Japanese

A Cake Unlike Any Other

April  6, 2015

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: Sometimes there's destiny in cake. And sometimes that cake is green.

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Here is a thing I love that happens to me a lot: I make something to eat, sit down with it in front of my ever-growing list of favorite food websites, and immediately find myself staring at a better-plated and more-well-lit version of the exact same dish on my laptop screen. We—some food blogger in the world and I—are French toast twinsies, beet salad BFFs, and matching muffin makers. My heart dances for a tiny second when this happens, even though I know it shouldn't: It is not the result of universe magic, but rather a testament to the straight-up extreme number of food websites I troll on the daily (the sheer quantity of which makes it likely that somebody out there is hungry for the same stuff that I am). Still, that doesn't stop me from feeling a little slice of kindred spirit soul sister love for whoever it was on the other end of the internet, reaching for the same spices. 

In one such serendipitous moment, Sarah Jampel and I made mochi cakes on the exact same day. Hers was dark and chocolate-y, mine more coconut-y and, perhaps offputtingly, green. Yessss, I thought, when I saw Sarah’s line-up of ingredients topped with glutinous rice flour. Someone I trust in the food realm has also made this brand of chewy cake monster. Maybe we are soul sisters, and also maybe I’m not crazy.

As Sarah notes, this cake is very different from what you might imagine cake to be: Glutinous rice flour—the same kind that's used to make mochi (a Japanese snack you've probably had wrapped around ice cream)—gives it a gummy, stretchy texture and mild, muted flavor. I doctored it up with a hit of matcha green tea power (to mirror my favorite flavor of mochi) and coconut two ways (in milk and shredded forms) and found the result totally addictive.

Coconut & Matcha Mochi Cake

Makes about 12 large squares

1 stick butter, softened
4 eggs
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
One 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups glutinous rice flour, like Mochiko (available at Japanese markets)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 big handful of shredded coconut, for sprinkling

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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22 Comments

Nora September 23, 2015
This is actually taken from a Filipino recipe called babingka, exact ingredients except for the matcha.
 
Chloe June 27, 2015
AND this recipe is Gluten Free!
 
Joe Z. June 2, 2015
Would like to do this for my diabetic family, any ideas for s/f ingredients ??<br /><br />
 
Treva W. April 29, 2015
I am not familiar with many of those ingredients. Which ingredients make the cake green?
 
Author Comment
Kendra V. April 29, 2015
the matcha! its a super flavorful green tea powder.
 
Treva W. April 29, 2015
Thank you
 
super G. April 27, 2015
I want to make this to share with my GF, dairy-free friend. What do you think about subbing an oil for the butter? Maybe coconut oil?
 
Vern April 26, 2015
Coconut mochi and butter mochi are both longtime favorites in Hawaii. We never call it a cake. It's baked mochi! Lots of variations.
 
beejay45 April 19, 2015
Bibingka! Who knew? I always wondered what"mochi" acually was. ;) I'll have to try this, but I'm going to add a little of my pandan essence, along with the matcha. Suits the green. I learned to make the bibingka version from some Phiippino friends when I was in my teens. We always cut it into little squares, dusted with powdered sugar and set out in the small muffin papers. Thanks for the reminder.
 
carlito April 6, 2015
YUM!
 
J April 6, 2015
What is: TY TY TY! ??
 
Author Comment
Kendra V. April 6, 2015
haha ty for thank you!
 
Anna_Ch April 6, 2015
I had the idea of making a mochi cake with the flavor of cornbread, but can't find any recipes. Any suggestions for achieving a mochi-cornbread mashup? Would replacing the matcha powder with cornmeal work?
 
Sarah J. April 7, 2015
What about freeze dried corn powder???
 
Author Comment
Kendra V. April 7, 2015
ditto sarah on this one! i imagine cornmeal would mess with the consistency without doing much flavor-wise. freeze dried corn powder (toss a bag of the astronaut-food-style kernels in a food processor!) would probably be your best bet! let me know how it comes out!
 
beejay45 April 19, 2015
You could presoak some coarser cornmeal and drain it before adding. Would change the texture a bit...or you could soak the corn/cornmeal in one of the liquids you're using for the cake for a little infused corn flavor. ;)
 
Catherine L. April 6, 2015
LOVE butter mochi! I made it for the first time about a month ago, just with coconut milk, and fell in love. Pro tip: slice it into cubes and sautee those cubes in butter until crispy. yeah.
 
Sarah J. April 6, 2015
WHAT. WHAT.
 
Author Comment
Kendra V. April 7, 2015
oh. my god.
 
Nozlee S. April 6, 2015
I LOVE that Food52 is so on top of the Weird Cake beat!!!!!
 
Sarah J. April 6, 2015
Please share more!
 
Amanda A. April 6, 2015
You and Sarah both made cakes similar to what is known as butter mochi in Hawaii, and you went and put my two FAVORITE flavors (matcha and coconut) into one of my favorite desserts (the aforementioned butter mochi) so TY TY TY!