food 4 tots

Steamed pumpkin muffins

steamed pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, toddler, food for kids, snack, steamed cake, steamed bread, Japanese, mushipan


My family had a wonderful time during our recent holidays. We went to Kuala Lumpur first, then to Cameron Highlands and lastly ended in Penang. The only regret was that our duration in Penang was too short to cover our usual to-eat (no, must-eat) list. Just thinking of this food heaven, my stomach has already started rumblimg….oh my! I will share with you some photos I had taken during our Cameron Highlands trip in my next post.


Have you heard, seen or eaten Japanese steamed cake/ bread (mushi pan) before? I was very intrigued with this mushi pan when I first saw it sold at a specialty store in a shopping mall. Since then, I had been searching for the recipe. Lately, I had bought some mushi pan cookbooks and had tried out some of the recipes. However, some failed while some were far from perfection. Undaunted, I will continue my experiment and hopefully I can share my success story with you soon. So, wish me luck!


steamed pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, toddler, food for kids, snack, steamed cake, steamed bread, Japanese, mushipan


Meanwhile, here is my favourite steamed pumpkin muffin recipe that is especially dedicated for people who love baking but have neither oven nor electrical mixer, or both. The recipe is fairly simple and quick to make even if you are a novice in baking. It applies the same muffin/mixing method used to make baked muffins. You just need a hand whisk and a mixing bowl. Yes, it’s as simple as that. The wet ingredients are combined with the dry ingredients to form a batter. Then the batter is spooned into the moulds and steamed instead of baking. It’s so hassle-free and requires less washing too!


steamed pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, toddler, food for kids, snack, steamed cake, steamed bread, Japanese, mushipan


Even though the muffins are steamed, they produce soft and fluffy cake-like texture unlike the tradition Chinese prosperity cakes (“fatt gou/ huat kueh” 发糕) that are dense and chewy. Its gorgeous “open mouth” effect (which according to the Chinese’s belief symbolizes good luck) is what I adore most about these muffins.


Besides that, they taste yummy too!!! Each bite is packed with subtle smell and taste of coconut milk that blends well with the pumpkin flavour. As Australian pumpkin comes with  natural sweetness, I use lesser sugar than what is required in the original recipe. So the sweetness could be just perfect for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. By mashing the pumpkins and mixing it well with the batter, I am sure your picky eater won’t notice its existence when consuming it.


These muffins are not only enjoyed a lot by our family but my friend’s family as well. After sampling my muffins, she (a working mom with 2 kids) quickly requested for the recipe and made them on the same weekend – 2 days in a row!


These muffins can be frozen in the fridge for later consumption. On the day you want to eat them,  just take them out from the freezer to thaw lightly and steam again under high heat for 10-12 minutes.  It’s best to serve them warm. You can also add a dollop of jam to go with it.


=> Get the recipe and step-by-step tutorial with photos at PAGE 2 BELOW.


steamed pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, toddler, food for kids, snack, steamed cake, steamed bread, Japanese, mushipan

steamed pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, toddler, food for kids, snack, steamed cake, steamed bread, Japanese, mushipan

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  1. Lovely color and the tops cracked perfectly =D. I’m gonna make some pumpkin cupcakes soon (baked though) — great flavor!

  2. Ellena says:

    Oh My!!! These steamed pumpkin muffins look absolutely great!!! Bookmarked! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Joanne says:

    I love Japanese steamed bread and would certainly love it even more with pumpkin! I’m so glad you’ve had a fun vacation!

  4. tigerfish says:

    Give me soft and fluffy cake. Or cupcake or muffins!

    The golden hue is amazing.

  5. Alice says:

    Lovely! I tried the link you forwarded me, it was superb! My whole family liked it, even my friend said it was tasty!

  6. Very pretty! I am not a big fan of pumpkins but these sure look delish!

  7. Ohhh looks delicious! I love the pumpkin taste! Beautiful pictures too!

  8. LIN says:

    I just love the colour it very beautiful

  9. evelyn says:

    Love the bright yellow colour and your pictures make me drool 😉 Gotta find time to shop at Daiso for the mould. May I know what type of coconut milk you used?

