I'm trying to make my own nian gao for the first time. My first attempt using this recipe ( http://fcngoleong.blogspot.com/2009/0... ) failed miserably. I measured everything quite precisely, and the recipe says it should be done in 2 hours. I steamed it in a 蒸籠 for 9 hours already, must have added water a hundred times, and only the very edges have turned brown. I took a chunk out of the center and it's uncooked inside, tastes like uncooked dough and not even that sweet. My cake pan is filled only 2 cm high with batter. I did substitute sugar with equal weight of 片糖 though.
I see some recipes say to steam for 45 minutes and other different recipes (with different ingredient proportions) say to steam for 5 hours. Both seem to (according to the pictures) yield a brown result and both do not ask for pre-caramelising the sugar.
What accounts for such a vast difference in steaming time between these recipes? What exactly makes the 45 minute recipes get done so quickly?