February 13, 2011

{Easy Recipes} Chinese New Year Baked Red Bean Sticky Cake (Nian Gao)

Chinese New Year was on Feb 3rd and we were lucky that the celebration continued for us.  Yesterday, lovely food bloggers Jackie and Ken hosted a Chinese New Year pot luck (if you follow us on Twitter, you saw the #CNYPL tweets detailing the event).  From pot stickers to red cooked pork to banh mi (with homemade pate!), there was an abundance of Asian dishes that left no one hungry. 
Being nostalgic for food my mom and grandmother make, I decided to make Baked Nian Gao, or Chinese Sticky Cake.  The cake has a texture similar to mochi.  My grandmother would make a traditional steamed version for family gatherings (Kian from Red Cook has a great recipe and includes a good explanation as to why it's part of New Year celebrations), while my mom makes one that is baked.  My recipe is based on my mom's baked version (it's easier than the steamed version), but I add red bean paste and incorporate Chinese brown sugar (which my grandmother uses in her version).

(To print or download the complete recipe, click here)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Heat the water on the stovetop (medium-high heat) in a small pot. Add the Chinese brown sugar bars to it.  Reduce the heat, then stir and melt the brown sugar.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and the butter. Add the melted sugar (it will help melt the butter). Mix together, ensuring that there are no lumps in the mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.
5. Once the flour mixture is cooled (so that the eggs aren’t “cooked” by the hot sugar), add the milk and eggs mixture.
6. Lightly spray a 9-inch square pan with the canola oil spray. Add half of the batter into the pan.
7. Spoon the red bean paste onto the batter.
8. Add the rest of the batter to cover the red bean.
9. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is done. (Test the center with a chopstick or fork. If it comes out clean, it’s done)
10. Cool, serve, and enjoy!
(To print or download the complete recipe, click here)
I love the browned edges so much that I may have to get this brownie pan just to make my next batch of Sticky Cake!
For the pot luck lunch, I cut the cake into smaller squares and placed them in individual baking cups.
And of course, I couldn't end this post without photos from the pot luck lunch itself!
For even more photos, click here to check out this slideshow by @urbanblitz


  1. Dear Andrea and Jeff,

    Thanks so much for coming and for bringing this delicious cake and for the Infinium too! It was a wonderful day made all the more better by your presence! And thanks for including the event on your blog!!!
    Happy Vday!


  2. OH my.... What a fabulous spread. Excellent job all the way around!

  3. christinefreshlocalandbestFebruary 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    I agree, these cakes were wonderful, and the best part were the crsipy edges. It was great to see you guys. I'll have to poke Jeff's brain on beer recommendations soon. Thanks for including the link on the pate recipe.


We love reading your comments! Don't worry if you don't have a Google account or website - just select Name/URL.