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Baked red bean glutinous rice cake

February 7, 2016
glutinous rice muffin

Lunar new year is among us and one of my FAVORITE things to have this time of year is nian gao or new year cake.

It’s made out of glutinous rice flour so the texture of the cake is both sticky and chewy, resembling mochi which makes it super fun to eat as well.

glutinous rice muffin

It can be prepared one of two ways, either baked or steamed.

Although I guess it’s technically three ways because if you have the steamed version, you would typically cut it into slabs and pan sear it to create this unique contrast of textures since the outside would be crispy while the inside remains gooey.

bags of glutinous rice flour

I like the baked version better though because not only is it more convenient because they you don’t need to heat it up every time you want to eat it, but you get to put all sorts of fun add-ins if you make the baked version!

Most commonly red beans or azuki beans are used for this but nuts, seeds, and dried fruits can be used in it as well.

mini red bean glutinous rice cake

Usually nian gao is baked or steamed in a round container because it symbolizes unity and togetherness because a circle is round and has no edges or broken lines.

I made a coconut based glutinous rice cake (recipe here) last lunar new years and because I made it in a pie plate…it disappeared way too quickly because we kept cutting out huge slices out of it! And being the nian gao lover that I am, portion control was definitely NOT taken into account.

glutinous rice cake

So this year, I decided to bake them off in mini muffin tins instead so that they’re all individually portioned and so much more portable because then you don’t have sticky exposed edges of cake to deal with!

Genius? I would say so!

small glutinous rice cake

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Try these other recipes that are perfect for lunar new year!

Glutinous rice balls

Gluten free baked mochi rice cake

Gluten free mochi donuts

Lunar new year round up

Baked nian gao glutinous rice cake (vegan, gluten free)
It's made out of glutinous rice flour so the texture of the cake is both sticky and chewy, resembling mochi which makes it super fun to eat as well.
: Cake
: Chinese
Yield: 24 mini muffins
  • 3½ cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (optional for richness)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cup add-ins (nuts, seeds, beans, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
  1. Prepare your filling ingredients. Then, combine glutinous rice flour, egg, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Fold in your filling ingredients.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan. Bake at 375F for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown and crispy on top.

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  1. Where is the recipe for sweet rice cake? it says 5 ingredients, but I don’t see the quantity of rice and yeast to be used.

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think it would work but perhaps you could try it in a microwave but in smaller batches? Usually I make my mochi that way so it might work the same!

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