Decadent slices of mochi with a caramelized exterior and chewy interior. Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and just 6 simple ingredients!
Although we’re calling this a cake, it by no means has the texture of a traditional cake. Instead of being light and fluffy, this mochi cake is dense and chewy just like mochi, but it’s sweeter and richer than regular mochi. It’s like the perfect cross between a Japanese snack and an American dessert, so it’s no wonder it became such a popular treat in Hawaii. The traditional Hawaiian butter mochi is made with butter, eggs, milk, sugar, mochiko, and coconut milk, and sometimes even sweetened condensed or evaporated milk.
My mom made butter mochi a lot when I was growing up and it was one of my favorite desserts that she would make. Chewy, sweet, rich, and so addicting! Albeit it’s full of saturated fat and sugar, so not the best for you, but it’s nice to enjoy some for special occasions. But I wanted to make one a little healthier, that I could eat more often without feeling so heavy afterwards, and of course I wanted to make a vegan version. And here it is!
This vegan mochi cake requires just 6 simple ingredients!
- sugar: I used a mix of white and coconut sugar
- mochiko/sweet rice flour: also known as glutinous rice flour (but it’s actually gluten-free!)
- baking powder
- coconut milk: use full-fat for the richest flavor
Tips & Tricks to Make the Best Vegan Mochi Cake
While the ingredients and instructions are pretty simple for this recipe, there are a few things to keep in mind as you’re baking:
- Mochiko often gets clumpy and if you’re not careful, you can end up with clumps of raw flour in your finished cake. To avoid this, sift the mochiko when you first mix the dry ingredients and again when you pour the batter into the pan. Do this by pouring some batter in a sieve and using a spatula or spoon to press the batter down, smoothing out any clumps (refer to photos above).
- After all the batter is in the pan, tap the pan onto the counter a few times to release air bubbles from the batter.
- As tempting as it is to dig in right when you take it out of the oven, don’t! Let the mochi cool completely to room temperature before cutting, otherwise you will end up with a sticky mess.
- Shake your can of coconut milk so it is one coherent mixture; you do not need the liquid and solid parts separate.
I don’t recommend making any substitutions to this recipe, but if you absolutely have to it here are my suggestions:
- Sugar: I used a mixture of white and coconut sugar to deepen the flavor a little, but you can use all white or replace the coconut sugar with brown sugar.
- Coconut Milk: I DO NOT recommend replacing the coconut milk with any other type of milk, nor do I recommend using low-fat coconut milk. Coconut milk is very rich and creamy and is essential for producing a rich and decadent cake without any oil. If you only have low-fat coconut milk, reduce the amount by 2 tbsp and add 2 tbsp of coconut oil.
- Sweet Rice Flour: Make sure your flour is labeled as sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour, regular rice flour will not work!!
Check out these other vegan treats!
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Japanese Melon Bread
- Chocolate Marble Bread
- Chocolate Cake
If you try out this recipe, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave comment down below and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing all of your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy baking!
Vegan Mochi Cake
- ⅓ cup sugar*
- ¼ cup applesauce
- ¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 cup mochiko/sweet rice flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×6" pyrex dish and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, applesauce, coconut milk, and vanilla. Use a sieve to sift in the flour and baking powder, then mix until well combined.
- Your batter will likely have lumps of flour in it, so pour some batter in the sieve and use a spatula or spoon to press the batter down, smoothing out any clumps. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Tap the pan on the countertop a few times to release air bubbles from the batter. Bake in oven for 1 hour, then poke with a toothpick and if the toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, the cake is done. If it is still very sticky inside, continue to bake and check every 5 minutes. Make sure the edges don't burn.
- Let the mochi cake cool completely to room temperature before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
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