Heart beats for cake


(Adzuki bean with vanilla, and hazelnut Pocky)

If you
If you could
If you could only
If you could only stop
If you could only stop your
If you could only stop your heart
If you could only stop your heart beat
If you could only stop your heart beat for
If you could only stop your heart beat for one heart
If you could only stop your heart beat for one heart beat.

–Too many birds, Bill Callahan.

Do you ever feel like sometimes you love a song so much that it’s hard to describe what it’s like to hear it. Is it like falling in love? That electric feeling that jolts your heart when fingers touch. That first kiss. The inexplicable sense of everything being right in the world.

My current obsession is Bill Callahan’s album, Sometimes I wish We were an Eagle. It is on rotation in my house every day. If I’m not listening to it, I’m humming it quietly under my breath – as I traipse down the street, while I wait on the platform for my train, or when I’m dealing with someone I do not enjoy interacting with. During these moments, Bill whispers. Joyfully.

I dread the moment I become oversaturated on Bill and finally get sick of that album. Later down the track, I know I can come back to it and rediscover how great each song is. And the heart will beat faster again.


(Black mochi cake with sesame)

Several bags of glutinous rice flour later, and I’m still not sick of mochi cake yet. I first made one from Elizabeth Falkner’s book, but did not like the result. My next attempt, using Food Librarian’s recipe for cherry mochi cakes was very successful. It planted the seed of interest, and the fact that her recipe is the easiest “one-bowl-wonder” ever, further enabled my obsession. I have also since adapted the recipe to suit my preferences, resulting in a slightly lighter and less sweet cake, which still maintains that elusive diplomatic balance between a Western cake and an Asian chewy dessert.


(Mochi blondie)

If like me, cake governs your heart as much as music does, then this recipe is for you. Once you’re hooked, you’ll probably find yourself playing around with the ingredients. Substitute mochiko for black glutinous rice flour or green pandan rice flour (both available from Thai grocery stores). Or substitute thin coconut cream for evaporated milk, throw in some cherries and top the batter with shredded coconut or chocolate chips, and you have a mochi cake version of the Cherry Ripe bar. Or add some melted white chocolate, and fold in white chocolate buttons and macadamia nuts, and you have a chewy mochi blondie.

Make this, and when you taste it, you will know what I mean. Mochi cake, be still, my beating heart.

Mochi Cake :

225g mochiko [I use Thai glutinous rice flour, available from most Asian grocery stores, to great effect]
85g unsalted butter, melted
175g caster sugar
187g evaporated milk (1/2 can)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
additional ingredients of choice eg. fresh berries, chocolate, nuts

Preheat the oven to 175’C. Grease and line a 12 x 8 x 1.5 inch rectangular baking tin.

Sift the mochiko and baking powder together. In an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the melted butter, then the evaporated milk and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients and any extra ingredients you wish to incorporate into the cake. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared baking tin.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack, then remove from tin and cut into desired shapes.

Variations :

Mochi blondie : Reduce sugar to 150g. Melt 100g white chocolate with the butter and proceed with the method above. Fold extra white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts into the batter at the end, if desired.


(::vanilla pannacotta, adzuki brownie, black mochi cake, adzuki snow, soy caramel dust, homemade Pocky)

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