Classic Nian Gao is a steamed cake that does not contain eggs, milk or other ingredients typically found in a standard cake batter, Baked Nian Gao, on the other hand, is a good recipe for those who are uncomfortable with steaming and prefer a more "cake-like" cake batter.The two main ingredients in Nian Gao – baked or steamed – are red azuki beans and glutinous rice flour, also called sticky rice flour (both are shown in the photo). Both are available in Chinese/Asian supermarkets.
Baked Nian Gao Recipe:
- 4 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour)
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar*
- 3/4 cup brown sugar*
- 1 Tb baking soda
- 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups mashed red azuki beans (available in cans in Chinese/Asian markets)
2. Mix everything but the beans with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat for 2 more minutes at high speed.
3. Spread 1/2 to 3/4 of the batter on the bottom of the baking pan.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the batter is just beginning to set.
5. Remove the pan from the oven. Add the red azuki beans. Since the batter isn't fully set the beans will sink in a bit - this is fine. Don't worry about trying to spread them out in an even layer over top.
6. Add the remaining batter over top of the beans.
7. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
The cake is done when a chopstick or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
*Although this recipe calls for a total of 1 1/2 cups sugar, it's really a matter of personal preference how much sugar to use - anything from a total of 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups is common.