Butter Mochi with Macapuno – Recipe

It looks like cake. It smells like cake. It tastes like cake. It's fluffy and moist and buttery like cake. But instead of being cakey, it's slightly and satisfyingly... chewy.

How? Why? It's because butter mochi is basically a butter cake made with glutinous rice flour instead of regular wheat flour. So even though when you cut into it it looks almost like a regular sponge cake:

The texture of the cake actually has a pleasing resistance on the bite (or, as you can see in the first picture, on digging in with a fork).

This is actually quite an interesting dessert, concept-wise. Butter mochi itself is a Hawaiian treat, but the word 'mochi' is Japanese (mochi being glutinous rice cake), and the concept of creating sweet delicacies with rice flours and coconut milk is also very popular in South East Asia (in the form of steamed kuehs, of which I have already made a few for this blog).

So now we have established what butter mochi is, our next question is this: what the heck is macapuno? Well I have two words for you.

Mutant. Coconut.

It sounds rather dramatic and weird, but it is what it is: the mutation in the genes of a 'normal' coconut causes the resulting mutant plant to produce fruits with more coconut flesh, which also happens to be softer in texture. A popular Filipino produce, macapuno is often steaped in syrup and paired with cakes, ice-creams and other desserts.

Oh, and if you're a little freaked out at the prospect of eating mutant coconuts, consider this: nectarines are mutant peaches (that particular peach mutation causes the fruits to be fuzz-less).

Botanical intrigues aside, I decided to top this cake with macapuno because I made the cake itself with coconut milk, so it made a nice juxtaposition of flavour. As for the cake itself, I modelled it on several recipes I've found and tried in the past, adding more egg, salt to taste, using coconut milk as the only liquid aside from the eggs and reducing the sugar. Trust me, the sugar called for in my recipe looks like a lot, but if you take a look at some other recipes out there and you'll realise it could be much worse. I believe this is the best I've made it, yet.

There are also two ways of making butter mochi (that I've come across and tried, anyway): the way I've made it, and also a more custardy, dense version, which is pretty much this recipe but with about 500ml milk added (cow's- or a non-dairy alternative- rather than more coconut milk). Both are equally delicious.


-450g glutinous rice flour
-450g caster sugar
-3 heaped tsp baking powder
-6 eggs
-1 can coconut milk
-125g melted unsalted butter
-2tsp vanilla
-pinch of salt
-extra butter for greasing your baking dish


1) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and generously butter an 8 x 12" dish (I used a rectangular Pyrex casserole dish)

2) Add the dry ingredients together into a big bowl, shape a dip in the centre with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into the 'well'.

3) With a wooden spoon or balloon whisk, start mixing from the centre outwards to avoid getting lumps, every so often adding your coconut milk until it's all used up.

4) Last of all, mix in the melted butter and vanilla.

5) Pour into your prepared dish and bake for about 1hr 15mins, or until the cake is puffy and the top has formed a golden brown crust.

6) Leave to cool a little before dividing up as you like (the cake is equally delicious warm or cold- and everyone will be fighting over the delicious buttery crusty bits).

Look at how the air bubbles rose got baked onto the surface!
7) Eat as it is, or add your favourite fruits and toppings- in my case, delicious mutant coconut.


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