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Nian Gao - Baked Chinese New Year Cake

User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (6 Reviews)


Baked Nian Gao
sstrieu/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
While traditional Nian Gao is steamed and does not contain butter, eggs or other ingredients normally found in a cake batter, this is a baked version that is good "if you don’t like standing over the stove worrying about the steamer boiling dry, if you don’t want to pan fry lots of pieces, or if you want to share with non-Asians who might be used to a more…cake-like cake." The recipe comes from Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, who adds that the "sweet, cake-like Nian Gao has a slightly sticky texture or bite to it."

Steamed Nian Gao Cake
Photo Instructions to make Baked Nian Gao

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 16 oz. Mochiko sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour), plus a bit extra for sprinkling on the baking dish
  • 1 stick of butter or 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 to 1 3/4 cup sugar--depending on if you like it sweeter
  • 1 Tb baking soda
  • One can of red azuki beans


Mix everything but the beans with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat for 2 more minutes at high speed.
Sprinkle Mochiko flour over a 9"x13" baking dish that has been oiled or sprayed with Pam.
Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the baking pan Spread the red azuki beans (you can mix some batter into the beans if they are too thick to spread).
Spread the other half of the batter over the red azuki beans. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
Test for doneness by inserting a chopstick (this is Chinese New Year’s Cake after all)—if it comes out clean, it is done.

Recipe by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Asian American Village contributing editor. Reprinted with permission.

Originally published by Asian American Village Online at www.IMDiversity.com, "the leading online source for diversity recruitment, career development information, and cultural/community content for underrepresented U.S. minorities."
  copyright Frances Kai-Hwa Wang 2003

My Response to Slbwpi
Working with glutinous rice flour for the first time can be a bit challenging, since it doesn't behave exactly the same as other flours. The batter is meant to be quite liquid - your description of a milkshake consistency is perfect! The glutinous rice flour will absorb the water during baking. When adding the adzuki beans, they will sink a bit into the batter – that’s fine. Nian Gao is normally steamed, but a baked cake will gave you the taste of traditional Nian Gao, if not the same texture. I hope this helps.

My Response to Member ABQ505
Great Idea!
Rhonda Parkinson, Your Guide to Chinese Cooking

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
this works better..., Member ABQ505

This makes a cake that is sort of similar to traditional steamed nian gao. Since the batter is so thin, it is very difficult to spread the red bean paste onto it. This is easier: pour all the batter in the pan, pipe the bean paste in long strips, letting it sink into the batter. To pipe paste, put it in a plastic bag, cut the corner off and squeeze paste out through the hole.

15 out of 18 people found this helpful.

See all 6 reviews

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