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Baked Nian Gao (烤年糕) With Red Bean Filling

Baked nian gao is a surprisingly easy Chinese glutinous rice cake dessert that is chewy, lightly sweetened, and has a lightly crusty coconut top! The soft red bean paste filling adds an extra delicious layer. 

Baked Coconut Nian Gao (烤年糕) With Red Bean Filling

Baked nian gao (烤年糕) is a classic Chinese new year rice cake dessert. It is extremely quick and easy and quickly makes a large batch, so it is a convenient recipe for sharing with others during the lunar new year!. The most important components in this coconut nian gao are glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and coconut flakes. The result is a chewy, lightly sweetened coconut glutinous rice cake with a golden coconut top. 

I like taking the extra step to turn this recipe into a coconut mochi cake with red bean filling in the middle because it goes well with mochi desserts. I also sprinkle sliced almonds on top for additional nuttiness and crunchiness. 

This recipe is a modernized version of traditional Chinese steamed rice cake. The steamed version sometimes also has coconut milk but relies more on the flavor of brown sugar. This recipe also slightly resembles Hawaiian butter mochi, but I believe that baked butter mochi cake has a higher proportion of butter and sugar. 

Notes

  1. You do not need to worry about overmixing the batter because this is a gluten-free recipe. So, you can vigorously whisk the batter to make sure all of the clumps are gone for a smooth rice cake.
  2. If you separate the batter into two pans, then the batter will likely take longer to bake due to the increased thickness.
  3. If you are using homemade red bean paste, you add more for the filling because homemade versions usually are not as overwhelming sweet. 
  4. For cleaner cuts with a red bean filling, make sure the rice cake is cool before slicing. Also, if you want the dessert to be extra stretchy/chewy when served, you can quickly heat the rice cake in the oven or microwave.

Like chewy mochi-like desserts? Check out these recipes as well!

Baked Coconut Nian Gao (烤年糕) With Red Bean Filling Square
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5 from 1 vote

Baked Coconut Nian Gao (年糕) With Red Bean Filling

Baked nian gao is a surprisingly easy Chinese glutinous rice cake dessert that is chewy, lightly sweetened, and has a lightly crusty coconut top! The soft red bean paste filling adds an extra delicious layer.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: baked nian gao, baked rice cake, chinese new year rice cake, coconut mochi cake with red bean filling, coconut nian gao
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 208kcal

Ingredients

Batter

  • 1 bag glutinous rice flour 1 lb
  • 3/4 cup sugar 150 g, decrease to 1/2 cup if using store-bought red bean paste
  • 2 cups milk 480 mL
  • 1/2 can coconut milk 200 mL
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter melted (28 g)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add-ons

  • 3/4 unsweetened coconut flakes 90g
  • 1/2 can red bean paste optional (can use more if using homemade red bean paste)
  • almond slices optional

Instructions

Plain Version

  • Add all of the batter ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk well until no clumps remain. Mix in the coconut flakes. Note 1
  • Pour the batter into a greased 9" by 13" baking pan or two smaller baking pans. Note 2
  • Optionally sprinkle almond slices on top.
  • Bake at 350 F for 45 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Red Bean Filling Version

  • Add all of the batter ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk well until no clumps remain. I find it easier to whisk everything minus the coconut flakes together until smooth and then add the coconut flakes at the end. Note 1
  • Pour half of the batter into a greased 9" by 13" baking pan or two smaller baking pans. Note 2
  • Bake at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes, just until set.
  • Spread on the red bean paste into an even layer across the rice cake. Note 3
  • Mix the coconut flakes into the remaining rice cake batter before pouring on top of the red bean layer.
  • Optionally sprinkle almond slices on top.
  • Bake at 350 F for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Notes

  1. You don’t need to worry about overmixing the batter because this is a gluten free recipe. So, you can vigorously whisk the batter to make sure all of the clumps are gone for a smooth rice cake.
  2. If you separate the batter into two pans, then the batter will likely take longer to bake due to the increased thickness.
  3. If you are using homemade red bean paste, you add more for the filling because homemade versions usually aren’t as overwhelming sweet. 
Calories were calculated with red bean paste filling. (~180 without red bean paste)

How to Make Baked Coconut Nian Gao

Plain Version (No Red Bean Filling)

First, add all of the batter ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk well until no clumps remain. Mix in the coconut flakes. (I add the coconut flakes later because I find it easier to whisk everything minus the coconut flakes together until smooth first.)

Mixed Nian Gao Batter
Second Layer of Batter Added

Pour the batter into a greased 9″ by 13″ baking pan or two smaller baking pans. Optionally sprinkle almond slices on top. Bake at 350 F for 45 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Red Bean Filling Version

Add all of the batter ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk well until no clumps remain. (Here, I reserve the coconut flakes to add to the second/top layer of rice cake batter. This way, the coconut flakes can float to the top of the rice cake.)

Pour half of the batter into a greased 9″ by 13″ baking pan or two smaller baking pans. Bake at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes, just until set.

Batter in Pan
Red Bean Filling of Baked Nian Gao Added

Spread on the red bean paste into an even layer across the rice cake. Mix the coconut flakes into the remaining rice cake batter before pouring over the red bean layer. Optionally sprinkle almond slices on top.

Second Layer of Batter Added

Bake at 350 F for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before slicing and serving. 

Baked Coconut Nian Gao (烤年糕) With Red Bean Filling Flat

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