Japanese Raindrop Cake Is Coming to America
Nobody does pretty-looking food or edible fads quite like the Japanese. With dewdrop cake (also called raindrop cake), you get both: a work of culinary art, and a dessert craze that has patrons lining up for a taste. Now, New York City foodies can get in on the trend, as enterprising American chef Darren Wong is offering it at Brooklyn "food flea market" Smorgasburg.
The Japanese treat called mizu shingen mochi, or “water droplet cake,” can only last about 30 minutes at room temperature before vanishing like the morning dew. In fact, the original mizu shingen mochi was made with spring water from the Japanese Alps and was only available in two Japanese cafes—both of which quickly became foodie destinations.
Wong told Huffington Post that adapting the ephemeral dessert here was trickier than he expected. New York City water may be good for bagels, but dewdrop cake is something altogether. Some people have speculated that the chemistry of Japanese mineral water may be necessary to achieve the perfect consistency. “The cake has to maintain its shape but still have the texture of water,” Wong said. “It’s very delicate and fragile.”
Eventually, he got it. True to the original recipe, Wong's raindrop cakes will be served with a drizzle of brown sugar syrup and a dusting of kinako, or roasted soybean flour.
How does the raindrop itself taste? “Like water-flavored Jell-o,” wrote one blogger who had made her own. But when you look this good, who needs flavor?
You can whip up your own raindrop cakes (but you'd better eat them fast) with the recipe below from The Cooking of Joy. All of the ingredients and the dewdrop-shaped jelly mold can be purchased online.
- 2/3 cup spring water
- pinch of vanilla sugar
- about 1/8 tsp. of agar powder
1. Mix the water and sugar in a microwaveable measuring cup.
2. Microwave 30 seconds and stir until the sugar dissolves. While stirring, sprinkle in the agar powder.
3. Continue heating and stirring, at 30 second intervals, until the agar is completely dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Pour the liquid into the jelly molds and pop any bubbles you see.
5. Refrigerate the mochi for several hours or overnight.
6. To serve, carefully drop the mochi out of their molds and serve immediately with the garnish of your choice.
The original mizu shingen mochi is served with kinako (toasted soybean flour) and dark sugar syrup. Joy recommends sweetened condensed milk and powdered black sesame seeds.
A version of this post previously appeared in November 2015.
Header image via YouTube // Hey! It's Mosogourmet!