Steamed Kabocha Cake

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Steamed Kabocha Cake

Kabocha squash is one of my favorite squashes. I cannot resist bringing one home whenever I see it at the grocery stores. It is a sweet squash with a light and fluffy texture. Although the rind is very hard when raw, but is soft and edible after cooking.

It takes only a few minutes to cook cubed kabocha squash. It is delicious simply simmered in dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. This Simmered Kabocha Squash makes a wonderful side dish and is a great addition to the bento box.

Steamed Kabocha Cake

One of my favorite cookbooks, Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko has a Kabocha Squash Cake recipe that I have been wanting to try. I made a few changes to the recipe by adding in some raisins and chopped walnuts. I also made it gluten-free so that Ro-Taro could enjoy it as well. The cake was tender, moist, and lightly sweetened. The raisins gave it added sweetness and the walnuts provided the crunch and texture.

Ingredients for Steamed Kabocha Cake

You do need a sushi mat or a kitchen towel to help roll the squash mixture into a log. Apart from that, this Steamed Kabocha Cake is relatively easy to make with only a few ingredients needed. You should have no problems finding this squash as it is quite easily available at most grocery stores.

The recipe below was adapted from Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko.

Steamed Kabocha Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Steamed Kabocha Cake


  • 1 kabocha squash, about 2 lbs (roughly 1 kg)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (30g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (30g) raisins
  • ¼ cup (30g) walnuts, chopped


Cut off the top and bottom of kabocha squash, and then cut in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into wedges. Place in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes or until squash is soft. Remove and allow to cool.

Remove skin from squash. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Mix in egg, powdered sugar, rice flour, corn starch, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Add raisins and walnuts. Mix well.

Place makisu (sushi mat)** on work surface. Place a piece of parchment paper of about the same size on makisu. Spread half of kabocha mixture onto the section of the parchment paper closest to you. Roll tightly with makisu. Close both ends by folding paper over. Repeat with the other half of kabocha mixture.

Place rolls (with parchment paper) in steamer and steam for 15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Peel off parchment paper and cut into 1-inch thick slices. Serve on small plates.


**Use a kitchen towel if you do not have a sushi mat.

This Steamed Kabocha Cake is a little different from your usual desserts or tea time treats but it is most definitely worth a try. It should be served warm accompanied by a cup of green tea and a few slices of fresh fruit like kiwi, pear, or persimmon.

Steamed Kabocha Cake

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8-)


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31 Responses

  1. Biren… you are truly amazing cook. I’m just looking at your cooking and can’t stop saying wow. I love Kabocha too, although I struggle to cut every time and somehow imagine myself cutting finger. I mean it’s that hard, right? It has great nutritious value in Kabocha and making a cake is such a great idea. And the picture is perfect!

    • Biren says:

      Aww…thanks Nami! Kabocha is so good simmered or fried tempura style. I sometimes eat cold simmered kabocha as a snack. :)

      Have to be very careful when cutting kabocha. I use a big knife so that it can go right across the squash. I steady the sharp end of the knife with my left hand and press the entire length of the knife down very slowly.

      Have a lovely weekend!

  2. What an unusual and beautiful cake!

  3. Adora's Box says:

    This sounds really good, Biren. I love squash and have had it candied or as an ingredient in sweet recipes. I like the addition of walnuts and sultanas. What a delicious and nutritious recipe.

  4. kristy says:

    Biren, I have yet tried anything like this before. Som must bookmark this recipe. Good to have something to try out. Thanks so much for sharing. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy

  5. Oooh I love kabocha! How have I never heard of this cake? It looks amazing- I love that its a steamed cake too. =) Good job biren!

  6. Cheah says:

    If this kabocha is not available here, can substitute with pumpkin? Looks fairly to prepare and thanks for sharing!

  7. Anncoo says:

    This sounds so delicious Biren. I will use pumpkin for this.
    Have a nice weekend :)

  8. Lovely squash cakes!

  9. Jill Colonna says:

    Biren, I have never heard of kabocha before. Thanks for such an elightening post and what a gorgeous recipe using the rice flour. I must try this: ok, with pumpkin perhaps since I doubt we can find it here. Although I could impress some speciality shops in Paris and say: my friend, Biren, has shown me how to make the most amazing cakes using kabocha… oh, and I’ll need a sushi mat to roll them ;-) How cool is that?

    • Biren says:

      That is cool, Jill! :) It is also fun to learn of new ingredients. You can certainly use pumpkin. I think the taste will be pretty similar.

  10. Joanne says:

    I can’t resist kabocha either! It’s my favorite winter squash! These steamed cakes look absolutely delicious..I really need to go pick some up and try them!

  11. My son’s fiance has to eat gluten free. If I can’t find a kabocha, I’ll have to try pumpkin.


  12. sweetlife says:

    great for suggesting to sub with pumpkin, I do not htink I could find kabocha. lovely


  13. Yum! A squash cake?! WOW! I’ve never had anything like this… so interesting!

  14. I love kabocha! A treat that this is already gluten-free too! I’m used to having to adapt just about everything, but this will be a nice change. I have always wanted to make a steamed cake and I think this may be just the recipe I will try.

  15. tigerfish says:

    I am with Nami on cutting the kabocha. Thanks for your tips on that.

    I like the Hokkien -style steamed savory pumpkin cake. Should be able to do the kabocha version out of it. :D

    • Biren says:

      You are most welcomed Tigerfish.

      Please remind me again of the Hokkien style pumpkin cake. I can’t think of it right now. What is it called in Hokkien?

  16. looks healthy delicious haven’t had this lovely presentation Biren

  17. I didn’t know this pumpkin is called Kabocha…
    This seems like a pretty healthy dessert.

  18. Julie M. says:

    Wow, I would have never thought to do that, but darn if I don’t want a piece! Just beautiful Biren!

  19. Zoe says:

    Didn’t know that anything about “kabocha” until I read your post. Very delicious steamed pumpkin cake and good to know that it is gluten free.

  20. This is a lovely steamed cake! The kabocha looks like our local pumpkin. Do they taste similar, as I really love pumpkin!
    Have a nice week, Biren!

  21. Such a wonderful step by step for this…I am intrigued by the idea of a steamed cake. Really looks delightful :)

  22. Cheah says:

    I saw this in Jusco supermarket yesterday, referred to by another name, can’t remember. It’s more pricey than pumpkin. Will definitely return to jot down the name, ha, ha!

  23. May says:

    Biren, What kind of rice flour do we use here? I know of 2 kinds, the sweet rice flour and the regular rice flour. I’d assume it is just the regular rice flour, but many Japanese rice cakes call for sweet (sticky) rice flour in baking. Thanks!

    • Biren says:

      Hi May, thanks for visiting. The rice flour used in this recipe is just regular white rice flour and NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour. I hope you enjoy the recipe. :)

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