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  • Nicola

Baked Nian Gao

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Chinese New Year is around the corner, and last week we looked at making Koi Agar Jelly, this week will be a baked nian gao (Baked New Years Cake). Chinese New Year cake is called “nian gao” which in literal terms means “higher year”. It is believed that if you have a piece of “nian gao” it should raise your luck in the coming new year.


This baked nian gao differs from the traditional nian gao in that it contains eggs and milk that are usually found in cake batters, giving this a cake-like consistency and texture, but still retains the bounciness of a traditional nian gao. Do use brown sugar for this recipe, as it will retain the distinct dark yellow colour traditional steamed variety nian ago.


Glutinous rice flour or mochiko is available at Asian markets in the starch section. If you are in Vancouver, you can find it at T&T Supermarket, H-Mart, or 88 Market


Chinese New Year - Baked Nian Gao - New Years Cake

Makes 1


1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream or evaporated milk or milk (but I prefer heavy cream or evaporated milk)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour

Optional toppings: shredded coconut flakes, black sesame seeds, sesame seeds etc.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Grease a 8 by 8 pan with butter, then line with parchment paper

  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and dark brown sugar together.

  4. Then add the eggs and beat smooth.

  5. Now add the vanilla extract/almond extract and mix to incorporate.

  6. Next add the whole milk/evaporated milk/heavy cream and salt and mix well. (switching to a whisk)

  7. Add the glutinous rice flour. Mix until you have a thick mixture.

  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

  9. Shake and tap the baking dish on the counter to remove any excess air bubbles.

  10. Optional - add some coconut flakes so it’s incorporated into the mixture

  11. Place in the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes

  12. Optional - Open the oven and sprinkle with optional coconut flakes/black sesame seeds/sesame seeds.

  13. Continue baking for about 25 to 30 minutes.

  14. It will be jiggly when it’s ready, but the fork will come out clean when put in the centre.

  15. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.


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