Mochi is a cake that surprises. Curiously nondescript in appearance, it has a gooey, slightly chewy texture that is similar to the tapioca balls used in bubble tea, but with a much sweeter taste. Biting into a piece feels a lot like sinking your teeth into pure gluten, or at least the rice flour equivalent.
If someone had told me in advance that I would fall head over heels in love with this culinary oddity, I might have scoffed. But fall in love I did, and I have eagerly sought out the unassumingly sugary flavor and gluey consistency of mochi ever since.
Although native to Japan, mochi is also popular in Hawaii, particularly in the form of “butter mochi.” A few degrees removed from the bean paste-filled versions of mochi sold overseas, butter mochi is the butter chicken of Japanese desserts, eminently Westerner-friendly in its simplicity. Easy to make—and even easier to devour—it’s a great study snack (or birthday cake for a gluten-free friend).
I was first introduced to butter mochi by Kira FitzGerald ’17, who hails from Honolulu. This past weekend, she baked two pans of butter mochi—both of which had to be carefully distributed so as not to be eaten immediately—to share with her Spring Dance group and hallmates in Clark. After coming back for seconds, then thirds, and finally shame-facedly for fourths and fifths, I realized I absolutely had to get my hands on her recipe.
I have yet to make butter mochi myself, but rest assured that a pan or two will be cooling in the Clark kitchen at some point soon. After all, if mochi can’t get me through reading week, what will?
1. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl.
2. Add the eggs, then the Mochiko/rice flour and baking powder.
3. To evaporated milk, add water to reach 2 cups of liquid.
4. Add this liquid and rest of ingredients into the mixing bowl. Stir well for a smooth batter.
5. Pour into lightly greased or sprayed 9 x 13 inch pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
7. Cool and cut with a plastic knife.
1 16 OZ. box of mochiko (or any rice flour)
1/3 cup butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk