Vegan Mochi Cake

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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!

SUBSTITUTIONS

I can only vouch for the recipe as written, but here are some suggestions if you want to make substitutions:

  • 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.
    • Sugar free ⟶ Readers have had success using monk fruit sweetener, and that would be my go-to sugar alternative as well. Make sure you use a sugar alternative you know you like the taste of.
  • 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 lite 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!!

MOCHI CAKE TIPS & FAQ’S

Make sure your batter is smooth.
Mochiko has a tendency to clump together once added to liquid, so make sure you whisk constantly until smooth, or use a sieve to smooth out the clumps. I like to pour my batter through a sieve and use a spatula to press down and smooth out the clumps.

Cool completely before slicing.
As tempting as it is, if you cut into the cake before it’s cooled, you’ll end up with a sticky, gooey mess. The mochi cake will set and firm up as it cools.

Shake the can of coconut milk and do NOT refrigerate.
You want to have one coherent mixture. You do not need to separate the fatty cream from the liquid, you will use all of it.

How do I store mochi cake?
Mochi cake will usually keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. However, if you live in a very moist environment, I recommend refrigerating or freezing after the first day. The mochi cake in my house always gets gobbled up within 2-3 days, so I’ve never tried refrigerating or freezing them. But if you decide to go this route, keep in mind the mochi cake will dry out in the fridge/freezer, so I recommend microwaving, toasting, or baking them to reheat.

How do I know when mochi cake is done cooking?
The top should start to crack and the edges should be browned and caramelized. You can also check with a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake — if it comes out mostly clean or with just a few crumbs (but not gooey batter) then it’s done. The texture is of course different from a normal cake, but the inside should be set before you remove it from the oven.

Is this mochi cake gluten-free?
Yes! Despite being called glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour/mochiko), there is no gluten in it.
Where can I buy sweet rice flour?
Mochiko can be found at Japanese markets and other Asian markets, or on Amazon*. Other brands of sweet rice flour can be found at Asian markets as well, or check your grocery store’s “Asian Foods” isle if available. Bob’s Red Mill also makes sweet rice flour, though I haven’t tried it yet.

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 whisk until smooth.
  • Mochiko has a tendency to clump together, so if your batter has lumps of flour in it, arrange a sieve over your baking dish or a bowl. Pour some batter in the sieve and use a spatula 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 the top begins to crack and the edges are slightly brown.
  • 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.

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14 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 😂

    • Hi Ruchi,
      You can try subbing another fruit purée (banana, pineapple, mango, etc) or puréed pumpkin or sweet potato — note that these may alter the flavor a bit, so choose a flavor you like!

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