    • food-4tots says:

      Evelyn: Thanks!! The mould costs S$2 each. You can use any type of mould you like. I used Kara coconut cream as I didn’t have time to buy the fresh one from the wet market. Give this recipe a try! 😉

      • evelyn says:

        Hi, My muffin did not all crack like ‘open mouth’. A few cracked a little. I use Japanese green pumpkin. Still soft and it taste like ‘coconut kueh’, no pumpkin flavour. By the way, the batter is sticky and quite dense.

        • food-4tots says:

          Evelyn: Thanks for your feedback. Sorry to hear about that. Did you use double acting baking powder for the recipe? 😉

          • evelyn says:

            LK: No, I didn’t. I used the normal baking powder. Probably I have misread your note that mentioned most baking powder has double acting effect. Guess, that is reason why it does cracked like a ‘open mouth’ effect..haha. Fyi, I used Japanese green pumpkin.

            • food-4tots says:

              Evelyn: It doesn’t matter whether it is Japanese or Australia. Both are interchangeable. For all my baking recipes, I used double acting baking powder. I just inserted this note recently after receiving a feedback from my reader who had tried this recipe. Sorry for the confusion. Looking forward to hearing your success story soon. 😉

  10. Priya says:

    Wow steamed muffins looks super fluffy,spongy and beautiful..

  11. Marla says:

    I have never thought to steam muffins – love this idea, they look great!

  12. Erica says:

    These look so fluffy and heavenly and, wow, that colour! Great photos too.

  13. mycookinghut says:

    So cute with very striking yellow colour! I love steamed muffins!

  14. Wendy Leow says:

    Looks lovely! I’ve never succeeded in steaming these cupcakes but I’ll give it another try cos yours looks sooo good!! Is it possible to bake these also?

    • food-4tots says:

      Wendy Leow: Thanks!! I must say that this is the most successful steamed cake recipe I had tried so far. I had already succeeded at my first attempt. Give it a try!! You can try baking it but I’m not sure what the end result is. Do share with me the outcome. Thanks. 😉

  15. Ching @ LCOM says:

    Wow, this looks great! I would love to try it.

  16. Love the colour and they fluffed up beautifully! Great clicks!

  17. siewloon says:

    Your muffins look sooo nice. Can I use sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin?

  18. Mabel says:

    I tried your recipe today. I didn’t have any individual muffin moulds so used a plate instead. The cake reminded me of what my mum used to make when we were kids. She made it so often I got scared of it. But I thought I would give steamed cake a try again now that I myself have young children. The cake turned out moist with a nice crumbly texture and, bonus, tasted healthy. It didn’t rise like yours nor have a cracked surface. Perhaps I over-mixed it. Next time I will use flaxseed as an egg substitute, and reduce the sugar as I found it slightly too sweet for my taste. Other than that this cake is quite nice as something to go with your afternoon tea. I am going to have it for breakfast tomorrow!

    • food-4tots says:

      Mabel: Thanks for your speedy feedback. I think you have over-mixed but the plate you used is the main factor why your cakes didn’t have a cracked surface. Maybe you can try with Chinese rice bowl in your next attempt. If you were to use flaxseeds as egg substitute in your next attempt, can you share with me your outcome? I would love to learn more about it. Thanks. For the sugar, I am using unrefined cane sugar for baking. What type of sugar did you use? 😉

      • Mabel says:

        I used a steel plate to steam it, but next time I’ll try a rice bowl – good idea. I used castor sugar, I gave it a good whisk for the sugar to dissolve. But perhaps it didn’t dissolve enough. I find that with my baking my things never rise quite as nicely as in the pictures. But I will persevere. Using flaxseed as an egg substitute works really well in baking. My sister has done it a few times and they rise beautifully. I believe it works well where the egg is for binding purposes only rather than for leavening purposes e.g. sponge cake.

  19. Those steamed muffins look perfect! Their cracked open tops are just cute.

  20. aesh says:

    just love pumpkins and their wholesome goodness. My kiddo would love this!

  21. Alice says:

    Wow! So pretty and definitely yummy 🙂

  22. Little Inbox says:

    Hey, I never got such beautiful steamed cake before. It looks very soft. Like its smiling face.
    I tried once using olive oil in steam cake,ended up the olive smell is overpowering. So, I just stick to sunflower oil.

