Niangao 年糕

There are so many desserts out there, quite a few that I’ve tried and many many more that I haven’t, but niangao 年糕 and yuanxiao 元宵 will always be my favorites. Partly because of childhood memories associated with them and partly because of my heritage, but in truth both are so delicious and so easy to make. (More on yuanxiao in a later post.) Niangao may be referred to in English as Chinese New Year’s cake, but I can’t help but bake it all year long.

Niangao 年糕SONY DSC

Makes 1 cake


  • 1 bag glutinous rice flour (16 oz)
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • raisins, walnuts (broken up by hand)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl and allow mixture to sit for ~5 minutes. (Note: Small lumps in the batter are okay.)
  3. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 11.5 in. glass baking dish.
  4. Top with raisins and walnuts. Push the raisins and walnuts into the batter so they’re mostly submerged to prevent them from burning and so that the raisins are plump and juicy after baking. (I like to put the raisins and walnuts on at the end rather than in the batter so I can make sure they’re evenly distributed. Plus, I like to see them peeking through the top!)

    2014-07-02 23.15.53

    A chopstick works perfectly to poke the raisins and walnuts with! (I also use chopsticks to mix the batter. Super easy clean-up!)

  5.  Bake for 1 hour and let cool slightly before slicing and eating! Leftovers should be covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature. Microwave leftovers for 10-15 seconds before enjoying the second time around, and it’ll be just like it was fresh from the oven.


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