Strawberry Mushipan (Japanese Steamed Cup Bread)

It seems that steamed cakes are the ‘in’ thing now. During my recent trip to Singapore, many sweet bread stores were selling an array of them, from marbled steamed cake to glutinous steamed cake. Freshly baked, individually wrapped in plastic and sold out before the end of the day, they were real hits in Singapore. When I had my first bite of the marbled steamed cake, I swear, I was in heaven. It was the softest, moistest cake I had ever put in my mouth! I was an instant fan! Good thing they were cheap because I bought quite a few of them!

Following the success of my Matcha Mushipan (Green Tea Japanese Steamed Cup Bread) recipe, I have returned with a different version of the simple steamed cake. Because of the sudden abundance of large, succulent strawberries sitting in my fridge, I decided to adapt my previous mushipan recipe to incorporate strawberries. Because strawberries are fairly tart and not overly cloying (like bananas or peaches), they lend a subtle sweetness that does not overpower the senses. Soft, fluffy and delicately fruity cakes are a lovely change to those typical dense, heavy, sugar-filled chocolate ones!

Depending on the size of your cupcake moulds, this recipe makes about 5 or 6 steamed mushipan.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
4 large, ripe strawberries (leaves and stems removed)
2 tablespoons sugar (or equivalent sweetener of choice)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Prepare a large steamer filled with an inch or two of water. Leave the heat off until you are just about ready to steam your mushipan.
  2. Line small ramekins with cupcake cases. If you have no ramekins the size of your cupcake cases, use silicone cupcake moulds instead. You don’t have to line these.
  3. Mash strawberries in a small bowl with a fork until only small chunks remain.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder and mix well.
  5. In a smaller bowl, combine egg, mashed strawberries, sugar and oil. Mix well.
  6. Gradually pour this mixture into the flour mixture, mixing slowly until smooth. Batter will take on a faint pink tinge.
  7. Carefully spoon batter into cupcake liners/moulds, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  8. Turn up the heat to prepare your steamer. Once water comes to a rolling boil, place cups in steamer, cover steamer with lid and steam on high for about 6 minutes.
  9. Remove cooked mushipan (will be extremely hot!) and place on wire rack to cool.
  10. Serve warm, please! :)

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