Recipe: Baked New Year’s Sticky Rice Cake(烤年糕)with Coconut, Red Bean Paste, and Walnuts!

Happy New Year! / 新年快乐!(Chinese) / 明けましておめでとうございます!(Japanese)

In Chinese, sticky rice cake is called nian gao(年糕, pronounced “nyehn gall”, literally “year cake”)and is traditionally eaten during the Lunar New Year. This year, I made some for the Solar New Year (January 1). There are two main ways to cook it, steaming or baking. Baking sticky rice cake is interesting, producing a slightly crisp crust and a very chewy inside.

Today, I am sharing the recipe for baked sticky rice cake! You can make it with coconut, red bean, and walnuts, or make a plain cake, or use any combination of flavors. If you do not like coconut, you can just replace the coconut milk with milk or water. Enjoy!

The red bean paste is very delicious inside the rice cake, so I recommend adding it. You can use either chunky or smooth red bean paste, depending on your preference. 🙂

Walnuts or pecans are also very tasty because they become very crisp and fragrant on top of the cake.

Remember, sticky/glutinous rice flour is gluten free! 😀


1 lb sticky rice flour AKA glutinous rice flour (use 1 bag of Erawan brand glutinous rice flour, the one with an elephant and green text)

1 tbsp baking power

1 can (400 ml) coconut milk (Chaokoh brand or Aroy-D are recommended), shake well before opening!

about 80 ml water (to bring batter to correct consistency)

(If you are not using coconut milk, use 2 US cups = 480 ml milk or water instead.)

3 eggs

1 cup sugar (Some recipes use 1.5 or even 2 cups, but 1 cup is enough to make it sweet! If you are not using the red bean paste, you could add 1 1/4 cups sugar because the red bean paste is sweet.)

1/3 cup oil (Do not use olive oil, which has too strong of a flavor. I used melted coconut oil, which is great if you want to make a coconut-flavored cake. You can use peanut, canola, corn, soybean, etc. other oils as well.)

red bean paste (optional), about 1/2 cup

walnuts (optional), about 1 cup, you can also use pecans – I used raw walnuts, because baking will roast them fragrantly 🙂


1. Add sticky rice flour, baking power, coconut milk or milk or water, eggs, sugar, and oil to a mixing bowl, and mix everything well with a whisk.

2. Adjust batter consistency with water if necessary. If you lift the whisk from the batter, the batter should flow like a folding ribbon.

Tip: Don’t worry about overmixing! Mix as much as you like. Because rice flours are gluten free, you do not have to worry about gluten developing as you have to with batters made with wheat flour. 🙂

3. After you are done mixing, remove the whisk (tap on side of bowl to remove excess stuck batter). Then, pour the batter into the baking dish, using a flexible spatula to scrape the batter from the bowl.

For the baking dish, I used a 9-inch diameter Pyrex glass pie plate. The batter was filled exactly to the very top! When baking, the cake will rise, but don’t worry, it will not overflow from the sides but rather rise like a cupcake.

Also, I forgot to grease the pie plate with oil, but the cake did not stick to the pie plate. However, you may still grease the pie plate with oil if you wish, just in case. 🙂

4. If using red bean paste and walnuts: After pouring the batter, place small balls of red bean paste evenly on top of the batter. Use a flexible spatula or chopstick to gently bury the red bean paste under the batter. For walnuts (or pecans), evenly sprinkle the walnuts on top of the cake.

5. Bake the cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour! Watch it rise!

6. Take the cake out to cool. As it cools, it will also deflate! You do not have to cool it until actually cool, but you can still remove it when it is warm. Just leave it for at least 10 minutes.

7. For removing the cake, I used a knife to gently release the sides of the cake from the pan and it surprisingly did not stick. Then, I placed a plate on top and flipped it over, so the cake was released upside down onto the plate. Then, I removed the pie pan and placed another plate on top of the cake, flipping it over again, so the cake was right-side-up.

8. Slice pieces from the cake to eat (the cake is very sticky inside, so it may be a bit diffucult to slice) and enjoy! 😀

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Slice of the Cake: 

Rest of Cake after Slicing:



2 thoughts on “Recipe: Baked New Year’s Sticky Rice Cake(烤年糕)with Coconut, Red Bean Paste, and Walnuts!

  1. Hmmmm. why have I never heard of BAKING rice cakes? I’d thought rice cakes were ALWAYS steamed. which do you prefer? Baked or Steamed?
    any difference to you in taste?

    1. It’s a very Chinese sweet. The steamed kind is only made of glutinous rice flour and sugar, so it is less complex and has a simpler flavor, which I actually prefer. However, the baked one has a crispy crust (only on the first day though) and I like the red bean paste inside 🙂
      The tastes are very different, one being made of glutinous rice flour and sugar only, the other with tons of other ingredients. The steamed one is also very light because it has no oil inside, while the baked one has a lot of oil in it. The texture on the inside is quite similar, I think the steamed one is a little more chewy. The outside texture is very different, the baked one being crispy on the first day.
      I would also not prefer to call this “rice cake”, but always “sticky rice cake” because “rice cake” usually refers to the crunchy puffed rice snacks in the US 🙂

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