Butter Mochi Cake From Hawaii

Hawaiian Butter Mochi (Mochi Cake)

The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
563 Calories
22g Fat
86g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 563
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 16g 79%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 242mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 86g 31%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 54g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 221mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Butter mochi is a treat that evolved in Hawaii, and to understand it we have to go back in time. In the 1880s, U.S. businesses that owned fruit and sugar plantations in Hawaii started recruiting people from Japan (among many other countries) to work there. The working conditions were harsh, but Japanese immigrants eventually became a major ethnic group in Hawaii, and their food traditions are quite widespread there. One such food, mochi, is a traditional Japanese rice pastry made from pounded rice.

In recent years, people began adding butter to the mochi to give it a slightly crisp, cake-like form. This butter mochi became popular in Hawaii before spreading around the world, which is why people refer to it as Hawaiian butter mochi; but it's not technically Hawaiian, since it is not indigenous to the islands. Trader Joe's launched a boxed mix version, but it's actually quite easy to make mochi cake from scratch.

Mochi cake is completely gluten free since it uses sweet rice flour instead of regular wheat flour. Perfectly sweet and almost fudgy, you'll keep sneaking back to the pan for another piece. Coconut and vanilla add warm notes and a sweet aroma to each bite.

The variations are endless with this cake. You can add in matcha powder, blueberries, chocolate chips, pineapple, lemon, or mango.

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Watch Now: How to Make Mochi Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 (16-ounce) box mochiko rice flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

    Hawaiian Butter Mochi (Mochi Cake) ingredients

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. Add the sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated into the sugar. 

    Mix sugar and eggs for mochi cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the evaporated milk, coconut cream, and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Then whisk in the melted butter. 

    Whisk in butter for mochi cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Whisk in the rice flour, baking powder, and salt to the batter.

    Whisk in the rice flour, baking powder, and salt into the batter mixture

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  5. Fold in the shredded coconut. 

    batter mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  6. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Leave enough paper around the edges to help lift the cake out of the pan. Alternatively, you can butter the pan or grease it with cooking spray. 

    parchment lined baking dish

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place it in the oven.

    Pour batter into pan for mochi cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  8. Bake for about 1 hour. The baking time will vary based on your oven and climate. It should be golden brown on top, and when a toothpick is inserted in the middle it should come out mostly clean. 

    Baked mochi cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  9. Allow the cake to cool. Then remove it using the edges of the parchment paper. Top with more shredded coconut if you wish. Cut it into squares and serve.

    Hawaiian Butter Mochi (Mochi Cake)

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  10. Enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  • Matcha mochi cake: Add 2 tablespoons of matcha powder to the dry ingredients.
  • Lemon mochi cake: Add 1 box of lemon pudding mix to the dry ingredients.
  • Chocolate mochi cake: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the dry ingredients, then fold 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter. 
  • Pineapple mochi cake: Add 1 cup of crushed pineapple to the wet ingredients.

Tip

  • Using the parchment paper to line the baking dish will help you remove it from the pan easily. This way you will have perfectly clean squares and won't have to try to scoop out the corners of the cake with a cake server.

How to Store and Freeze

  • If there are any leftovers, mochi cake can be kept covered tightly at room temperature for a couple of days.
  • You can also freeze mochi cake; first, cut into individual slices for quick and easy access to a piece. Store in an airtight container or freezer bag with the slices wrapped in plastic wrap or foil. They will last for up to three months in the freezer.

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