Hawaiian Butter Mochi (Mochi Cake)

mochi cake

 The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  • Total: 65 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Yield: 1 cake

Mochi is a traditional Japanese rice pastry made from pounded rice that's usually eaten during the Japanese New Year. Butter mochi, also known as mochi cake, has the irresistible chewiness of a piece of mochi, but in a cake-like form. It is a classic Hawaiian dessert that is very unique because of its bouncy, slightly crispy texture. 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! 



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 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 your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

    Gather ingredients for Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  2. Add the sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated into the sugar. 

    Mix ingredients for Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  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 / Leah Maroney
  4. Whisk in the rice flour, baking powder, and salt to the batter. Fold in the shredded coconut. 

    Fold in coconut for Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  5. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Leave enough paper around the edges so you can use them to lift the cake out of the pan. You can also butter the pan or grease it with non-stick cooking spray. 

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

    Pour batter into pan for Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  6. Bake for about an hour. The baking time will vary based on your oven and climate. It will be golden brown on top and when you insert the toothpick in the middle it will come out mostly clean. 

    Bake Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  7. Allow the cake to cool. Then remove it using the edges of the parchment paper. Cut it into squares and serve. Top with more shredded coconut if you wish. 

    Mochi Cake
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Recipe Variations

  • Matcha mochi cake: Add in 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 in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter. 


  • Using the parchment paper to line the baking dish will help you remove it from the pan easily. No more trying to scoop out the corners with a cake server. This way you will have perfectly clean squares. 

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