    • food-4tots says:

      Little Inbox: Thanks for your compliment! I have been using olive oil for all my baking, cooking and steaming. So far, it works fine for me. Maybe you can try either extra light olive oil (good for baking) or extra virgin olive oil (for salad) when making these cakes. Hope this helps. 😉

  23. They look so yummy! I bought the recipe book on steam bun last month but I never had the chance to try my hands on it yet. You tempted me to do so now! 🙂

  24. Chris says:

    Very nice color and they look so fluffy and soft.

  25. Lovetoscrap says:

    Hi, I’ve tried but was not successful. Mine turns ot to be quite sticky and not fluffy. Any idea what went wrong? This is the first time I tried steaming a cake. Can I bake it instead?

    • food-4tots says:

      Lovetoscrap: Sorry to hear about your outcome. Did you use pudding mould (like mine) when steaming? If not, what did you use? Did you open the lid during the steaming process? Is the size of steamer you use large enough to cater for the moulds? I am not sure of the result but you can try to bake it.

  26. Carolyn Jung says:

    Mmm, pumpkin and coconut milk in a cake batter? I’m so there! Two of my favorite tastes in one.

  27. Francis says:

    Very nice colour, my little girl pester me to do this with her once she saw it. Had bought all ingredients except castor sugar, possible to replace with those fine brown sugar instead? Thanks!

  28. ElynneQ says:

    Hi, My first visit to yr blog….my girls are not really a fan of pumpkin, what would be an ideal substitude? Can I use banana or perhaps carrot?

  29. Yen says:

    Hi, is coconut milk ok fir 13 mths old bb? Are there any other substitution?

  30. Yen says:

    Btw tks for putting up the step by step pic. It’s a huge help for novice cook like me. Hope it’ll appear in all ur recipes. hehe…..

  31. Yen says:

    Hi, cld u teach me hw to adjust the quantity of the ingredients so to cater for my boy?

    • food-4tots says:

      Yen: Since your boy is still small, you need to pay extra attention for recipes with ingredient that may trigger allergy (ie nuts) or pose health issues (ie konnyaku jelly). It is best to avoid them until you have consulted your doctor. If you want to select some recipes with heavy seasoning such as oyster sauce, you can either reduce or omit it. Try to prepare his food with less salt, sugar and oil as he just turns one. Hope it helps.

  32. Yen says:

    Hi, can I use pancakes flour instead of cakes flour? Any difference in end result? Hw long can we keep the frozen muffin?

    What do u mean by over-mixed (posted by 1 of ur fans)? Aren’t we suppose to intro air into the mixer, that’s y we whisk the eggs into alot of bubbles?

    • food-4tots says:

      Yen: Do you mean pancake mix? If not mistaken, this type of flour mix usually contains a mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. (Please read the label in the packaging to confirm this). If so, it will not be suitable to use as a substitute for cake flour as you will indirectly add extra unnecessary ingredients in the recipe. I’m not sure of the end result as I haven’t tried it before. You can give it a try but I won’t recommend it. For frozen muffins, you can keep them for 1 week. After mixing dry ingredients with wet ingredients, you can’t beat them like the way you whisk you eggs. This will cause gluten to be developed. To avoid this, you just need to use fold in method to combine the ingredients. Please read my post on how to make muffins for further information. Hope it helps. 😉

  33. Eli says:

    Hi there, your cakes look lovely! Need your expert advice here, can I substitute coconut milk with fresh milk instead? I love steamed cakes, hope to see more of these recipes in your blog. Keep up the fantastic work! =D

    • food-4tots says:

      Eli: Thanks for your wonderful compliment! I’m still a novice. I haven’t tried it for this recipe but it sounds possible. Maybe the end product will have a different taste (lighter, not as fragrant as coconut) and texture (may not have the “open face” effect). That’s based on my attempt in making Japanese steamed cake. I will share a savoury Japanese steamed cake in my next post. So, stay tuned!! 🙂

  34. Nguyen says:

    I am looking for the same type of pudding molds you used to steam these muffins without luck. I looked also on Daiso website too but found nothing there. Do you know where else can I find them? Thanks.

  35. Nguyen says:

    By the way, what type of material are your molds made from: tin or earthware?

