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Celebrating Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dragon

Chinese or Lunar New Year 2024 begins on February 10 and welcomes in the Year of the Dragon. What does the Year of the Dragon mean for us this year? According to Chinese astrologist and Feng Shui consultant Janine Lowe, this will be a year of change. 

City Harvest food sourcing manager, Jamie, has shared her precious Niangao recipe with us. Her variation is baked, as opposed to the traditional steamed method, giving her own modern twist to this Chinese New Year Recipe.

Nian gao, sometimes translated as year cake, New Year cake or Chinese New Year’s cake, is a popular Chinese food prepared from glutinous rice flour. It is also simply known as “rice cake”. While it can be eaten at any time of the year, it is most traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year. Nian gao symbolises progress, advancement and growth

Niangao Cake Recipe

Ingredients (makes 10-12 servings)
  • 450g glutinous rice flour 
  • 300ml of milk 
  • 1 x 400g tin of coconut milk 
  • 200g of sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 200gneutral oil 
  • Optional: red bean paste or black sesame seeds 
      chinese new year cake recipe
        1. Preheat your oven to 160C or 140C fan. 
        1. To a large mixing bowl, add milk, coconut milk, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter and combine until smooth. You might need a whisk to work out any lumps from the coconut milk. 
        1. Add glutinous rice flour and mix well until it forms a smooth batter. 
        1. Pour into a 20-23cm cake pan lined with parchment paper.
        2. Add an optional layer or blobs of red bean paste, sprinkle with black sesame seeds on top, or leave plain. 
        1. Bake for 60 mins. Use a toothpick to test if the cake is cooked. A clean toothpick will tell you it is ready to take out. 
        1. Let the cake cool before slicing and serving. 


        Enjoy this recipe?

        Our recipe page hosts a variety of recipes from chefs, food partners, supporters and our charity community. If you enjoyed making this recipe, check out some more.