Orange-Flavored Baked Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)

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Happy Chinese New Year!  This is a variant on the vanilla-flavored nian gao that my mom makes (recipe here), inspired by flavorings from this recipe.  It has an intense orange flavor.

 

Orange-Flavored Baked Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)
Recipe from my mom and Woks of Life

  • 1 lb sticky rice flour (I like to use a Thai brand, Erawan)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter (or margarine), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups milk
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon molasses

 

1. Preheat oven to  350°F.  Grease a 9″x 9″ baking pan thoroughly.
2. Beat the butter until creamy, then beat in all the other ingredients.  The batter will be runny, and it’s fine if there are little pieces of butter floating in it.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Don’t worry if a tester comes out with nian gao on it still; that’s expected.  It’s also difficult to over-bake – you’ll just get a crackly, crunchy layer on top that has a great texture.  When done, the cake will be sort of jiggly and (what else?) sticky.

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Burmese-Inspired Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)

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Recently I had a dessert called schweji at a Burmese restaurant.  This is a small cake made with cream of wheat or semolina flour that has raisins and a topping of poppy seeds.  Since today is Chinese New Year, I adapted a family nian gao recipe to make a gluten-free, schweji-inspired cake.

Baking note:

  • The schweji is coconut flavored, but the flavor of sticky rice is so strong that it will completely overwhelm coconut milk.  So you might as well use regular milk here.

 

Burmese-Inspired Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)
Adapted from a family recipe

Yield: 9″x9″ cake

  • 1 lb sticky rice flour (I like to use a Thai brand, Erawan)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter (or margarine), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • poppy seeds for topping

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″x 9″ baking pan.
  2. Beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the other ingredients.  The batter will be runny, and it’s fine if there are little pieces of butter floating in it.
  3. Scatter raisins evenly across bottom of baking pan.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle top with poppy seeds and bake for 50-60 min until the top is golden brown.  When done, the cake will be sort of jiggly and (what else?) sticky.