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hail to the chocolate

Recipe: chocolate mochi cake

Easter is coming. (If I were a Stark, I’d say, “Winter is coming.”) Working with artisan Robin Chocolates these past few weeks, I feel as if it has been Easter for a while. I’ve had hand-crafted marshmallow-almond butter chocolate bunnies, bunny sugar cookies, chocolate ducks, marshmallow peanut butter bears, peanut butter crisp chocolate eggs, caramel turtles, and assorted (amazing) truffles marching past my camera and into my (or rather, Jeremy’s) belly.

the cutest dark chocolate ducky

bunny filled with marshmallow fluff and almond butter (it was delicious)

If you live in the Boulder-Denver area, you are so totally in luck. You can stop by Robin’s storefront in Longmont (Monday-Saturday 12:00 pm – 6:30 pm) for a free sample while you pick out your gorgeous Easter goodies for the sweet-toothed loved ones in your life (or yourself, ahem…). Heck, go there for their incredible pastries in addition to the confections. Or try your luck with any of these locations that carry Robin Chocolates. If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in beautiful Colorado, you can always rush order for Easter. Don’t forget Mother’s Day is just around the corner!

Robin Chocolates
600 Airport Road
Building B, Suite D
Longmont, CO 80503
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday

robin makes award-winning truffles

Normal began to lose all meaning for me until this week when a storm front drifted in and dumped several inches of snow in my yard, on my house, on the trees, in the mountains – everywhere. I know a lot of people in Seattle, Washington and Ithaca, New York who become noticeably depressed or cranky when they haven’t seen the sun in a couple of weeks. I get that, I think. I’m the opposite. I need my snow and in summer, I’ll settle for rain (rain is good). As soon as Jeremy got home on Tuesday, I shoved his ski pants at him and said, “We’re taking Kaweah for a ski.” It had snowed all day and five minutes before he walked through the front door, the sun came shining through.

the storm clears out

snow, at last!!

kaweah didn’t want to stop for pictures

but she did stop for treats

Kaweah ran her little brains out, she was so happy. We were elated to be out there alone, in the still and quiet of the woods, blanketed in white. Cold air feels good when your face is flushed bright red from exercise. I don’t know if we’ll get any more snowfall. I hope we do for recreation, yes, but especially to mitigate wildfires this summer and fall. Once home, we both dug into some chocolate mochi cake I had made, to tide us over while we cooked dinner. I know I’ve said I’m not a fan of chocolate, but I do love 1) a little bit of good quality dark chocolate and now 2) chocolate mochi.

evaporated milk, glutinous rice flour, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, chocolate, butter, eggs

mix the dry ingredients together

My friend Fran, a native of Hilo, Hawai’i, sent me a link to a recipe for chocolate mochi cake last year, but I lost it. I began to google about for it recently and came upon a recipe from the Polynesian Cultural Center website. Having made complicated pastries and confections in the past, a recipe that calls for mixing everything in one bowl and dumping it into a pan to bake sounds like heaven to me. This is heaven. Now, the original recipe calls for margarine and well… you know we’re using butter instead of margarine. It’s worth stating (again): glutinous rice flour does not contain gluten. This is totally gluten-free friendly.

melted butter and chocolate

stir in the evaporated milk

I’m always nervous trying out a new cake recipe that calls for leavening because most of the time I have to reduce the leavening for my altitude. But the rule is to try the recipe as-is first, and THEN make adjustments accordingly. This resulted in the cake rising beautifully at 20 minutes, and then spilling its guts onto the oven floor and burning at 25 minutes. So, I guess that didn’t work. My next attempt only used 1/3 of the baking soda and that worked nicely – that is, it didn’t make my house smell like a campfire and I didn’t have to scrape and scrub carbon from my oven.

add beaten eggs

stir in the dry ingredients

The reason for the baking soda is to create little gas bubbles in the batter while the cake bakes. It gives the cake a “cakey” texture that is light and fluffy. It’s nice. If you don’t add the baking soda, you will get a dense, chewy chocolate mochi that is also delightful. It’s up to you how you want to do it. I like both, but I’m partial to mochi (like strawberry daifuku mochi when strawberries are in season).

mix until the batter is smooth

baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan

A few notes: I found it much easier to mix using my KitchenAid stand mixer on my subsequent attempts. Mixing in the bowls makes for better photographs, but mixing in the stand mixer makes for better sanity. The cake should be done when it no longer jiggles (look in the center). Let it cool before digging in because the heat retention of mochi is pretty impressive and painful. Finally, don’t refrigerate it because it becomes hard and the texture goes a little pasty.

