Chinese New Year cake is known in Mandarin as nian gao (“higher year”), and eating a piece of it is supposed to improve your luck in the coming year. Similar in texture to mochi, our nontraditional version is a baked coconut cake that has a moist, almost bouncy quality.
For the more traditional recipe, try our Steamed Chinese New Year Cake.
What to buy: Sweet rice flour, also known as glutinous rice flour or mochiko, is produced from sticky rice grains and is actually gluten-free. It’s available at Asian markets in the starch section. Regular rice flour, which is produced from long-grain rice, will not yield the same results.
We prefer to use organic coconut extract, such as this one from Flavorganics, rather than imitation extract, which has a chemical aftertaste.
This recipe was featured as part of our Chinese New Year Dishes recipe slideshow. Check out more Good Luck Food for Chinese New Year, and Regional Chinese Recipes to Celebrate. Plus, our picks for Essential Chinese Cooking Tools.