lunar new year

Nian Gao (Baked Chinese New Year’s Cake)

It’s thought that one can improve their luck in the upcoming year with every bite eaten of this cake – it’s a good thing this recipe makes 24 servings! The traditional preparation is to steam the cake but baking it in muffin cups makes it easy to prepare and serve.


  • Oven
  • Two 12-cup muffin tins
  • Large mixing bowl


  • 3 cups (750mL) sweet glutinous rice flour
  • 3 cups (750mL) milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted shaved coconut
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1 tsp (5 mL) coconut extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease two 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, milk, sugar, eggs, melted butter, ginger, coconut extract (if using), and salt; beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth and well combined. Pour into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until set around edges. Sprinkle coconut, almonds and sesame seeds over tops. Bake for about 15 minutes or until set and golden on top. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Run a thin knife around each mini cake and remove from pan. Let cool completely before serving.