Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on February 11, 2009

I am an Air Force brat who comes from a long line of military men. With all the cross and trans continental marriages I am alas with out an ancestral home.

One of the hardest questions for me to answer is “where are you from?” I spent my childhood for the most part in Southeast Asia, the southeastern United States and sunny California.

My taste memories are an amalgamation of coconut, mango and rice, catfish and hushpuppies and sun-dried tomato, goat cheese pizza.

I wanted to come up with a gluten-free cake that would embrace my pan-cultural upbringing and decided to try a take off on Filipino rice cake, Thai sticky rice and good old American pineapple upside down cake.

Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe


2 mangos, peeled and sliced lengthwise into about ¼ inch slices
1½ cups sweet rice (mochi, pearl or sushi rice)
1½ cups water
1 cup brown sugar (packed) plus about 1 tablespoon – use divided
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
Pinch sea salt
4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute plus more for preparing pan


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan by greasing the bottom and sides liberally with the butter or non-dairy substitute. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Lay sliced mango on top of brown sugar in a nice spiral pattern.

Put rice in a large glass bowl and cover with enough water to come up about 1 inch over the top of the rice. Soak rice for at least 1 hour. Drain off water, rinse with running water and put back into bowl with 1½ cups fresh water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir rice thoroughly and return to microwave for another 5 minutes. Stir again. Rice should be tender, cooked through and sticky. If not, microwave for another 3 minutes and check again. Let stand covered for 5 minutes when done. Alternately you can cook the soaked rice in a rice cooker.

While rice is cooking, heat coconut milk with ¼ cup brown sugar and a small pinch of sea salt until almost boiling over medium heat. Do not cook it over too high of a heat or it will curdle. Cook until all the sugar is dissolved and it is very hot. Pour hot mixture over cooked rice; stir well and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute over medium heat with ¾ cups of brown sugar until it forms a thick caramel. Gently pour over the mango slices in the cake pan. Add rice mixture and press down to pack it well in the pan. Smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

Place cake pan in a sheet pan to catch any caramel that may bubble over and bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the rice is lightly browned and the caramel is hot and bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes and then run a knife around the pan to loosen. Invert on serving plate and let cool. The more you let it cool the easier it is to slice.


Serves 8 – 10 gluten free people.

Need a quick meal?

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Ready for dessert?

Simply...Gluten-Free DessertsSimply…Gluten-Free Desserts is now available, with over 135 recipes not featured in my blog.

Available at bookstores including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, Books-a-Million and Amazon. You can get it also HERE.

“I can now have recipes I know I can count on for every Dessert and Breakfast occasion! I’m thrilled!” – A. M.

“I am amazed! This recipe is BETTER than the ‘regular-with-gluten’ recipe! Thanks so much, Carol” – V. P.

“I love your gluten free recipes - I can now have my desserts.” – F.R.

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Categories:    Dessert
  • Cove Girl

    Thanks for the post:) I really enjoy following your recipes. This cake looks really cook, but I have one question about it. I’m not traditionally a fan on anything that has a coconut flavor to it so I’m wondering if this cake tastes more like coconut or does it take on the flavors of the mango more than the coconut milk? I may have to try it either way.

  • Lauren

    Mmm, that looks so good! I love the idea of mixing your favorites =D!

  • Bren

    i just love the look of that thing! great styling of the food, too! though there would only be ONE fork!! LOL!

  • Alisa – Frugal Foodie

    Incredible. I love the idea of this cake!

  • Simply…Gluten-free

    Cove Girl:
    The funny thing is I hate coconut! However for some reason I like sticky rice and I like this cake. I think that the brown sugar does something to the flavor because I don’t like curries with coconut milk either.

    I would say give it a try. Let me know what you think.


  • Katie

    I’ve never tried a cake like this before, but it looks wonderful. The texture and color is so intriguing.

  • Peter G

    OMG! I am so in love with this creation of yours! All those yummy flavours…coconut, caramel, brown sugar! I will def try to make this sometime this week! Bookmarked!

  • Travis Ingersoll

    This looks awesome! I think I’m going to make two of these, and share one with my co-workers on Friday. Beautiful photo:)

  • Steph

    this cake looks and sounds fantastic (and quite exotic as well)! i’m very excited to try it.

  • Helene

    Great flavors together. Beautiful cake.

  • Jennifer

    Guess what? I was also a Air Force Brat who lived in the Philippines. Thank you for the memories.

  • Maureen "Hold The Gluten"

    Wow – this looks and sounds amazing! What an ingenious idea — you never cease to amaze me :) This is totally on my list of “must try” recipes!

  • Cynthia

    There are not words to describe how good you are. I am serious.

  • Nick

    That looks incredibly sticky, I bet you could use that as glue! Looks like some tasty adhesive you’ve got there…

  • H.Peter

    We love sticky rice. Any shape it comes. But this one is a great version.

    I added you to my list of Blogs!

  • Liz

    Oh my Gosh! What a cool dessert. I have a whole, big bag of sticky rice just waiting to be used.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Dana aka Gluten Free In Cleveland

    I can’t believe I never thought of turning my beloved sticky rice and mango into a cake before.

    I love love love this…and your photography is beautiful :)

  • Max mickle

    My father is a huge fan of Sticky Rice Cake and I always try to bake one for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i’ve tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can’t wait to try it.thank you for shearing your post.

  • itengineer79

    Hello ..
    Thnx dear…seems it is tasty…
    Friends do u know where can I find same these foods (Free Gluten) in Malaysia …coz I’m from middle east and living in Malaysia for study…
    Thank you ..


  • Kevin

    This sticky rice cake looks really good!

  • Tangled Noodle

    I might have to change my blog name to Sticky Rice – I love everything about this recipe! You've hit a soft, sweet spot in my childhood food memories, too . . .!

  • Anonymous

    Nice brief and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you seeking your information.

  • Shannon

    Tried this yesterday and my family loved it! I didn’t have any mangoes and wasn’t sure how it would work with frozen peaches, so I made it sans fruit. Also used light coconut milk. We loved everything about it. I really couldn’t notice a coconut flavor to it. Thanks Carol!

    • Carol, Simply Gluten Free

      Thank you for letting me know how you liked it!

  • Tracee

    This brings back memories. When I lived in California I always loved when Filipino friends or co-workers would make one of these. Seems like most anything they brought was delicious.

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