The chocolate mochi cake is delightful. It really has a nice spongy cake texture if you use baking soda in the batter and I think the rice flour adds a nice flavor to the chocolate. I actually prefer the straight up mochi version without the baking soda because it reminds me of the sweet red bean rice cakes I ate on special occasions as a kid. Both are fantastic and easy.

the version without baking soda (chewy and awesome)

the version with baking soda is like traditional cake

fluffy and spongy with a nice chewy crust

Chocolate Mochi Cake
[print recipe]
from The Polynesian Cultural Center

2 cups (9.25 oz. or 260 g) glutinous rice flour like Mochiko brand
2 cups (16 oz. or 450 g) white sugar
1 tbsp baking soda (1 tsp at 8500 ft. elevation)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) butter, melted
1 cup (6.5 oz. or 200 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 oz. evaporated milk
2 tsps vanilla extract (4 tsps at 8500 ft. elevation)
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Sift or mix (I never sift anything) the glutinous rice flour, white sugar, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside. Heat the butter and chocolate chips together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, stir the evaporated milk, vanilla, and eggs into the chocolate on low speed until mixed. Stir in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and lumps are worked out. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the batter no longer jiggles. Remove from oven and let cool. Store at room temperature (don’t refrigerate). Makes one 9×13-inch cake.

34 nibbles at “hail to the chocolate”

  1. electricdaisy says:

    It cracks me up that glutinous flour is gluten-free. Also, it amazes me how much you get done in one day. You rock!

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This cake is so unique! I love that you made it with and without baking soda. Yum!

  3. Kristin says:

    They do look good. Which version to try first…. Love Kaweah’s stopping for treats photo.

  4. Erin says:

    Beautiful! Oh, and I was one of those people who got cranky when I didn’t see the sun for three weeks in Ithaca, NY. Which is why I came back home to sunny Georgia after graduation. But for some reason, I feel inexplicably drawn to Seattle. In any case, lovely cake, and I will definitely have to make it for one of our GF friends!

  5. sushi cocoa beach fl says:

    Wow the painting on the truffles is fantastic! Also your cake looks so very good!!!!! I am going to make that this weekend! :) Thanks for posting, I enjoy your blog! :)

  6. Camille says:

    This looks delicious, I might just have to step outside my comfort zone and buy some glutinous rice flower to try this!

    Also, it looks like Kaweah had a blast in the snow! I always love pictures of dogs when they’re running, it seems like they’re in a perpetual state of absolute bliss.

  7. Boomdog02 says:

    This looks great. I was a bit disturbed when you wrote”we” dug into the cake….for gods sake I hope you didn’t mean the dog…chocolate is toxic to them!

  8. Julia says:

    I love it when you remind me of food that I grew up eating in Hawaii.

  9. lea says:

    Thank you for sharing your ono(delicious) chocolate mochi recipe. My kids will surely love it.
    happy bogging

  10. Connie says:

    Thank you for this recipe. My teenage daughter is excited to try it out for Easter.

  11. Charlie says:

    That ducky is too cute to be tin-foiled wrapped. :~((

    And this cake looks too too good not to make.

    I’m going to make it both ways!

