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Yaksik Cupcakes for a Korean Wedding

Yaksik Cupcakes

It’s been years since I baked cupcakes for a wedding and I had no plans to do it again.  However, when my friend Andrew buttered me up by reminding me how much he loved the green tea cupcakes that I baked for his taiko group and then asked if I could bake cupcakes for his upcoming nuptials, I gave an easy yes.  His bride-to-be Soonjeon is Korean and, while he left the flavor choice entirely up to me, Andrew suggested that I might try a Korean-inspired cupcake in her honor.  I get super excited about baking challenges so I immediately (as in, as soon as I finished reading his email) started researching Korean desserts.  I discovered yaksik, learned that it is often served at Korean weddings, and knew that I had to make it happen in cupcake form for Andrew and Soonjeon’s wedding.

What is Yaksik?

Yaksik Cupcakes

Yaksik is the first dessert I’ve ever made in a rice cooker. (View on Amazon)

Yaksik Cupcakes

When you peel the wrapper back, yaksik looks nothing like a cupcake as we know it.  That’s because it’s not really a cake.  It’s sticky rice!  Americans are used to rice as a dessert in pudding format, but sticky rice desserts are new to many of us.  Just think of the rice as your starch (instead of flour) and go with it.

I’d enjoyed sticky rice in numerous Asian dishes, but had never attempted making it at home.  I learned that it is just as easy to prepare as white rice, the main difference being that you need to soak sticky rice overnight before cooking it. (View on Amazon)

Here are some of the ingredients added to the sticky rice that make yaksik special:

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to eat roasted chestnuts. (View on Amazon)

If you don’t want to spend the money on pine nuts, you could use a cheaper nut like walnuts. (View on Amazon)

Korean red dates (jujubes) are an essential yaksik ingredient.  They are used to make a sweet tea that, alongside brown sugar, gives yaksik its sweetness.  There are also chopped up jujubes mixed in the rice.  I was able to find mine at a local Korean grocer.  The ones that I bought were already seeded, which saved  me some time. (View on Amazon)

Yaksik contains soy sauce and sesame oil, which threw me for a total loop.  The soy sauce balances the sweetness with a touch of salt and umami and the sesame oil plays well with the other nutty ingredients.

Although yaksik would never traditionally be served with frosting, my yaksik cupcakes needed pretty tops.  I covered them with a molasses buttercream and garnished them with flower toppers from EllaJane Crafts on Etsy.

I’ll admit that the non-Korean guests at the wedding didn’t quite know what to make of the yaksik cupcakes, but they all finished them and some even went back for seconds.  These are cupcakes for those with adventurous palates looking to try the flavors of the world.

Yaksik Cupcake Recipe

Yaksik Cupcakes

I used a Yaksik recipe from Crazy Korean Cooking for my cupcakes.  I made some slight modifications including the way I used the jujube tea.  My instructions for jujube tea came from shinshine.

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Yaksik Cupcakes
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5 from 1 vote

Yaksik Cupcakes

When you peel the wrapper back, yaksik looks nothing like a cupcake as we know it. That’s because it’s not really a cake. It’s sticky rice!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Korean
Keyword sticky rice, sticky rice cupcake, yaksik cupcake
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 29 cupcakes
Calories 276kcal
Author Stef


Jujube Tea Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • about 1 cup jujubes dried red dates, washed

Yaksik Ingredients

  • 2 cups jujube tea from above
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice soaked in water overnight
  • 30 roasted chestnuts quartered
  • 40 jujubes dried red dates, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces pine nuts

Molasses Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Jujube Tea Instructions

  • Fill a 1 1/2 quart pot about 80% full of water (If you use a larger pot, you'll just need more jujubes and you'll end up with more tea that you can then drink).
  • Float the jujubes on top of the water. They should cover the whole surface of the water in a single layer.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, turn down heat to medium-low and simmer, slightly covered, until most of the jujubes are plump (about one hour).
  • With an wooden spoon, press jujubes gently against the side of the pot and pop the flesh out. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Strain the jujubes out of the jujube tea and discard.

Yaksik Instructions

  • In a small sauce pan, bring tea, water, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cinnamon to a boil, stirring until brown sugar is fully dissolved - just a few minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Drain soaked sweet rice and put in the bowl of a rice cooker.
  • Top with chestnuts, jujubes, and pine nuts.
  • Pour sauce on top and turn on white rice setting. My rice cooker required two full white rice cycles to cook the yaksik - this may differ with different models of rice cookers. You'll know the yaksik is done when the rice is sticky and there isn't much liquid.
  • Stir thoroughly, transfer to greased cupcake liners in cupcake tins. Putting the liners in cupcake tins helps the "cupcakes" hold their shape. You may want to double wrap the liners or use silicone liners to prevent the liners from looking too oily and deformed.
  • Cool to room temperature.

Molasses Buttercream Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes on high speed).
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in molasses and salt.
  • Pipe on cooled cupcakes.


Nutrition Facts
Yaksik Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 159mg7%
Potassium 108mg3%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 200IU4%
Vitamin C 3.7mg4%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Yaksik Cupcakes for a Korean Wedding
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2 comments on “Yaksik Cupcakes for a Korean Wedding”

  1. Oh I love this! I am Korean, so I grew up eating Yashik my entire life, but never had them in cupcake form like this! How creative! I can imagine how they’d taste with frosting. Never tried that before. It’s such a traditional food that is eaten on special days. When I was growing up, I ate it often because my mom loves it so much, not really as dessert, but more as a snack. It’s totally interesting to be fusioned into a cupcake, with frosting even!

  2. Glynsays:

    I have already tried Yashik from My Korean friend and I really love the taste.. Yashik cupcakes is very new for everyone and I’ll definitely gonna try this at home. From now on I’m gonna visit your blog more often to know more ideas and recipes. Thanks! :)

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