This modern day Mochi cake is a chewy, coconut flavored Japanese pastry that was introduced to me by my niece, Lindsey, a budding chef and possibly my numero uno commentor on this site. She is enamored with Japanese culture; She brings a Bento box lunch to school, reads stacks of Manga, bakes Japanese pastries and the list goes on. She is not Japanese. Her mother is actually from Vietnam and her father is from the United States.
Her sister needed to bring one of these cakes to Girl Scout World Thinking Day and together, along with my daughter, they were going to make it at my house this weekend so that I could post it. The three girls worked together like an Olympic bobsledding team who seem to know each others’ every move, and in no time whipped up a double batch of this recipe so that we could have one whole cake to keep. Lucky us! It’s delicious and absolutely addictive.
World Thinking Day is February 22nd and was originated by Girl Scouts of America to honor girls around the world, educate them about various cultures and countries and to teach them the importance of accepting others while still being proud of themselves. Girls get together to “travel” to each others’ countries, taste food, mingle and learn. They come away with knowledge, and even more importantly, a respect for diversity.
After the baking frenzy was complete and the cake was on to its destination, Sunday morning rolled around, and I was found driving my son and three other teenage guys to a local theme park. One guy whose family is from Korea, another whose family is from Lebanon, another whose family is from Vietnam and the US and the fourth, my son, whose family is from just about everywhere.
They all don’t seem to give a flying leap that each hails from somewhere they are not from, believes in a religion very different from the guy next to him, and speaks a different second language at home. They just know that they all like roller coasters and that flirting with girls and riding million mile-an-hour roller coasters is a perfect way to spend the day.
This is why I live here in Suburban Los Angeles. Even though there are racial challenges in our schools, my carload is exactly the reason I love where I am. Yet, I can’t deny that there is racial tension around every corner, between some neighbors and on the streets. Perhaps it is indicative of the front pages of most newspapers. It seems we have come so far just to dig our heels in and stand in the same place.
As racial tensions mount around the world, this week girls all over the globe are celebrating diversity and learning more about each other. They are also learning that although different, they have some central similarities like enjoying good food, friends and family. Maybe our world needs a World Thinking Day perhaps? A casual day to share all the good things that makes us different and similar. A simple but sweet thought. Naive absolutely, but nice all the same.
I hope you get a chance to make Mochi cake this week in honor of World Thinking Day, or make another dish you have never made before from a culture different than your own. Try this Egyptian Kushari dish from Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen or Matcha Cupcakes from Seventeen and Baking. These blogs are both written by teens who are proud of who they are and want to share a piece of themselves with you. Make today World Thinking Day at your house.
—At the very least, please buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies from your local Girl Scouts. Even if the cookies aren’t your fave…they are supporting so much more.
Taken from Gourmet Magazine, May 2005
Makes one 9×13 pan, or 24 squares
1 lb. box of mochiko flour (3 c. equivalent)
2 1/2 c. of sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 14 0z. cans of coconut milk (not low-fat)
5 large eggs
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 c. of butter)
1 t. vanilla extract
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 Pyrex/glass dish (or similar dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup (4 cup capacity), beat eggs, then add coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Carefully, pour the wet ingredients over the mochiko flour mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth and uniform in texture. Pour batter into the greased 9×13 pan. Carefully, smooth out the top.
Bake for 90 minutes until top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (mine did not pull away from the sides but was done. I think time and color are a fine judgement for doneness).
Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes on a rack, and then carefully flip it over and coax it out of the pan. Cut into 24 squares. When serving, top with a fresh raspberry on each piece. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Enjoy your Mochi Cake and have a toast to World Thinking Day!