I can’t believe we’re already in the midst of February! With Valentine’s Day arriving in a few short days, I’m sure you might be thinking of something a little decadent to give to your sweetie this year. Why not make a heart-shaped Neapolitan Mochi Cake for both you and your love to snack on instead of the same old box of chocolates?
Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate are one of the most yummy flavor combinations around. So if your Valentine loves Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, then they’ll also love this Japanese-style sweet rice cake. It’s as if the classic frozen treat from Naples, Italy has traveled East!
Back in November, I made Pumpkin Butter Mochi, a type of Japanese wagashi that is generally eaten as a tea snack. Those individually-sized mochi were made with a base of light coconut milk, the type found in the refrigerator section of your market with a consistency much like regular milk. This recipe uses real coconut milk, the thicker kind you find in a can. I figured that since this mochi isn’t stuffed with any filling, full-on extra richness and flavor was the way to go.
For the chocolate layer of this cake, use the best baking cocoa you can find. The darker and better quality your cocoa powder is, the more brownie-like the chocolate layer of this mochi cake will be. And for the pink layer, I’ve added a bit of strawberry syrup, the kind they use in Italian sodas. It’s the best way to get some bright strawberry flavor and pinky color into the top layer of the cake.
Enjoy some freshly baked mochi cake with your sweetheart this V-day! Diced into little bits scattered over ice cream, or cut into thick slices for snacking, this popular Asian treat is made even more delicious and charming with classic Neapolitan flavors mixed in.
Neapolitan Mochi Cake
Makes 1- 6” mochi cake.
8 oz. mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1 cup coconut milk (the kind from a can)
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1 Tbsp strawberry syrup (I used Torani brand)
chocolate sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
large mixing bowl
3 small bowls
6” heart-shaped cake pan (I used Wilton)
piece of foil to cover cake pan
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using wire whisk, mix sweet rice flour, coconut milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder together in a large bowl and mix evenly.
2.) Using the scale, weigh the mixed mochi batter (minus the mixing bowl). Divide the number by 3, then place each amount of that measure into 3 separate smaller bowls. One bowl will be for the chocolate batter, one bowl will be for the strawberry batter, and one bowl will be for the plain white batter.
3.) Into a 1/3 portion of the full amount of batter, add the sifted cocoa powder and mix in well. Spray cake pan with an even spray of non-stick spray. Pour the cocoa batter mixture into the pan and shake gently to even out. Cover loosely with foil and bake in oven for about 10 minutes until lightly set. When it is lightly set, you should be able to touch the center without any residual batter getting on your finger (I’m going to refer to this as the “finger touch test.” The edges of the cake will also have slightly pulled away from the pan.
4.) When the cocoa layer is set, pour the plain vanilla portion atop the set cocoa layer, and lightly shake to even out the layer. Cover with foil loosely, and bake for about 20 minutes until lightly set.
5.) When white vanilla layer has set (use finger touch test) make the strawberry batter. Mix 1 Tbsp of strawberry syrup into last portion of batter and stir in well. Pour atop middle vanilla layer, and gently shake to even out in the baking pan. Loosely cover with foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes until fully set (use finger touch test). The cake will also have slightly puffed up and pulled away from sides of pan.
6.) After removing baked mochi from oven, place on cooking rack to cool completely. When completely cooled, slide knife between edge of cake and inside of baking pan to help remove it from the pan. Flip the cake out and enjoy! To store mochi, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Mochi is best eaten fresh, within a few days of baking.