Chinese New Year Cake

Chinese New Year cake can be eaten year round, but traditionally, they're served around Chinese New Year to celebrate the holiday. In Mandarin it's called 年糕 (Niángāo) and the literal transition of that is Year Cake. Because the second word 糕 also sounds like the word "higher" in Chinese, it was thought to be a lucky food as eating cake would help you achieve a higher status or prosperity.

Prep time: 5 hours 45 minutes (includes cooling & refrigeration time)

Cook time: 1 hour


  • 1 lb. bag of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 1/4 cups filtered water


  1. Boil the water and brown sugar until fully mixed.  Let cool to about room temperature.  Do not use until it's cooled or else you'll end up cooking the rice flour mixture (instead of steaming it).
  2. Steam the batter for 50 minutes.
  3. Let the cakes cool on your countertop for about 2 hours, then remove from the moulds & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  It's best if you plan to store it overnight in the fridge, that way you're not impatiently waiting around for it to cool.
  4. Slice the cakes, coat with egg and lightly pan fry on medium-low heat for about 3 min. on each side or until it's soft and gooey.
How to Make Chinese New Year Cake | 年糕 (Niángāo)