Image of Two Ladies Strawberry Mochi from the blog Big Island Grinds.
I may have mentioned my obession with Mochi in a different post. Last year when we were married we purchased a beautiful tray of these artfully prepared cakes from the Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo for our wedding in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result. If you’re ever on the Big Island and driving through Hilo I do suggest that you make a stop there. It’s an unassuming little shop where the locals and probably tourists line outside the door to purchase their packaged treats.
For the lay person: Mochi is a rice cake. Sometimes there are simple mochi which are just plain rice cakees which can be baked in an oven. When baked the mochi cakes puff up. Mochi comes in more decorative and festive forms including daifuku mochi (see image) which are usually filled with some sweet filling such as red bean (Koshi-an) or white bean (Shiro-an) paste. The Two Ladies actually made a mochi out of one of my favorite Asian foods, Purple Yam (known as Ube in the Phillipines). Actually, at one point I’d fantasized about having my wedding cake made out of Ube, the shocking purple hue of the cake would be a sight to see. In addition to the Ube and Strawberry Mochi, my favorite Two Ladies mochi flavors are: Passionfruit, White Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Plum, and Green Tea
As I write about this now and I continue the fantasy of having really good fresh mochi. I did try to make it myself; however it was so messy I don’t think I’ll do it again anytime soon. I took a green tea mochi recipe and I used strongly brewed apricot tea as the liquid. The cakes themselves were tasty, but the labor required to make and clean up discourages me from making this again until I get a microwave and can make the microwave version. Despite the effort involved in making them, I will forever be infatuated with mochi because after all they’re adorable looking. Small packages of aesthetically pleasing and delicous cuteness.
Tray of Daifuku Mochi and Manju*
After doing a search online for pictures (looking for mochi-porn), I found a rather terrific post on Japanese Cake Molds. Though it sounds like the cakes produced in these beautiful molds are more sugar than pounded rice dough.
Japanese Cake Mold
*Manju = baked cakes not always made of rice flour which are filled with sweet fillings such as redbean or adzuki paste called koshi-an