  36. mesmun says:

    its seem like very delicious ,and i try to make for my lovely son to bring it to school eat.But,do you have suggestion where to get those ingredients in Malaysia?coz some hypermarket cant fine it,and mostly a bit different from yours.Please advise.Thank you.

  37. mesmun says:

    Hi,can i use the Ayam brand pack – Coconut milk?is suitable for it to replace your ” 100g thick coconut milk (canned or fresh) – (I used Kara UHT coconut cream)”?Please advise ,thank you.

    • food-4tots says:

      Mesmun: You can choose any brand of coconut milk even if it’s freshly pressed coconut milk. I shared the brand I used because it was asked by one of the readers. Happy trying!!! 😉

  38. Angie says:

    Hi, I love your recipe and can imagine how yummy it taste just by looking at the pictures. Would love to try out your recipe but can you kindly advise if I can do away w the egg? My daughter is allergy to egg so is there anything else that I can use to replace egg? Really appreciate your advise as I am running out of idea on what to feed my 2 year old daughter.

    • food-4tots says:

      Angie: Thanks for your kind comments. I’m not sure how it will turn out without egg. But I was told that flaxseeds can be used to substitute eggs in baking. So, it may be a good alternative to try this substitution. For more information, please refer to:

      Besides that, please read the comments given by Mabel on this post (dated 12-14 June) about her kind sharing of flaxseeds and 2 interesting eggless recipes. Hope it will give you some ideas to bake eggless recipes for your daughter.

  39. Yen says:


    I can only manage to find the smallest packet of coconut milk (200ml).
    The balance of the 100ml can I freeze it n how fast I hv to use it up?

    • food-4tots says:

      Yen: You’re right. 200ml is the smallest packet. I do not recommend freezing the remaining coconut milk as it may affect the quality of the product when using in baking. I think you can find out how long you can keep the leftover coconut milk from the packet itself. If not, I would suggest you store it in an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Hope it helps. 😉

  40. Jasmine F says:

    Hi, I tried your steamed pumpkin muffins recipe last weekend. It doesnt turn out as good as yours. The top not cracking up and the texture is not that soft too. Hmmm..wondering which parts went wrong. Could it be the baking powder? I understand from the shop that there are 2 types of baking powder, one is the normal one and the other once is so called ‘double action’. Perhaps I should try out using the ‘D/A’ one. Whay say you?

    • food-4tots says:

      Jasmine F: Thanks for your kind feedback. You need to provide more details before I can give further comment of your results. As for the baking powder, I strongly suggest that you use double action baking powder as it is clearly explained in my recipe. Hope it helps. 😉

  41. Jasmine F says:

    hi, i tried your steamed pumpkin muffin last weekend. but it doesnt turn out as good as yours. The texture not very soft too. Wondering which parts went wrong. Hmmm…could it be the baking powder? i noticed that there are 2 types of baking powder in the shop. One labeled as ‘D/A’ which means ‘Double Action’. Should i use the ‘double action’ baking powder in this recipe? What say you?

  42. Jasmine F says:

    Apart from the above, my muffin doesnt crack as beautiful as yours. Or should I say…it doesnt crack at all… 🙁

  43. Jasmine F says:

    Oops..why is my comment appears twice? Must be when i tried to send the first time, i got the system error message and thus i re-sent another one and cause this double entries. Real sorry for that.

    Thanks for your prompt reply. haha..i think i really missed out the baking powder part in your recipe. Will try and bake again this coming weekend. Hopefully it will turn out good. Wish me luck 😀

    • food-4tots says:

      Jasmine: Looking forward to hearing your success story! 😉

      • Jasmine F says:

        Hi, i tried again last Saturday. But it didn’t turn out good as well even after i changed my baking powder to the ‘double action’ type. does cracked a little compared to the first time i made…but still it is not as beautifully cracked as yours.Texture wise, it is still hard, not fluffy at all. 🙁

        Wondering which part went wrong again. Was it the oil? I used sunflower oil instead of olive oil. Can? How about egg? I saw your remark that the egg must be at room temperature. Does it mean that the egg must not from the fridge at all?

