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Ingredient Fri May 18 2007

Mochi Cake

mochibox.JPGAbout a year ago my kids fell in love with mochi, particularly the little balls of frozen mochi with ice cream inside that Japanese restaurants serve for dessert. They also tried the little room-temperature rice cakes filled with bean paste, but didn't crave those like they did the ice-cream filled mochi. I became kind of fascinated with mochi myself. I did Google searches to see if I could buy some to keep at home in my freezer (I can if I don’t mind driving across town, which I do; though I hear Whole Foods is starting to carry it.) Mostly, I found stories about how often people choke on it in Japan because of its gluey consistency. And I found a cool band on myspace called Pink Mochi. Around that time, a friend at work brought in a Hawaiian cake made with rice flour and coconut milk. It tasted like the rice paste on the ice-cream balls, only sweeter and moister.

mochipull.JPGI hadn’t thought about mochi much lately, but then a box of mochi flour caught my eye in the grocery store. I decided to bring it home and try making a cake like the one my friend made. A quick search for recipes at Epicurious yielded only one; and it was a coconut cake. But who wants to eat a cake made with two sticks of butter, two cups of sugar and six eggs knowing that bathing-suit season is right around the corner (besides my skinny little kids)? I broadened my search and found a recipe at Cooks.com, but it called for brown sugar, which I didn’t have. Finally, I found a recipe on a Univeristy of Hawaii web site that didn’t seem too sweet or too buttery, or too full of ingredients I didn’t have.

It was so easy: a box of mochi flour, a can of coconut milk, a truckload of sugar, a little baking powder and a little water. Mixing was easy as well. I didn’t need to pull out my electric beater. The batter was a bit like what you get when you mix cornstarch and water, the stuff they call oobleck in children’s museums and elementary schools. And the flour still tasted awfully powdery in the batter, unlike cake flour, which seems to become smooth. I added a little crème fraiche to see if that would help. It didn’t. I poured it into a baking pan, covered it with foil—as the recipe said to— then put it in the oven and hoped for the best.

The cake that came out of my oven was a little bland; it wasn't as sweet as the cake my friend had brought into work, but it definitely had the mochi taste and consistency. In fact, the recipe said to use a plastic knife to cut it, because the cake wouldn't stick to that as much as a metal knife. It’s been a big hit with my kids. It’s doing double duty as a breakfast food and a dessert. And the longer it sits on the counter, the firmer it gets. If I make it again, I’ll try the sweeter, more buttery version. After bathing-suit season ends.

 
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Mimi / May 21, 2007 1:36 PM

You can find Mochi (the ice cream variety) at Trader Joe's as well...

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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