We are a people in the pursuit of making things with our hands & analog tools. Many of us enjoy it as a respite from our virtual worlds and digital displays. We shall share updates on our projects, craft resources, inspiration, & other news.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Making friends with magical Mochi Cake!

Last year, I had the pleasure of discovering a simple dessert called "mochi cake," at the end of a meal at the New York restaurant, Fatty Crab. I mentioned this to a friend, and she said she could make it! So at my next house party, she brought her version and everyone loved it.

If you've had regular Japanese mochi, it's got that same squishy, stretchy, chewiness in the middle, but "mochi cake" has a crumbly, cookie-like outer texture that adds a nice contrast. The sweet taste is subtle, but the consistency is very dense, so it's served in little squares, like brownies, rather than traditional cake slices. Plus this dessert doesn't require any pounding in preparation!

All it requires are the right ingredients, mixing, and a longer cooling time. I don't even really bake much, maybe only once or twice a year. But now that I've discovered this recipe, I may bake more often, because people seem to love it. The versions I've made aren't so pretty but nobody seems to care, and it doesn't require frosting.

Last month, when I was in Toronto, I decided to try out the recipe at the Imaginism Workshop but  used an alternate brand of sweet rice flour that didn't come in the right portion as the "Mochiko" brand in the recipe. So I guessed on the conversion based on weight. It came out okay but it appeared to sink a little bit. Nobody seemed to mind, because we finished the cake. It does stick to the pan quite a lot, so the clean-up is a bit of a drag. I might grease the pan next time, even though the recipe says not to do so.

Anyway, in Toronto, I experimented with adding chopped fruit. The first time, I threw in some chopped pineapple & chopped strawberries, in the version pictured here:

mochi cake w/ strawberries & pineapple

You can see a big bubble emerged in the middle and it looked like it was going to overflow! But it evened out at the end and didn't spill over, thank goodness! The fruit was good but it was very subtle.

So a couple weeks later, I tried it again, but with blueberries. I read on another blog that the blueberry taste didn't come out so well for them, so I decided to crush the blueberries before mixing them in, and I used a whole box of them. And on a whim, I threw in chocolate chips that we found in the kitchen. It was SO GOOD! I will have to reprise it at some point.

Anyway, if you're afraid of baking, and you can find Mochiko sweet rice flour, I highly recommend trying this recipe. If you don't like coconut, honestly you don't taste much of the coconut, but you can search "mochi cake" to find an alternate recipe that uses evaporated milk instead. It's nice to bring to parties because you don't put frosting on it, and it can be piled in little blocks. Just make sure you have enough time for the cake to cool before you travel with it!

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