    I just have to remember to take my migraine medication before I eat it :~D

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Nan says:

    Yum on the cake! And the chocolates from Robin Chocolates are almost too beautiful to eat! Can’t get the chocolates in time but I can definitely make the cake. Just need a trip to jungle Jim’s for the glutenous rice flour and I’m all set. Glad you had some snow. Let’s hope for more before spring really sets in. It’s all bloomy and springlike here. It reminds me of Easter’s when I was a child — without the chocolate overdose :)

  13. Pristine says:

    Hello Jen, pretty nervous now cause it’s my first time leaving a comment here after reading your blog for nearly a year now. I’m an ethnic Chinese Singaporean and I want to thank you for sharing recipes that’s really reflects the authentic Asian cuisine! You rock! hehe:D I am very tempted to make this mochi cake without the baking soda (hi-5 on having the same preference) but there is just one think that’s on my mind – how should I cut this? With a oiled knife or thread for a cleaner cut? Hope to hear from you soon and please send my greetings to Jeremy and Kaweah too :)

  14. jenyu says:

    Pristine – you can cut with any old knife, it works just fine!

  15. Margie says:

    “Hail to the chocolate”….why, hellya, hail it down on me!

    This post is killing me. No chocolate, no sugar for three months now. Easter, with all it’s chocolate divine-ness has just about done me in….but thank goodness, Miss K., has saved the day. One look at that beautiful face and I’ve been sugar-coated with her sweetness. Hugs and love to my favorite cyber doggie.


  16. jenyu says:

    electricdaisy – well, it’s glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour), but GF people really freak out about it.

    Katrina – thanks!

    Kristin – I think I prefer the mochi version, but the cake version is nice too.

    Erin – oh, I hope they enjoy it.

    sushi cocoa beach fl – thank you!

    Camille – Lots of natural foods stores are starting to carry it, but you should definitely be able to find some in an Asian grocery store. And yes, dogs are always so happy when they are outside and running their brains out.

    Boomdog02 – my dog is over thirteen years old. If I fed her chocolate every time I served it, she’d be long dead by now.

    Julia – Hawai’i has great eats.

    lea – thank you!

    Connie – wonderful!

    Charlie – that ducky gets shipped in cellophane, I believe. But it’s just too pretty to eat in my opinion :) Hope you don’t suffer the migraines xo

    Nan – Robin makes exquisite chocolates :) They are almost too beautiful to eat, but they’re so incredibly good that it would be a shame not to eat them!

    Margie – all things in moderation, I say :)

  17. Crystal says:

    Hi Jen! I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and I LOVE it! You’re one of the best food (and other stuff too) photographers I’ve come across! I just made the non-baking soda version of these because I saw that I had a box of Mochiko laying around my house and they’re thick, chewy, and yummy! Love the sweet crunchy crust! Yeah, I tried to save them all for the staff members at the hospital I’m interning at but I couldn’t resist sneaking one the size of my palm [guilty look]…now jogging tonight isn’t an option. Oh well! Keep it up with the great recipes! ;)

  18. Linda says:

    Thanks for this delicious recipe! I halved the recipe when I made this and the batter turned out extremely thin and watery. I added a bit more rice flour and baked it anyways, and it turned out just fine. I’m wondering if the batter is supposed to be so thin?

  19. jenyu says:

    Linda – it’s pretty thin. I wouldn’t call it watery, but it is nowhere as thick as a typical cake batter. Glad it worked for you! Rice flour is kinda cool :)

  20. Rachel H says:

    Ohhhh – another fave! Gotta try the mochi, chewy gooey version ASAP.

    Jen – I hope that you are doing well, and ask you to research Vitamin D (at higher than usual amounts!) and supplemental iodine (

    I love the pix, am getting misty looking at your CO mtn/snow shots. Miss *home* sometimes, ya know? :o)

    Be well, eat well, love well and be loved.

  21. Sunny says:

    For Father’s day, I veganized this, cut it into little squares, and put it in cookie bowls, topped off with cherry-chocolate soy ice cream.
    HEAVENLY. Thank you so much for the recipe, it is just fabulous. The chocolatey flavor and mochi texture are incredible!
    And Kaweah is one of the most adorable dogs I’ve ever seen.

  22. sharilyn says:

    I made this with baking soda, and it was so bitter… almost inedible. I wonder what I did wrong? I know this is an old favorite recipe, so I must’ve done something wrong. Next time, I’ll omit baking soda… I also prefer chewy mochi. Thank you so much!

