This soft and chewy butter mochi cake is lightly sweet with a hint of coconut. With its unique combination of sweet rice flour, creamy coconut milk, and butter, this mochi cake is a dessert that’s as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.

butter mochi cake squares scattered on parchment paper with 3 squares stacked in the middle

What is butter mochi cake:

Butter mochi cake (aka Hawaiian butter mochi) is a beloved Hawaiian dessert renowned for its unique texture and delightful taste. Made primarily from sweet rice flour, it boasts a soft, chewy consistency that sets it apart from traditional cakes. Combining ingredients like sugar, butter, coconut milk, and eggs, it offers a rich and slightly sweet flavor. Despite its name, butter mochi cake isn’t a traditional cake in the conventional sense. It’s more akin to a dense, chewy bar or slice.

butter mochi cake squares arranged on parchment with 3 turned on its side

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Irresistible flavor and texture – This mochi cake has a tropical, creamy, and earthy flavor with a soft aroma of vanilla and coconut. The cake’s dense and chewy texture, characteristic of mochi-based desserts, makes each bite a satisfying experience.
  • Easy preparation – Despite its gourmet taste, this recipe is surprisingly easy to make. You simply mix everything together in one bowl and bake.
  • Convenient ingredient amounts – This butter mochi cake recipe ingeniously utilizes precisely measured ingredients, including 1 box of rice flour, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1 can of coconut milk, ensuring that there are no leftovers and nothing goes to waste.
  • Keeps well and serves a crowd – This cake stays fresh for days and because it’s rich and dense, a little goes a long way. A 9×13″ cake can serve 24-32 people.

Ingredients you’ll need:

(Shown below are the key ingredients that give this mochi cake its distinct taste and texture)

a can of coconut milk, box of Mochiko flour and can of evaporated milk
  • Sweet Rice Flour – The primary ingredient in butter mochi cake and responsible for its characteristic chewy texture, this flour is made from glutinous rice, which is a type of rice with a higher starch content than regular rice. Despite its name, glutinous rice does not contain gluten; the term “glutinous” refers to the sticky, chewy texture it develops when cooked.
  • Coconut milk – Contributes to the cake’s tropical aroma and flavor profile. It’s a common ingredient in many Hawaiian and Asian desserts.
  • Evaporated milk – Another dairy ingredient that adds creaminess and depth of flavor to the cake.
  • Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to the cake, balancing the flavors and enhancing its overall taste. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar also contributes to the texture and structure of the cake.
  • Unsalted butter – Provides richness and flavor. When melted and mixed into the batter, it helps to create a moist and tender texture while imparting a delicious buttery taste.
  • Eggs – Serve as a binding agent, helping to hold the ingredients together and providing structure. They also contribute to the cake’s richness.
  • Baking powder – Acts as a leavening agent in butter mochi cake, helping it rise and preventing it from being too dense.
  • Vanilla extract – Enhances the flavor of the cake, adding a subtle hint of sweetness, warmth, and aroma.
  • Shredded coconut (optional) – For an extra coconutty flavor and chewy texture.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • an extra large mixing bowl (this recipe makes about 9 cups of batter)
  • a large whisk and a large rubber spatula
  • a 9×13″ metal, glass, or ceramic pan (metal is preferred)

How to make butter mochi cake:

(The full written and printable recipe is further below.)

process shots of how to make butter mochi cake batter
  1. Combine the melted butter and sugar together in an extra-large mixing bowl using a rubber spatula.
  2. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the rice flour and baking powder until almost combined. The batter will be thick.
  4. Then stir in the evaporated milk to loosen up the batter.
  5. Add the coconut milk. Whisk slowly at first to combine, and then whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut if using. Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is set.

Tip: For a perfectly smooth mochi cake without any air bubbles or possible lumps, pour the batter through a fine mesh strainer before transferring it to your baking pan. This is an optional extra step that I only do for special occasions. 😊

butter mochi cake batter in a bowl and in baking pan topped with coconut ready for oven

How to cut:

Once the cake has completely cooled in the pan, run an offset spatula or butter knife along the edge, then flip the cake onto a large cutting board. Leave the cake upside-down because it’s actually easier to cut it this way, especially if it’s topped with shredded coconut. (This way you are not dragging the coconut into the cake as you cut it.)

Lightly grease a long, sharp straight-edge knife. Press the knife down into the cake, all the way to the bottom (don’t saw or drag the knife). Lift the knife up and repeat to cut into slices. Wipe the knife clean and regrease as needed.

How to serve:

Traditionally, butter mochi cake is served at room temperature. It is typically cut into squares or rectangles for easy serving, making it a convenient finger food or dessert option for gatherings and potlucks. It’s great served alongside a cup of tea or coffee.

Variations:

  • ube or pandan – Replace the vanilla extract with a tablespoon of ube or pandan extract for a beautiful purple or green mochi.
  • mango or banana – Substitute the evaporated milk with 1 & 1/2 cups of mango puree or mashed bananas for a fruity mochi cake.
  • Toasted sesame – Sprinkle 1/2 cup of regular or black sesame on top instead of shredded coconut before baking.
A slice of butter mochi cake with a bite taken out and other slices arranged in the back.

FAQ:

Can I substitute sweet rice flour with regular rice flour?

No, it won’t yield the same chewy texture that sweet rice flour provides. Sweet rice flour is made from glutinous rice, which has a higher starch content. This is what gives butter mochi cake its distinctive soft and chewy consistency. If you can’t find sweet rice flour, look for glutinous rice flour instead.

Can I make butter mochi cake ahead of time?

Yes, you can make butter mochi cake 1-2 days in advance. In fact, it often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Prepare the cake as directed, then let it cool completely. Tightly cover and store at room temperature.

How do I store butter mochi cake?

Butter mochi cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to keep it longer, store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Butter Mochi Cake

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  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian

Description

This soft and chewy butter mochi cake is lightly sweet with a hint of coconut. With its unique combination of sweet rice flour, creamy coconut milk, and butter, this mochi cake is a dessert that’s as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 116oz box sweet rice flour (Mochiko flour)
  • 112oz can evaporated milk
  • 114oz can coconut milk (see notes*)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13″ pan.
  2. Combine the melted butter and sugar together in an extra-large mixing bowl using a rubber spatula.
  3. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the rice flour and baking powder until almost combined. The batter will be thick.
  5. Then stir in the evaporated milk to loosen up the batter.
  6. Add the coconut milk. Whisk slowly at first to combine, and then whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut if using.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is set. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes

*If your coconut milk has solidified in the can. Transfer the content into a microwave-safe bowl and warm up for a few seconds in the microwave to completely melt before adding to the batter.

Leftover butter mochi cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to keep it longer, store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.