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. Siew says:

    Hi,may I know if using electrical steamer how long should I set? Besides, can I use brown sugar instead of castor sugar; superfine flour instead of cake flour? Because this are what I have:-P And I don’t have any baking powder, what baking powder is commonly used so I will go and buy one. TIA! Thx for sharing yr recipe, as I only have steamer don’t hv any oven. Pls share more steaming recipe!:-)

    • food-4tots says:

      Siew: Follow the time given in my recipe. Yes, you can use brown sugar but it may give you a different taste and colour for the muffins. It should be fine to use superfine flour. Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in baking. Please get one that states “double acting baking powder”. I’m glad you like steaming recipes. Will definitely share more in future. 😉

  2. Purple Panther says:

    Hi, can we replace pumpkin with sweet potato? Do we need to remove the fiber from the sweet potato?

    What other alternate ingredients if we do not want to use Pumpkin – (allergies)


    • food-4tots says:

      Purple Panther: Yes, you can but it may have a different taste and texture. This is because sweet potato has less moisture and sweetness than pumpkin. It would be better to remove the skin. I think sweet potato is a good substitution for pumpkin. 😉

  3. spidyqueen says:

    hello, can i use a rice cooker instead? Also, i can use a electrical hand blender right? Sorry for the basic questions. am relatively new at this.

    • food-4tots says:

      Spidyqueen: I’m sorry that I haven’t tried it with a rice cooker before. There is no need to use electrical hand blender. Hand whisk is good enough. Happy trying! 😉

      • Ranita says:

        Hi, I tried it using my rice cooker to steam and it turned out perfect. Love this receipe !! Can’t wait to try with different flavors.

  4. May says:

    Hi, can I use canned pumpkin purée? And if so, should I stick to the same amount as stated in the recipe? I love your blog, thanks so much for sharing. I live in Germany and it’s wonderful to be able to prepare yummy asian food for my family.

    • food-4tots says:

      May: Yes, if that’s what you have. Just substitute with the same amount. If the sweetness for pumpkin purée is same as the normal pumpkin, then there is no need to adjust the sugar. Glad that you like my recipes! Happy trying! 😉

  5. Siew says:

    Hi I had just bought the kara UHT coconut cream, just wonder if can’t finish using it, how long can I keep in the refrigerator? Besides, I couldn’t get the double acting baking powder yet. I found the baking powder only so didn’t buy yet. May I know what brand? The one I found were royal baking powder and”arm and hammer”brand pure baking powder. They are not stated double acting so better clarify first. TIA!

    • food-4tots says:

      Siew: For coconut cream, you can keep it for 3-4 days in the fridge or 2 weeks in the freezer. But, it is better to check the taste before using it. I was told that Royal baking powder is single acting. Not sure about Arm and Hammer brand. Alternatively, you can get it from any local baking supply shop. 😉

  6. Celine Lim says:

    Hi! I so can’t wait to try steamed muffins, they look so unbelievably soft and fluffy compares to BAKED muffins..
    Question though, can I substitute Coconut Milk 100g to Coconut Oil for the same g amount?
    Thank you so much!! <3

    • food-4tots says:

      Celine Lim: No, oil is not a direct substitute for milk. If you can’t find coconut milk, you can use milk, cream or Greek-style yogurt. They works too. 😉

  7. Siew says:

    Hi thx for the recipe! For the first time I got my cake steamed so well! I got a question here, after eating the cake the tongue feels rough is it something deal with the baking powder? Actually the cake taste very good as I follow all yr ingredient just the feeling of the mouth after eating is weird, hope u can help. TIA!

    • food-4tots says:

      Siew: Thanks for sharing your feedback! Did you follow my recipe closely? I don’t think the baking powder will give you the weird feeling of the mouth. You must make sure it’s measured at 1½ TEASPOON (not tablespoon). You also need to ensure the flour and BP are mixed thoroughly and sieved. 🙂

  8. Siew says:

    Oic! I think my mistake was not mix them:-P I sieved them one by one. Ok will try again. Thank you very much!

  9. Ching says:

    Hi! I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for awhile and I’m grateful for your sharing of recipes. They are a good source of inspiration when I ran out of ideas 🙂
    I haven’t tried steaming cakes before. I’m wondering if my steamer is not big enough to accommodate all the muffins, can I steam them in batches?

    • food-4tots says:

      Ching: Thanks a lot for your kind support! Yes, you can steam them in batches. Please also ensure that your baking powder is double acting (not single acting). 🙂

  10. chris says:

    Hi, can I replace the coconut milk with soy milk? And I only have all purpose plain flour. Pls advice! Tia!

  11. Anita says:

    Hi there,
    You have such a lovery and informative website!
    I already bookmarked your website!
    I just sent you a email via the contact form regarding your pumpkin huat kueh’s pudding mould. I hope you have receive it and have time to reply to me.
    Many thanks 🙂

  12. Jayna says:

    This is my baby’s favorite. I replaced coconut milk with uht fresh milk , salad oil to coconut oil and it turns out yummy too
    . I am sure coconut milk will taste awesome.

