How to make tapioca layer cake steamed

I love eating this steam tapioca layered cake dessert on as a past time snack.  It's soft, chewy, and coconutty. This is also known as "banh da lon" in Vietnamese. It is also known as "kuih lapis" in Malaysia.  This recipe makes 1 cake.

Tapioca Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can coconut milk (13 oz) + 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked yellow split mung beans
  1. Boil the 1/2 cup water and add the sugar until disolved. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rice flour and tapioca starch.
  3. Add the coconut + water mixture to the flour mixture. Stir.
  4. Add the water/sugar syrup to the mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture into 2 parts. 
  6. Yellow layer - add the mung beans and mixture to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Sift the mixture to remove lumps. Add yellow food color.  If you don't like mung beans, skip the mung beans!
  7. Green layer - add food color and mix.
  8. Place a metal container in a steam pot.  Add one layer of green. When solid, add yellow layer. Continue until all layers are finished.
  9. Once cool, cut the tapioca cake.  When it's warm, it is really sticky.  It gets more firm once cooled. Enjoy!


Watch the video!


Thank you so very much! This is the first Hmong recipe blog I have found. I love these desserts but have no idea how to make them so I am very thankful you are willing to share your recipes with us. I even got my mom watching your videos! I look forward to more videos from you.

Awesome! So happy to know that you were able to share the video with your mom! :-)

Do you know any good recipe for sesame balls? I've tried a few and its never quite right. It doesn't expand enough and the layer is quite thick. Some doesn't hold the round shape for long. My sister tried the steam cake and it turned out fantastic. PThanks.

Hi Annie,First of all, I'd like to thank you for sharing.  I buy desserts that looks similar to this from the hmong store in green and white, but it doesn't have a shiny look to it like yours.  Is it possible it's made with only rice flour?  Please let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks again.

Hi Wendy, this recipe requires both the tapioca starch and rice flour.  I don't know if it will be firm with only the rice flour.  You can give it a try and experiment. :-)

Annie, I made this last night using your recipe. It turned out really yummy (just like the ones I get at the Asian store)! I have an incredible sweet tooth, so next time I will add more sugar. By the way, I've always avoided making this treat because it seemed too tedious having to steam each layer one at a time. However, after watching your instructional video and using your awesome recipe, it motivated me to go ahead and try it. This is one of my favorite Asian desserts, so I am so incredibly happy to be able to reproduce this whenever I want to eat it. Many thanks! I love your blog and youtube recipes. 

Thank you for commenting. Much love.

I tried this recipe today. It turned out good. But too sticky I can't cut it to form a good shape like yours. Thanks so much for all your recipes. I love it. May God please you with many years to come.i

:-) Thank you for commenting!!!

Hi Annie,    I love your recipe, it's easy to make and also very delicious. But I was wondering if I can use more water and use less coconut milk because my mother feels that it's too much coconut if I used the whole can of coconut(13oz) or should i just add more water to it?

You can try adjusting the liquid volume to your liking. Good luck!

thanks for this recipemine turns out good.


i dont like mung bean..will it still be good without???


Thank you for posting this.  Banh da lon is one of my favourite treat.  I am attempting to make a lower calorie version of this cake, would i be able to use almond milk and stevia in place of coconut milk and sugar?  Thank you.

I'm not sure how that would taste... you could give it a try and come back to let us know if it tasted good.

Hey Annie,We have a quick question about the recipe. If we used the following ingredients, how much does it typically make? And as for the bottom/first layer, does that get too hard over time during steaming?

It makes 1 pie pan. Don't steam the layers for long. Steam it only for a few minutes until it is solid enough to support the next layer. Steaming it too long will make it hard and rubbery.

Hi Annie ,i'm tring ur recipe now i cook the layer first it cook good so that i can add the yellow layer , but the yellow layer it doesn't cook , it make me can not put another  green layer again .i just want to ask you , why it is like that ?can u tell me ? thank u 

As long as it's solid, then you can start the next layer. It doesn't have to be completely cook because remember you are adding layers so the bottom layers keep on cooking  until you are all done.

Thanks Annie. This is very helpful. I tried out the recipe turned out good. Our 8 yr old daughter's name is also Annie :). Thank again.

Hi Dalina, I'm glad it turned out good for you! :-)

omg! that's sooo cool! I've never thought of using aluminum pan !! Great Idea! I'm going to try this. I've been wanting to make it, but I've failed every time. YAY! YAY!

Good luck!

Thankyou...can't wait to try it. it look so good:)

Hope you do!

Hey Annie, I was wondering if you knew how to make the ones with the white layer instead of the yellow layer. What is the difference?  

The yellow layer is just food coloring and mung bean. You can make the layer white, just don't add food coloring or mung bean.

Can u peel the layers when you eat it,if not do u hav a recipe for it??

Yes. Each layer is peelable.

what's the difference beteen the tapioca in the blue bag n the smaller one int he green bag???...can it be made with the green bag one?.. 

I am going to attempt to make this recipe for the Chinese New Year's coming up. I loved this recipe when I was a kid because my mom made it for the whole family but I ate all of it before anyone ate it. Now I am older and I want to make it for my husband and his family to try it. I searched and searched for this recipe until I happened to click your link. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us and may God Bless you Annie. :)

Very cool. Good luck!

After steaming for was hard as a rock...which rice flour do you use...

Use tapioca starch and then add the rice flour (red letters on clear bag)

love eating this so much and finally got the chance to make it! thank you!


For the Tapioca Starch, did you use the one in a green peper package or yhe one that is package like the rice flower but the lettering is blue?

You can use any brand of tapioca flour.  I used tapioca starch and also rice flour.

<p>I love this recipe! ive made it twice already, im going to attempt to make the rice cakes tonight!</p><p>thank you these wonderful recipes. keep them coming!</p>

Can i use glutinous rice flour instesd of plan rice flour?

What kind of rice flour did u use? The green writtin or the pink/red!

i was just wondering what kind of rice flour are u using it?

Gosh, I've been looking for this recipe.  So glad I found it on your page!!!  Thank you Annie.

hello annie♥ love your videos. i was wonder where to buy the mung beans at? never heard of it.

Hi I was only wondering the type of flour you used in this recipe. I know that there are two types at the Asian markets so would it be the red and green packages. Thanks so much! I love your recipes.

Did your use regular rice flour or glutinous rice flour because when I use glutinous rice flour the cake was too sticky and I couldn't cut it into nice even pieces. Also I don't like Mung bean so if I skip that step would I need to reduce or add more of any of the other ingredients.

You didnt mention how long it usually takes the layer to be firm. How long does it usually takes to be firm or when should we add in a new layer? 

You didnt mention how long it usually takes the layer to be firm. How long does it usually takes to be firm or when should we add in a new layer? 


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