How To Make Osmanthus Cake (Gui Hua Nian Gao – 桂花年糕)?

how to make osmanthus cake


Osmanthus Cake, known as “Gui Hua Nian Gao” (桂花年糕) in Chinese, is a beloved traditional delicacy enjoyed during the Spring Festival in China. This cake, made from glutinous rice, osmanthus flowers, and sugar, symbolizes good fortune and happiness for the coming year. Its sweet and floral flavor, coupled with a chewy texture, makes it a favorite treat for many. In this article, we will guide you through a simple and easy-to-follow recipe to make this delightful cake at home. Let’s dive into the ingredients, preparation steps, and some tips for perfecting your Osmanthus Rice Cake.

How to make Osmanthus Cake (Gui Hua Nian Gao)


To make Osmanthus Cake, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice
  • 4 osmanthus flowers
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Water as needed

These ingredients are readily available at most Asian grocery stores or online. Ensure you use high-quality glutinous rice and dried osmanthus flowers for the best results.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Osmanthus Cake

Step 1: Prepare the Osmanthus Flowers

Start by cleaning the dried osmanthus flowers. Carefully remove any yellow parts or debris from the flowers. This ensures that only the fresh and fragrant parts of the osmanthus are used in your cake.

Step 2: Soak the Osmanthus Flowers

Place the cleaned osmanthus flowers in a bowl and pour in enough water to half-cover the flowers. Let them soak for about an hour. Soaking helps to soften the flowers and release their natural fragrance, which will infuse into the cake.

Step 3: Steam the Osmanthus Flowers

After soaking, transfer the osmanthus flowers to a steamer. Steam them for about 15 minutes or until they become soft and tender. Steaming enhances the flavor and aroma of the osmanthus flowers, making them perfect for the rice cake.

Step 4: Mix the Ingredients

In a mixing bowl, combine the steamed osmanthus flowers with the glutinous rice. Using your hands, gently rub the flowers into the rice to evenly distribute the floral essence. Then, add the sugar to the mixture. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is fully incorporated. The sugar will melt and blend with the osmanthus and rice, creating a sweet and fragrant mixture.

Step 5: Shape and Steam the Cake

With the mixture ready, shape it into a ball using your hands. This step ensures the mixture holds together well. Place the shaped mixture onto a steamer and steam it for about 30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked through. The cake should be soft and sticky, with a glossy appearance.

how to make osmanthus cake

Tips for Making Perfect Osmanthus Cake

  1. Consistency: The consistency of the cake depends on the amount of water used. If the mixture feels too dry, add a little more water until you achieve a sticky yet manageable consistency.
  2. Sugar Level: Adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference. Some people prefer a sweeter cake, while others may like it less sweet.
  3. Shape and Size: You can shape the cake into smaller individual portions or one large cake, depending on your preference and the size of your steamer.
  4. Serving Suggestions: Osmanthus Rice Cake can be enjoyed warm right after steaming or allowed to cool down. Some people like to refrigerate it and serve it cold, which enhances the chewiness of the cake.

Enjoying Osmanthus Cake

Osmanthus Cake is now ready to be enjoyed! This sweet and fragrant cake is a delightful treat that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Freshly Made: Enjoy the cake warm right after it’s made. The warm, chewy texture combined with the sweet and floral flavor is truly comforting.
  2. Cooled: Let the cake cool down to room temperature or refrigerate it. The texture becomes firmer and chewier, making it a great snack for later.
  3. Festive Serving: During the Spring Festival, serve Osmanthus Rice Cake to guests as a symbol of good fortune and happiness. It pairs well with tea and other traditional snacks.
  4. Gifting: Osmanthus Rice Cake makes for a wonderful homemade gift during festive occasions. Wrap it in decorative packaging to share the joy and sweetness with friends and family.

Besides making Osmanthus Cake, you can also make Osmanthus Wine; interested readers can check out this article: How to Make Osmanthus Wine.

Final Thoughts

Making Osmanthus Cake at home is a delightful and rewarding experience. This traditional Chinese delicacy not only tastes wonderful but also carries cultural significance, especially during the Spring Festival. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can create a delicious and fragrant cake that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the process and savor the sweet flavors of this beautiful dessert.

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