  13. Jesslyn says:

    Hi, good day. Got to know your blog from a friend of mine. What a lovely blog 🙂
    My question for this recipe:-
    Any replacement for egg? because my baby is allergic to egg. Can I use yogurt i/o coconut milk?

  14. Jesslyn says:

    thank you so much for the useful info. Btw, may I know what is the different between thick UHT coconut milk and fresh coconut milk? Can I use the fresh coconut milk?

    • food-4tots says:

      Jesslyn: I had bought thick UHT coconut milk once but it tasted awful. The coconut cream I used for this recipe is surprisingly very fragrant. Yes, you can use fresh coconut milk. 🙂

  15. Carol says:

    Taste for fresh coconut milk is much better.

    it is convenient to use UHT coconut milk but some brand have funny taste and it may have preservatives added.

  16. evlyn says:

    Thanks for the recipe I love ur blog too..just wanna knw how many tsp do I need if I use single raising baking powder?

    • food-4tots says:

      Evlyn: Thank you for loving my blog. I’m not sure how to substitute double acting baking powder with single acting baking powder. If possible, get double acting baking powder before trying this recipe. 🙂

  17. Ching says:

    Hi, thank you for your effort on the beautiful photos and recipe.

    I am a newbie trying to learn baking from the basic.

    Yesterday I try out the same recipe from table for 2. But I fail,the cake doesnt smiling. I use normal muffin cup and manage to make 5 cups.

    I suspect I put too much batter in the cup tat y it is too heavy to “huat”

    Fyi, I use baking powder instead of DABP as wendy mention she fail when she use DABP.

    Then after reading your recipe, I got more confused. Should I use normal or double action.
    The one I am using is bake king baking powder. Yellow color.

    Sorry for the long qst.
    I need to find out the root cause.

    It is very demotivating when the cake doesnt turn out what u expected.

    • food-4tots says:

      Ching: I’m not sure why Wendy failed when she was using DABP. There are 2 types of baking powder produced by Bake King. Look for the one with DABP. For my recipe, it is highly recommended to use DABP as explained in my note. There are a lot of problems that may cause your cakes not rising. I think your muffin cups are too big as you only have 5 cups. Can you find the pudding moulds I use for this recipe? If you still have any queries, you can write directly to me – I will try my best to trouble shoot for you.

  18. jessie says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing, I am so eager to try this but I am so disappointed I cant find cake flour at NTUC, is self raising flour suitable? I have it in my cupboard,

    • food-4tots says:

      Jessie: That’s weird. I used to buy cake flour from NTUC. Maybe it is temporary out of stock. Alternately, you can use plain flour. For SR flour, it contains baking powder, so it is one to one substitution. 🙂

  19. Carol says:

    Good morning

    Last Sunday I made steamed muffin but disappointed as failed. Not sure where went wrong as the batter doesn’t rise up. Texture after steamed is not fluffy.

    I used sweet potato instead of pumkin.
    Used plain water instead of coconut milk.
    Did not use egg but subsitute with water.

    • food-4tots says:

      Carol: As you have substituted a few of the ingredients in the recipe, it is difficult for me to troubleshoot the problem for you. I would strongly suggest that you follow my recipe closely in your next attempt if you want to achieve the best result. 🙂

  20. Lynnzo says:

    Hi, is Bicarbonate Soda the same as Baking Powder?cos i just bought a bottle of BakeKing Bicarbonate Soda..can use in this recipe?TIA

  21. YK says:

    Hi, may i use all purpose flour to replace cake flour?

    Or self rising flour for cake flour with baking powder?

    My kids are sensitive wheat flour. I have to use non wheat flour.

    Please advise. Thx!

  22. Kristine says:

    Hello, thank you for your recipe.

    For the smiling effect, you mentioned that we have to score the batter like we do with scoring bread for decoration. Do we score the batter BEFORE WE START STEAMING or do we score the batter half way through when the top crust of the muffin has already set?

    It’s 初十五 (Chinese day 15th) tomorrow. I would really love to do it today.

    • food-4tots says:

      Kristine: Just score before steaming. Do not open the lid during steaming. Happy trying! 🙂

      • Kristine says:

        I have 7 muffins and I scored 3 of them before steaming and it seems that the cut was not clear and they sticked back together… is it correct?

        The other four I scored after steaming for 5 mins with high heat.

        • food-4tots says:

          Kristine: Did you mean that you opened the lid (cover) and scored the muffins? As I had mentioned in my earlier reply, you must not open the lid during steaming. This will cause a drop of the temperature and the muffins will not be able to rise properly. When I did these muffins, I didn’t score them but they still had the smiling effect. What is the size of your muffin mould? Can you send me a photo?

    • Kristine says:

      I followed your recipe and did not make any changes except putting 3 tsp of baking powder (because I don’t have double act BP) but the muffin turns out too moist. Few muffin raise but not enough and the rest just didn’t raise at all.

      Please offer me some advice.

  23. pim says:

    Hello what if i omit egg 4m the recipe is it possible.

  24. bee says:

    Can my 6 months old baby eat this?

