Japanese Raindrop Cake Is Coming to America

Raindrop Cake Looks Awesome And Is Almost Zero CaloriesThis raindrop cake is making its U.S. debut.

Posted by The Huffington Post on Thursday, March 31, 2016

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.

    Serves two.

    A version of this post previously appeared in November 2015.

    Header image via YouTube // Hey! It's Mosogourmet!

    By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
    Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
    By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
    By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

    Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

    The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

    Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

    Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

    Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

    William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

    Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

    "Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

    [h/t: The New York Times]

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