In the suburb of Melbourne where I live, Japanese sweets are almost impossible to purchase. If I want to eat them, I have to make them. This type of steamed cake is called ‘Manjū’ in Japanese. I never knew that it is quite easy to make until I tried.


8 to 10 Cakes


1/2 cup Muscovado OR Dark Brown Sugar *about 70g
4 tablespoons Warm Water
1/2 teaspoon Bi-Carb Soda *OR Baking Powder
*Note: Bi-Carb Soda creates a unique flavour, but some people find it unpleasant
1 cup Plain Flour *plus extra for dusting
8 to 10 heaped-tablespoonfuls ‘Tsubu-an’ (Sweet Azuki Paste) that is firmly cooked

  1. *Note: Today I made 8 Cakes. If you are good at wrapping, you can make 10 or more Cakes with thinner layer of the dough, that is preferable.
  2. Roll ‘Tsubu-an’ (Sweet Azuki Paste) into 8 to 10 same-sized balls. *Note: If ‘Tsubu-an’ is rather soft, it would be very challenging to wrap with this dough. I recommend to freeze the balls of ‘Tsubu-an’.
  3. Place Muscovado, Warm Water and Bi-Carb Soda in a mixing bowl, and mix well. Add Flour and form a dough, that might be sticky and rather soft. Wrap and set aside at a cool place (Or in the fridge) for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 balls on a lightly floured surface. Flatten out each ball by hands into a cup shape that is large enough to wrap an Azuki ball. Place an Azuki ball in centre, then wrap around and seal the edges.
  5. Place each cake on a piece of baking paper (size 8 x 8cm). Steam for 10 minutes. Enjoy while still warm.