Sometimes you just have to embrace fusion cuisine.
I don’t know who thought of combining traditional Japanese mochi textures and ingredients with Western style cakes, but that person is brilliant.
Mochi is a Japanese sweet made with glutinous rice flour and various fillings. Mochi is not extremely sweet, but it is very rich and has a chewy texture that I find vastly appealing. What really hooks me is the crunchy-buttery crust and the soft chewy interior. Mochi flour makes gluten-free desserts that are immensely satisfying, easy, and don’t require a trip to the health food store… though they do require a trip to the Asian grocer, which for me is far more interesting.
There are some great mochi cake recipes out there. My first mochi cake and the one I make most often is Coconut Mochi Bundt Cake, but there are mocha, blueberry, and mochi cakes layered with custard, too. There are flat rectangle cakes, bundt cakes, and even cupcakes. Mochi cakes are forgiving. I don’t like canned evaporated milk, which is called for in many of these recipes. Whipping cream, half&half, or coconut milk works fine. I always use all coconut milk in the coconut bundt cake and add 1 cup of grated unsweetened coconut to boost the coconut flavor.
A few weeks ago a very dear friend sent me some bright purple ube powder she found in her local Asian grocer in Huntsville, AL. I have cooked with the whole raw tuber and the grated frozen variety but never the powder. The powder is very simple to reconstitute with boiling water, just like bright purple dried mashed potatoes. Just mix the packet with 2 cups of cold water and heat over medium, stirring, until it comes to a boil and thickens. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Ube mochi bundt cake
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups raw sugar, sucanat, or slightly less regular white sugar.
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c whipping cream
1 1/2 c reconstituted mashed ube, well-mixed
13.5 oz. can coconut milk*
2 tsp. baking powder
16 oz. box Mochiko flour
Heat the oven to 350 and thoroughly butter a bundt pan, then dust with a tablespoon of mochiko flour. Be aware that most non-stick sprays contain wheat flour. If you’re making this cake specifically to be gluten-free, don’t use non-stick baking spray. Otherwise, go for it.
Combine the melted butter, eggs, cream, reconstituted yam, and coconut milk in a blender. Blend on low until completely homogenized. Pour into a large bowl and whisk in sugar. Then add the whole box of mochiko and 2 tsp. baking powder and whisk until completely incorporated. Immediately scrape into the bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. The skewer test will not work on these cakes, you just have to watch the crust. The cake should rise well and be crusty and fairly dark around the edges. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, say a quick prayer, and then invert over a plate. Let cool overnight before slicing, but do not refrigerate.
Next up, pandan! I can’t wait to try another flavor!
*A note on coconut milk- many canned coconut milks use sodium metabisulfite as a preservative. I think it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste and have searched out brands with no preservatives. You can also make coconut milk easily and cheaply by combining 1 cup of grated fresh or dried unsweetened coconut with four cups of warm water in a blender and whirling on high for 2-3 minutes, and then straining.