    • food-4tots says:

      Bee: My recipes in this blog are not recommended for kids before 2.5 years old as some of the ingredients will trigger allergy and health issue. I don’t recommend babies before one to consume salt, sugar and oil. Thus, this recipe is not suitable for your little one at this point of time. 🙂

  25. Cecilia Hiong says:

    Tried your recipe.. I love the texture. So soft and the sweetness is just nice. They raised but did not “smile” as wide as like yours. Btw, I tried mini sized paper cups. They looked cute and adorable. Tq for sharing.

  26. Sumikojoy says:

    hi, do you think i am able to use formula milk instead of coconut milk for my 14 month old toddler? he has cleared all the other ingredients, including eggs needed for this recipe 🙂

  27. cherie says:

    its me again 🙂
    i tried this. everything was perfect except for the pumpkin taste – mine has no pumpkin taste; coconut taste pretty strong. I use exactly the same amount of pumpkin… 🙁
    my muffin did huat very nicely but i dun wan them to huat. How do i achieve the nice rounded top like your steamed banana muffin?


    • food-4tots says:

      Cherie: Did you use fresh or packet coconut milk? If packet, which brand? Did you use local or Australian pumpkin? If your pumpkin is light in yellow, the taste may not be so strong. You can try steaming the muffins at medium low heat. Hope it helps! 🙂

  28. Sherlynn says:

    Hi, I tried steaming the pumpkin muffin twice but with self-raising flour instead and my muffins turn out very dense and heavy. Not fluffy at all. Can you help me troubleshoot? Thank you in advance.

    • food-4tots says:

      Sherlynn: Self-raising flour consists of baking powder and plain flour. Did you follow closely my recipe? Is the mixture well beaten? How about your steaming mould? Please give me more details so that I can troubleshoot for you.

  29. jan says:

    Hi was wondering if we could use puree or mash corn instead?

  30. Mickey says:

    The receipe is for 11-12 muffins, if I want to try out by just making 5 muffins, how much is the portion of the ingredients, I need to prepare?

  31. Ellis says:

    Hi I’m a new mother learning how to cook for my infant. Can I know if sugar and salt can be omitted?

    • food-4tots says:

      Ellis: I don’t recommend that as this will affect the outcome. For your information, all my recipes are suitable for toddlers aged 2.5 years old and above. 🙂

  32. Serene says:

    Hi can I use Rose flour or all purpose flour? Thanks.

    • food-4tots says:

      Serene: Sorry, I haven’t tried Rose flour before. You can use all purpose flour but the texture will not be as soft as cake flour. Please note that AP flour is not a direct substitute for cake flour. 🙂

  33. karen says:

    Hi hi…may I know do we need to use electric hand whisk or just use a whisk to beat? Thanks

  34. Esther says:

    Hi, I follow the recipe but reduce the sugar my 10g as I don’t like too sweet. My muffins turn out not soft and fluffy like yours, it’s abit dense, like huat kueh, what goes wrong?

  35. Esther says:

    TQVM for your prompt reply. I use aluminum mould lined with paper cup. I could have over mixed the dough. Will try it again and let you know. Thanks.

  36. Esther says:

    The paper cup I used is the size of your muffin mould. I got 7 muffines.
    This time I used the same ingredients, last time I used claasic olive oil, this round I used extra virginolive oil. The mixture is softer than last time, it rises and smile nicely but not fluffy.
    The only different now is the pumpkin, is that the caused. When u mized in the pumpkin, it will not totally resolve in the mizture, there’s a little small pieces, is it right?

    • food-4tots says:

      Esther: Not sure why you only get 7 as compared to mine 11-12 muffins. I don’t think the oil is the cause. If you didn’t mash your pumpkin properly, it will leave some small pieces. That’s fine when making muffins. By the way, are all your ingredients at room temperature? Don’t mind to email me a photo of your muffins and the muffin mould. My email address is

  37. Stephanie says:


    My muffins rise during steaming, however it all collapse after I took them out from the steamer, do you know why is that happen?


    • food-4tots says:

      Stephanie: Maybe you can incorporate this step in your next attempt -> Once the steaming is done, open the lid slightly to release some heat for a few seconds. This will help the muffins from shrinking due to a sudden change of temperature. Hope it helps! 🙂

  38. Grace says:


    May I know the size of your mould & the paper cups? Is it possible to use the 2oz paper cups?


    • food-4tots says:

      Grace: As stated in the recipe (note 1), the size of the mould is 6.5cm diameter (opening)x 5cm diameter (base) x 3.5cm depth. If the size of your muffin cup is different, then you need to adjust the steaming time accordingly. Make sure the muffin cups is made of thick material which can withstand the steaming process. Otherwise, you have to use a pudding mould as a support. 🙂

  39. Joyce says:

    Hi, I made it and it’s taste real good! Thanks for your recipe. How long is the shelf life? I left it at room temperature for overnight. Is it ok?

    • food-4tots says:

      Joyce: Thanks for your wonderful feedback! Glad to know that you liked it! Shelf life is one day at room temperature. Best option is to put them in the refrigerator and steam again when you want to consume them. You can also freeze them if you can’t finish them in a single day. 🙂

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