Rice Cakes for Chinese New Year

It's traditional to make sticky rice cakes for Chinese New Year.

A word of warning: this may not match with a Westerner's ideas about cake-- for one thing, it's chewy, dense and sticky.  For another, it is often made with sweet adzuki beans, otherwise known as red bean paste which may be something of an acquired taste.  I love red bean paste, but then again I've been eating it since I was a child.

If you are not sure, you can skip the beans.  Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Chinese Sticky Rice Cake
(makes one 9x13" cake or about 28 cupcakes)

1 (16 ounce) package sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour, which despite it's name does not contain gluten)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups milk (any kind, I use almond milk)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 (18.75 ounce) can sweetened red bean paste  (I use a little more than half a can)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or 2 cupcake tins.

Mix rice flour, canola oil, milk, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. For cupcakes: fill to within 1/4" of the top of each cup.

Drop small spoonfuls of the red bean paste into the flour mixture about 1 to 2 inches apart (for cupcakes, drop a dollop into each cupcake), making sure that the red bean paste is submerged under the rice flour batter. Sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. (For cupcakes, bake for 25 minutes.)  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.  Serve at room temperature.