Since I started working at BA, I’ve worried that my colleagues suspect I’m operating for the mochi lobby (“Big Mochi”), pushing the “Mochi Agenda” at every opportunity with recipes, story ideas, and general unbridled enthusiasm. And while I am not an undercover mochi agent at the moment, if the opportunity were to arise, I can’t say I’d turn it down. (Mochiko, sponsor me!)
The truth is, I have an organic, unsponsored love for mochi—the family of Japanese confections made primarily of ground or mashed glutinous rice—and its springy, stretchy, chewy, gummy, soft, squishy relatives around the globe, from black sesame-filled Chinese tangyuan to Indonesian kue moci or Filipino bibingka.
While I seek out mochi and its varietals whenever I’m traveling, the one I’m most likely to make at home is Hawaiian butter mochi. It’s a super simple one-bowl cake made with eggs, coconut milk, evaporated milk, butter, and, of course, the glutinous rice flour that gives it its characteristic bounce (that’s where the Mochiko comes in). The ingredient list is short and the results are great: Why wouldn’t I suggest that we develop a recipe when given the chance?
This cake is the result of that (probably annoying) persistence. It’s like Hawaiian butter mochi dressed up for an evening out. In place of subtle coconutty richness, you’ve got big, bold black sesame. The earthy, nutty seeds are both in the sparkly caramel sauce that shellacks the surface and in the cake beneath. Gray, buoyant, and chewy (I’ll go ahead and call it “supple,” if my editor allows me to leave that description here) [Editor’s note: I will!], the cake is good at room temperature, it’s good straight from the fridge, and it’s good for surprising your friends who might expect a flourless chocolate cake at your New Year’s party but are instead getting something so much more fun and lively and resilient.
One note of caution, from experience: Mochi cake tends to sort of expand in your stomach so even though it is tempting to eat a huge piece, proceed with caution. Reader, would someone working for Big Mochi be so honest? You be the judge.
Get the recipe:Sarah Jampel
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit