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5 from 2 votes

Nian Gao

Nian Gao is a sticky, glutinous cake that is filled with red bean paste. To make it more cupcake-like, I frosted the cupcakes with a red bean buttercream frosting.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Stefani


  • 1 pound glutinous rice flour I found this at an international supermarket. The flour came in a 1 lb bag, which made it easy.
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup red bean paste I also found this at an international supermarket. They were out of the can, though, so I bought a bag of it from the refrigerated section. The clerk told me that it was the Japanese version of red bean paste, but that it would work just as well.


  • Combine all ingredients except red bean paste.
  • Beat with beater, mixing well.
  • Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. (As noted above, I would recommend silicone liners or paper liners sprayed with a non-stick spray.)
  • Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes or until just set.
  • Remove pan from the oven and put spoonfuls of red bean paste all over the baked batter. This doesn't need to look pretty, as you'll see when you get to my step-by-step photos below.
  • Pour the remaining batter on top of the red bean paste, filling cupcake liners to the very top.
  • Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until top bounces back when touched.


Follow the step-by-step photos and find my original Red Bean Buttercream Frosting recipe in this post.


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg