Nian Gao


The traditional Chinese New Year's cake Nian Gao is usually steamed, but we worked out this baked version for the American cook. It's said that each piece you eat will improve your luck in the upcoming year. Slideshow:  More Chinese Recipes 

Nian Gao
Photo: © Evi Abeler
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for coating the baking dish

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 pound sweet rice mochiko flour (about 3 cups) 

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sweetened coconut

  • 2 tablespoons toasted almond slices

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

  2. Break the eggs in a large bowl, and lightly whisk.

  3. Add the flour, milk, sugar, melted butter, almond extract and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.

  4. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan and place in the oven.

  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the toasted coconut, almond slices and sesame seeds on top.

  6. Continue to bake for about 25 minutes, until the cake is set and golden brown.

  7. Remove the cake from the pan, let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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