Back in June, the mizu shingen mochi from Kinseiken Seika made a huge splash across the internet (pun intended). Shaped like a giant drop of water, it is made from spring water from the Japanese Alps and supposedly disintegrates after 30 minutes at room temperature. My friend Erick kept asking me to try to replicate it, but I totally thought it was just a hoax until I found this post via Reddit back in August. Even then, it took me a few months before I assembled all the ingredients and tools I needed to make this (spurred on, in part, but Erick's impending birthday).
I ordered the agar powder and spherical mold from Amazon, but you can probably find agar in an Asian grocery store or maybe even Whole Foods. I wanted the mold so I could make a semi-spherical cake, but you might be able to get away with just using a small bowl.
At first, since my molds only held about 70 ml each, I just used 150 ml of water with 1 g of agar. This ended up being way too much agar, and the result was a thick, bouncy cake that was yellowish in color. Fail.
For attempt #2, I added less agar, but since I could still see it floating around in the measuring cup, I kept adding more and more water. After chilling over night, the cake barely set and collapsed immediately after unmolding. Fail again.
For my third try, I used about the same amount of agar as before but didn't add any more water. It set within a few hours in the refrigerator, and I was able to unmold it intact! It did start "weeping" immediately, but I'm pretty sure that's what it's supposed to do. Success!
I'm not going to lie, this tasted pretty much like water-flavored Jell-o. I did add a pinch of vanilla sugar to the mixture, but it was barely noticeable. The texture sensation was great, though. It holds just for a second in your mouth before dissolving into a cool, crisp liquid.
I added a few black sesame seeds on top of the first cake I tried, more for show than for taste (it tasted pretty bad). Since I made two half-spheres each time, for the second cake I decided to try some more flavorful toppings. The original is served with a black sugar syrup and roasted soybean powder, neither of which I had, but I thought I'd try sprinkling on some sweet black sesame instant drink powder and a splash of half and half. I really liked the addition of the sweet black sesame powder, but next time I might try sweetened condensed milk instead of half and half.
makes 2 cakes
2/3 cup spring water
Pinch of vanilla sugar
~1/8 teaspoon agar powder (you may need to experiment a bit to attain desired texture)
Measure out the water in a microwaveable measuring cup and add the sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until sugar is dissolved.
While stirring, sprinkle on the agar powder. Microwave again for 30 seconds and stir for a minute. Continue microwave and stirring as needed until the agar is all dissolved, although you'll probably still see clear bits floating around in the water.
Carefully pour into your desired molds; pop any bubbles that may appear. Transfer the molds to the refrigerator and allow to set for several hours or overnight.
Carefully unmold the cakes and serve immediately with your desired toppings.
Next: Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Previously: Mochi Donuts and Pon de Rings
Two Years Ago: Margherita Pizza