There are many kinds of steamed rice cakes in Asia. The Filipino version uses some kind of a sourdough made with ground rice which is allowed to sit overnight or up to 2 days in room temperature to ferment. I wish I learned this traditional method of making rice cakes from my late mother. I remember the procedure well but not the correct and exact proportion of the ingredients. I have to admit that it's one of my frustrations in the kitchen. In the Philippines, where they're popular and conveniently sold at the markets, it may not be necessary to make them. However, my mother still made them at home from scratch and as I can best recall, fresh steamed rice cakes were the best. They may be so easy to find in the Philippines but that's not always true here so when the craving for these sweet cakes sets in, I turn to a popular commercial brand of mix, White King. I've made these steamed muffins several times before but I have yet to achieve the look in the pictures above. They were extra puffy with the desirable cracked top. I just used a wire whisk to stir the mixture instead of the electric mixer. These rice cakes were made with regular wheat flour instead of the traditional rice flour.
Happy Valentine's Day!