Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on February 11, 2009

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Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe

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 — without 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, hush-puppies, sun-dried tomatoes, 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 and came up with this Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe.

Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe


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


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. 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.


This Gluten Free Sticky Rice Cake Recipe serves 8 – 10

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Cove Girl February 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

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 February 12, 2009 at 9:11 am

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


Bren February 12, 2009 at 9:26 am

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 February 13, 2009 at 12:20 am

Incredible. I love the idea of this cake!


Simply...Gluten-free February 13, 2009 at 8:48 am

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 February 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

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


Peter G February 14, 2009 at 2:16 am

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 February 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm

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 February 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

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


Helene February 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Great flavors together. Beautiful cake.


Jennifer February 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm

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


Maureen "Hold The Gluten" February 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm

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 February 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm

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


Nick February 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm

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


H.Peter February 22, 2009 at 5:47 am

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

I added you to my list of Blogs!


Liz March 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

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 March 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm

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 May 2, 2009 at 4:35 am

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 May 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

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 ..

[email protected]


Kevin June 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

This sticky rice cake looks really good!


Tangled Noodle July 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm

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 February 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

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


Shannon March 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

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 March 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

Thank you for letting me know how you liked it!


Tracee June 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

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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