Easy Gluten-Free Mochi Cake: Baking with Your Kids

The best gluten-free dishes come from recipes that start out as allergy safe, rather than from attempting to take an old favorite and altering the ingredients to accommodate a gluten problem. 

Or, at least, you won’t have to face several flops before you find that perfect combination of deliciousness that comes close enough to the original.

For kids who love mochi ice cream--round balls of the frozen dairy treat wrapped in rice flour shells--they may also enjoy a cake made with Mochiko flour. 

And this bouncy, chewy cake is so easy to make! Whether you need a gluten-free recipe or not, most kids will go wild for this dessert. 

It’s also perfect for children because versions of stuffed mochi are served not only for the Japanese New Year, but also on Children’s Day. According to Wikipedia, “Children's Day is celebrated in Japan on May 5. On this day, the Japanese promote the happiness and well-being of children. Kashiwa-mochi and chimaki are made especially for this celebration. Kashiwa-mochi is white mochi surrounding a sweet anko (red bean) filling with a Kashiwa oak leaf wrapped around it.

So mochi related food is particularly appropriate to serve your children. Making this cake is also a perfect activity for when you want to snag some quality parent/child quality time and build up some confidence in your little bug. Making a cake isn’t exactly a breeze, but this Japanese version is as easy-peasy as they come. Your child won’t believe they actually made a cake. From scratch, no less!

We first tried our hand at mochi cake when we ran across an article titled, “Michelin Star Chefs Share 7 Thanksgiving Desserts That’ll Make You Forget Pumpkin Pie Exists.” Wordy, I know. But intriguing! We were fascinated to find that a Michelin Star chef would choose to make something so simple. 

Basically, Chef Beverly Kim said to just mix the ingredients all together and throw it in the oven, so we did a little more research to understand the details.

Here’s our version of her classic cake.

Mochi Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan with butter
  • Melt 1 1/2 butter sticks in a large microwaveable bowl
  • Stir in one box of Mochiko (sweet rice flour--available at Asian markets, but also seen at Target before. You can also order it online from Target.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  •  1 cup of chopped walnuts (Like Chef Kim uses, OR 2 cups chopped strawberries like this recipe suggests, OR bake it as is.)
  • Stir everything together and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

As always, when you and the kids are having some fun baking time, be cautious. Make sure you put the cake in the oven and take it out again. Don’t leave them unattended in the kitchen. They may want to show you how grown up they can be and follow some steps without you--which can lead to injury. 

Besides, this is your bonding time. Everything else can wait.

Have fun!