Vegan Mochi Cake

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! Although it’s got a hefty amount of saturated fat and sugar, so not the best for you, but 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!

Ingredients

This vegan mochi cake requires just 6 simple ingredients!

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.

Substitutions

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!!

Still hungry?

Check out these other vegan treats!

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!

Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 votes

Vegan Mochi Cake

Decadent slices of mochi with a caramelized exterior and chewy interior. Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and just 6 simple ingredients!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese, Vegan
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • cup sugar*
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mochiko/sweet rice flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt* optional

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Mochiko has a tendency to clump together, so if your batter has lumps of flour in it, 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. OR if your batter is fairly smooth, just transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Tap the dish on the countertop a few times to release air bubbles from the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is caramelized.
  • Let the mochi cake cool completely to room temperature before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

SUGAR: I used a mix of white and coconut sugar, but you can use all white if preferred, or replace coconut sugar with brown sugar.
SALT: If you’re used to adding salt to your baked goods/desserts, you might like the flavor more with a pinch of salt.

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but the price remains the same to you. Thank you for supporting Ellie Likes Cooking!

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So delicious! I replaced the sugar with monk fruit sweetened matcha powder. very tasty! I’m so glad that I found this recipe.

    • 4 stars
      Delicious cake that tastes even better the day after! I did cut down on the sugar and added a tiny bit of salt. Also only sifted the flour in and not the whole batter, but it turned out great. It only took about 25min to cook as well 🙂

      Thank you for this simple yet effective recipe!! I’d been missing that mochi texture haha

      • So happy you liked it Laura! I’ve found that some sweet rice flour brands need more sifting than others, but I know it’s tedious so good to know it turned out for you! Thanks for your comment and for mentioning the adjustments you made, I’ll be sure to include it in the recipe notes for others as well 🙂

        • 5 stars
          Yes, I was a little scared not sifting the batter but it turned oud completely fine! and a little bit of salt is always a good idea in my opinion 🙂 (messed up the rating in my first comment so here’s the real one!)

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!!!! I’ve recently given up eggs and was so excited to try this out! Mmmm just wonderful, low effort and very easy- even with my three year old son “helping.” Really really delicious! I might eat a pan all by myself! ^^’

    • Hi Jill! Thank you so much for your kind message! I’m so happy you enjoyed the mochi cake and that your son was even able to “help” 😉. It definitely doesn’t last long in my house haha. I have to make it in small batches otherwise my boyfriend and I would easily eat 12 servings in one day 😂

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