Chinese New Year Cake Recipe

A rice flour fruit and nut cake, cut into strips and fried.

New Year cake is steamed and often cut into small slices, which are then fried until crispy outside. Different families have different preferences for fruit fillings, and some New Year cakes get a fancy layer of fondant over the top. This recipe errs on the side of simplicity and sweetness.

4 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp cream
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg
1 tsp water
Vegetable oil for frying


Step 1: Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well at the centre. In another bowl, dissolve brown sugar in boiling water. Pour sugar water into the well and stir to combine.

Step 2: Place dough on a work surface and lightly knead.

Step 3: Add cream as needed to make the dough more pliable.

Step 4: Add almonds and dried fruit, a little at a time, while kneading the dough.

Step 5: Work the dough to make sure the almonds and fruit are evenly distributed.

Step 6: Grease an 8″, deep, round casserole dish. Place dough in the dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Step 7: Place dish on a steamer rack, cover and steam over boiling water 1 hour.

Step 8: Unmold cake and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to fry.

Step 9: Place chilled cake on a hard surface and cut into quarters. Cut quarters horizontally into three layers, then cut each layer into thin strips.

Step 10: Whisk together egg and water. Dip strips of cake in the egg wash.

Step 11: Add 2″ vegetable oil to a wok or skillet. Turn heat to high.

Step 12: When oil is hot, fry cake a few strips at a time until nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Belinda Hulin and Kian Lam Kho’s Knack Chinese Cooking: A Step-by-Step Guide to Authentic Dishes Made Easy (2009 Knack).

Liesa Cole