  23. jenyu says:

    sharilyn – huh, that’s odd… you used semi-sweet chocolate, not unsweetened? Was the baking soda still good? You’re sure you used soda and not powder? I dunno… Hoping the next batch turns out properly for you.

  24. sharilyn says:

    Yes, I used semi-sweet chocolate, not unsweetened. Maybe it was the baking soda… I couldn’t read the expiration date… time for a new box!

  25. Sai says:

    So….I’ve made a slightly different chocolate mochi cake recipe before but it had coconut milk (12oz alongside the 12oz of evaporated) in it and i have a couple people who are allergic so I have been thinking of ways of altering it. 24oz of evaporated? maybe 12 oz of sweet and condensed since all who ate it felt it should be sweeter, or maybe using hot chocolate mix or melted chocolate instead of the cocoa powder the recipe called for. I decided to go searching and was very excited when i found this page.

    Upon buying more ingredients…I came across an issue. Couldn’t find sweet rice flour anywhere. The last time I bought the Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour I was in Dalla, Texas and was lucky enough to have a very large Asian market almost the size of a Wal-Mart. Up here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin…..yeah no. :(

    I was short on time so I settled for plain Rice Flour. To make up for the lack of sweet I went with 12 oz of Evaporated Milk and 12 oz of Sweet and Condensed Milk. I had about 1/2 a cup of Mochiko rice flour left which i mixed with the plain rice flour to make up the 2 cups total.

    So, after getting everything mixed up it looked perfect maybe a bit more batter than last time i made it but better than i expected. I was feeling very hopeful until about 15-20 minutes into the baking. It seems that the whole “more liquid” part was very right. My batter expanded…a lot… it spilled over the edges and down my oven before i noticed. So i turned off the oven, let it cool while sitting there so I could decide what to do next.

    I pulled the pan out, hand cleaned the oven and 2 racks and stopped to stare at the pan. The slightest touch to the crust on top made lots of wiggle throughout the pan, it was definatly not a cake. I grabbed a fork and was surprised how easily I was able to scrape off the gooey mass of partially cooked batter off the top and side of the pan. Then I grabbed a measuring cup and pulled some more batter out of the pan, reheated the oven and put it back in. I set the timer for 30minutes but when I checked on it about 20-25 minutes into baking I could tell it needed to come out….and again, it was definatly no cake…or brownie more like a pudding.

    My roommates loved it though. It was described as having the texture of a tootsie roll mixed with a bread pudding. It was VERY chocolatey and gooey and stick to your teeth enjoyable. Something that I thought was going to be a dried tasteless cake-y mess turned into a gooey bread-pudding-like hit……only know I have no idea how to recreate it without having to scrub my oven again. >>:

    I’ve decided to not take chances and order my Mochiko online in 12 1lb boxes and the next time I make it with my slight alterations, I think I will split the batter into 2 different pans. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Either way, I thank you for this recipe. ~Sai

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  29. Moriaelini says:

    The baking soda difference is interesting to me as I just made cocoa mochi brownies, used baking soda and mine came out with a mochi texture, not a cake texture. Which is how I wanted them, so it was good, but I am still wondering why.

  30. Moriaelini says:

    to commenter Sai: were you looking for a substitute for the evaporated milk or the coconut milk? I just made cocoa mochi brownies and the recipe called for coconut milk with evaporated milk too. I did not have the evaporated milk and subbed almond milk instead. I wonder if it would work subbing almond milk for the coconut milk too (while still using the evaporated milk).

  31. Eileen says:

    This isn’t very chocolatey and I’d say just the right sweetness… most importantly, it has that great rice/mochi texture. Reminds me of childhood celebrations, thanks for a great recipe!

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  33. Rowena says:

    If i wanted to make this in cupcake form, how long would i bake it for?

  34. jenyu says:

    Rowena – Hmmm, I haven’t tried these in cupcake form, so I don’t know for sure. My best guess is to reduce the baking time to maybe 20 minutes and start checking and testing every few minutes until they are done?

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