        One more thing, i didn’t wrap my lid with cloth when i steam (cos i don’t have such a big pc of cloth), will it be the reason for not getting the desired result? 🙁

        • food-4tots says:

          Jasmine: Thanks for your kind feedback. Sorry to hear about your results. Don’t give up. I will try my VERY best to trouble shoot for you. I don’t think oil will give you much problem. For eggs, you must not use egg taken straight from the fridge. Let it thaw at the room temperature. For cloth, try to get a tea towel from IKEA or a cheesecloth from any local kitchenware supply shop. Try to beat your egg slightly longer and even after adding sugar. Once you have added in the flour, use fold in method but do not overmix the mixture. Another important point is not to oversteam your muffins. 10-12 minutes are sufficient if you are using those moulds like me. If possible, please send me a photo of your muffins to and let me have a look. Thanks. 😉

  44. chai says:

    can i replace coconut milk to full
    cream milk ?

    • food-4tots says:

      Chai: You can try to use evaporated milk as suggested by the original recipe. I’m not sure of full cream milk but no harm giving it a try. 😉

      • chai says:

        thank you so much for your reply.Before receive your message i oredi try your steamed pumpkin muffins original recipe.
        It is fantastic n yummy…my 2 little girls love to eat so much. the nest i will try your basic butter cake. Thanks again.

  45. Yen says:

    Hihi, finally I made it. But I didn’t add in pumpkin. It’s kind of too sweet for me, Cldnt imagine if pumpkin is added in. Next time will add in less sugar.

    After following ur recipe except the pumpkin. The batter is v v sticky, thick n lumpy, is it suppose to be like that. I only steamed two, the balance I added milk to ‘dilute’ it. Turned out the 1st two has a beautiful crack. The others, only couple of it cracked. In total I only able to steamed 8muffins instead of ur 11-12.

    Do u hv any idea ROYAL baking pwd, is it double action? What brand r u using? Can get it fr supermarket?

    How I wish I can post the foto to u, so can get mre advise.

    Btw it’s nice to see the ‘crack’. Hehe…..

    • food-4tots says:

      Yen: Thanks for your kind feedback. I really appreciate that. I would suggest that you don’t omit the pumpkin for this recipe. Otherwise, the muffins will be too sweet. The batter is indeed sticky and lumpy but I am not sure whether we are referring to the same consistency here.

      I am using BAKE KING double acting baking powder. You can find it in NTUC, Cold Storage or any local baking supplier shops. I haven’t tried ROYAL brand before. If you like, you can send your photos to

  46. Tatiana says:

    Tell me how you cooked mashed pumpkin? Taken raw or her need to pre-bake?

  47. Jill says:

    I tried this recipe and it really turns out well. Just to share, I replaced the salad oil with Canola oil instead. It’s a bit too sweet for me so maybe I will reduce the sugar next time. This is really one great tea time cake.

    • food-4tots says:

      Jill: Thanks for your kind feedback. Glad it suits your palate! For your information, I had cut down the sugar by 35g from the original recipe because I used Australian pumpkin. So, if you were to reduce the sugar, please do not cut down too much. Otherwise, the recipe won’t work.

      • Jill says:

        I tried my 1st batch on Sat according to your recipe which turned out good then the following day decided to try again with 10gm less sugar and this time the sweetness is just right for me. I used Ayam Brand Trim Coconut Milk for my 2nd batch. Think I will try with evaporated milk for my next batch. ^^

        • food-4tots says:

          Jill: Thanks for sharing your feedback again. Glad that you managed to fine tune the recipe to suit your palate. You can try evaporated milk. One of my readers tried it too and it turned out great. 😉

  48. Grace says:

    Hi, love your recipe! I’ve tried it and it works out well. Thanks for the step by step photos, very helpful.
    I’d like to know if there are any substitute for coconut milk?

  49. Grace says:

    Thanks so much for the link! I shall try using yogurt or homemade soymilk as a healthier substitute. Will let you know if it works out well! 😉

  50. Tatiana says:

    Thank you very much for the recipe!
    I replaced the coconut milk by 10% cream, and took a regular baking powder.
    Very tasty muffins:)

    • food-4tots says:

      Tatiana: Thanks a lot for your kind feedback! Your version sounds fantastic! Great for those who can’t find coconut milk. Besides that, your muffins look really gorgeous with the dome effect! Lovely shot too! 😉

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