Or medjools if you’re a fan of something chewier.

  3. Kbaywahine Kaneohe My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 2:51 pm | # |

    Couldn’t find frozen rice flour in my korean grocery store, so used a rice flour off the shelf. My rice cake looked beautiful with the fruits, but the cake did not steam properly. If I can’t find frozen rice flour is there a substitute or something I can do with the regular rice flour?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 23rd, 2012 at 11:14 am | # |

      Yes, as I explained at the beginning of the video, you will have to use rice flour which is soaked at least several hours, drained, and ground finely. Otherwise, the rice cake won’t cook properly no matter how long you cook.

      • krystel ko philippines My profile page joined 10/12
        Posted October 25th, 2012 at 1:07 am | # |

        hi maangchi.. i wanted to make this for my daughter’s 5th birthday this coming oct. 27.. i can’t find frozen rice flour.. we only have ordinary rice flour here. (not frozen) can i use that? and can i make this in advance, like a day before her birthday.. won’t it go off? i really wish to make this on her birthday.. we also have some korean friends that will come over.. i’d really appreciate your help.. thank u..

        • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
          Posted October 25th, 2012 at 7:39 am | # |

          I want to add my good wishes for your daughter, too!
          yes you can make this rice cake in advance but freeze it.
          If you freeze it when it’s still fresh and fluffy, it will still be chewy and fluffy when it’s thawed out.Thaw it out at room temperature before serving, or reheat it in a steamer or microwave oven.

          You can make rice flour at home:
          Rinse and drain some short grain rice a couple of times and soak overnight (10-12 hours).
          Drain the water and grind the rice very finely. Use it right away, or immediately store in the freezer.

      • baekhab California My profile page joined 10/12
        Posted October 26th, 2012 at 8:09 pm | # |

        How many hours do I soak the rice flour in the water and what water do I use. Hot or cold?

  4. soko2usa Minnesota My profile page joined 4/09
    Posted October 20th, 2012 at 1:38 am | # |

    @ Ms. Lim – I really enjoyed your long explanation about rice cakes!

    Maangchi! It looks so gorgeous, the white color! I have a question – if I made a much smaller cake, maybe three inches across instead of in an 8″ pan, would I still steam it for 30 minutes?

    <3 Kerri

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 21st, 2012 at 9:09 am | # |

      Yes, I would steam it for 30 minutes because it takes a while to cook any type of rice cake.

  5. cmjhawaii Honolulu, Hawaii My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted October 19th, 2012 at 2:30 am | # |

    Is this frozen rice flour the same as mochi flour – sticky rice flour? We have health food stores here that sells rice flour, but I’m not sure what kind of rice it is.

    • annabanana Vancouver, Canada My profile page joined 2/09
      Posted October 20th, 2012 at 12:51 pm | # |

      the frozen rice flour in this recipe is made by first soaking the rice grains in water to rehydrate them, drying off excess water, then grinding them.

      mochiko rice powder uses same type of rice (sweet rice), but the grains are not rehydrated before they are ground.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 21st, 2012 at 9:12 am | # |

      “Is this frozen rice flour the same as mochi flour?” no, it’s short grain rice flour. http://www.maangchi.com/ingredients/frozen-rice-flour If you use sweet rice flour (mochiko powder), the cake will turn out sticky and lumpy not fluffy.

  6. AMYC98 Malaysia My profile page joined 8/12
    Posted October 18th, 2012 at 2:30 pm | # |

    I’ve tried this recipe, it’s quite easy to make. I added too little of water and it’s quite dry, but the texture is like a spring. I’ll make it again someday.

    Maangchi, thanks for your great recipe! 감사합니다!

  7. KillDeer Hamilton, Ontario My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted October 18th, 2012 at 11:44 am | # |

    As a westerner I really have no idea what to expect from a fluffy rice cake like these. I love cooking and jump to try all your Korean recipes but baking sweets always scares me (even western types). Your mujigaeddeok video was so beautiful and now this one!!! Maybe I will buy some home-made mujigaeddeok from the Korean grocery store near me and try this taste and texture before making my own?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 21st, 2012 at 9:14 am | # |

      That’s a great idea. Try it to see if you would like it or not, then you can decide. : )

  8. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/11
    Posted October 18th, 2012 at 7:31 am | # |

    Kyaa~ (≧∇≦)new recipe! I will watch it later at home! I’m in the middle of monthly gathering with other chefs talk about Indonesian Cuisine. (=゚ω゚)ノ

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 18th, 2012 at 8:55 am | # |

      “I’m in the middle of monthly gathering with other chefs talk about Indonesian Cuisine” I’m so proud of you! : ) Is there any similar rice cake in your culture, Mariska?

      • MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/11
        Posted October 19th, 2012 at 1:09 pm | # |

        Yes, We have many cakes using rice flour. Most of them is different texture than baekseolgi (maybe the rice flour here is different that you used for mujigaeddeok). We called that type of cakes is “Kue Basah” which in English literally means Wet Cakes because of the texture is totally chewy and the cooking method that we use is also steam. You can search for Kue Lapis Beras, Kue Cara Bika, Kue Putu Mayang and maybe the similar texture with baekseolgi is Kue Putu Medan (Medan is one of Indonesia’s big city located in North Sumatra). the shape is tube and inside of it contain palm sugar. We serve it with dessicated coconut. Some people sell it door to door in neighborhood with typical sound from the traditional streamer like “Fuuuuuu~~~~”. With that sound we know that somebody sells Kue Putu nearby. :D

        Sorry for long explaination… ;-)


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