Having grown up in Hawai`i, I have grown up eating all kinds of mochi. Mochi soup, or ozoni, at every New Year’s celebration, chichidango, the slightly sweet, often pink, rectangular mochi heralding Girl’s Day, and the countless other variations that are made and shared at gatherings of family or friends. I have vivid memories of my Great-Grandfather, who came to Hawai`i from Okinawa to work on a pineapple plantation, enjoying mochi, manju and anpan, the sweet treats that reminded him of home. I would be remiss not to include a plum recipe that incorporated mochi. Inspired by a mochi cake recipe from a local cookbook, I substituted agave for sugar, added almond meal and almond extract to pair with the plums and the result is a chewy on the outside, moist, and subtly sweet cake that contrasts beautifully with the tart (by comparison) ripe plum–and gluten free to boot!
Note: I tend to cook with abandon, which does not usually translate into baking. However, this recipe is very forgiving. All you have to do is mix and bake – it is foolproof. - gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
As gingerroot says, this recipe is forgiving and foolproof. It's also deliciously chewy, plummy, and just sweet enough. It's particularly addictive still warm, if my standing over the cooling pan carving out wedge after wedge of cake is any indicator. When I make this cake again (clearly I'll have to since I ate most of the first one already), I'll use vanilla extract for about half the almond (a little almond extract goes a long way for my palate), add some salt, and maybe throw in another plum. I'll also make sure someone else is home to keep me from eating it all again. - vvvanessa —vvvanessa
makes one large 9 x 13 pan or 16 - 18 muffin cakes
ripe but firm black plums
box (16 oz.) Mochiko sweet rice flour (I used Koda Farms Blue Star Brand)
Remove skins from plums by placing fruit in a small pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove plums and plunge into bowl of cold water. Halve plums before removing skin (let us just say skinned plums are quite slippery and trying to halve them after removing skin is well...more difficult); skin should slip off easily. Remove stone, cut into wedges and chop.
Prepare baking pan(s) of choice by spraying with no-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk rice flour, almond meal and baking powder.
In another bowl, mix eggs, agave and almond extract; stir well to combine. Add milk, stirring to combine.
Make a well in dry ingredients; add liquid mixture, stirring well to combine. Pour melted butter over batter and fold in thoroughly.
Depending on how you want to add the plums, at this point you can either lightly fold plums into batter or, pour batter into prepared pans and spread plum pieces on top. I tested this recipe twice and tried both methods. I dotted my muffin cakes with plum pieces and folded the plum pieces into the 9 x13 pan. Both methods came out delicious, choose whichever you prefer.
Transfer batter to baking pan(s) of choice. If using a 9 x 13 baking pan, pour batter into pan and spread evenly, smoothing with an offset spatula. If using muffin tins, fill each one a little more than half (I used an ice cream scoop and it was the perfect amount).
Place in oven and cook: about 28 minutes for muffins, 45- 50 minutes for 9 x 13 pan. Mochi cake is ready when top is golden brown and a toothpick tested in the center comes out clean. Transfer to racks and allow to thoroughly cool. Cut with a plastic knife. Store in an airtight container; best eaten fresh or consumed within a day or two.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.