A can of coconut milk was sitting in my cabinet and begging to be used for a good cause. I decided to venture into the unknown and see if I could find a gluten free baked good that required a full can of coconut milk. I did some research and found out about the Filipino dessert called “puto”. One of my roommate is Filipino and when I asked him if he’s had it before, his face lite up with recognition, “Oh yea, puto. I remember having that when I was a kid, it’s a little cake, muffin sort of steamed bun.”
So I set about finding an easy, gluten free version of this new treat to test out. I happened upon By Amber’s Hands recipe and modified it slightly.
These little cakes are light and fluffy and sweet with a hint of coconut in each bite. Plus they’re extremely easy to make in a few minutes if you have all the ingredients on hand. The texture is different from a muffin or cake or steamed bun, but different in the most delightful sort of way.
My can of coconut milk was put to good use!
- 1 and 1/2 cups rice flour (not glutinous or sweet rice flour – I used Bob Red Mills White Rice Flour)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp water (more if needed)
- Optional toppings: shredded dried coconut or cheddar cheese
- NOTE: The original recipe called for pandan extract. I didn’t have any of it on hand, but I checked with my roommate and he said it’s a delicious, different flavor to try.
- Preheat the oven to 300˚ and place a large pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil while prepping the Puto batter.
- Grease (with coconut oil) or line mini-muffin pan.
- Whisk together rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in the coconut milk and water, plus more water if the batter is very thick. Puto batter will be a thick liquid consistency and should not hold peaks.
- Divide batter into greased mini-muffin cups (I opted to line mine with cupcake liners) and place in the oven.
- Carefully pour the boiling water into the large pan to turn your oven into a steamer and close the oven quickly.
- Bake for 20 minutes, try not to open the oven.
- Let cool in pan for 3-5 minutes and then serve!
- OPTIONAL: Top with dried coconut immediately when removed from the oven, if using. If using cheese, cut into strips and make an “X” on the top of each. Return to the oven for a minute or two to melt. Let cool a bit and remove from pan carefully. Cool completely before serving.
These little fluffy wonders stay great for 1-3 days, but I promise they won’t last because you’ll devour them!