Monday, November 3, 2014

Raindrop Cake

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15467918579/

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).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15468416738/

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.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15654554825/

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!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15651878891/

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. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15468602367/

Raindrop Cake (adapted from here)
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.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/15468992910/

Next:  Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Previously:  Mochi Donuts and Pon de Rings
Two Years Ago:  Margherita Pizza

39 comments:

  1. Wow! How cool is this?! Too bad it doesn't have a lot of flavor...but still so cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I think there would've been a huge cognitive dissonance if there was a ton of flavor since it looks so much like water. But the toppings do help. =)

      Delete
  2. This is amazing! I've been staring at it forever - I'm entranced!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks super cool! It is a bit misleading though, due to the name. I thought there was going to me mochi flour involved, but it's more of an Agar "cake". These can be found in Asian bakeries! Next time you should add slices of fruit or add fruit syrups. My mom flavors hers with coconut milk, coffee, or combines all flavors and fruit into a layered 'cake' :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad you managed to make it work.

    I went through a few different 'brands' of mineral water before I found one with a taste I liked. The vanilla sugar needs to be very strong (I make my own, so it's incredibly vanilla-y) to add much flavour.

    Your photos look so much better than mine, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And thank you for doing all the legwork; I would never have even thought to try making this if not for your original post. =)

      Delete
  5. I would imagine adding a flavor extract that is clear to the water used may work on giving it more flavor...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. I wouldn't recommend it since the coconut water I'm used to seeing are usually a least slightly cloudy. Also, I'm not sure the texture would work with non-pure water and agar.

      Delete
  7. Interesting...looks like a paperweight!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I so wanna try this .. Thanks for posting the recipe ... Can we use gelatine in place of agar as agar is not available here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is yes, but I'm not sure how much you'd need, and if it would affect the taste, texture, or clarity.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the recipe, and the experience w. the fail trails, that will save us time. Going to try it.

      Delete
    3. I tried to use gelatin and about half a packet (about 0.125 oz?) got the texture right, but it smelled really bad. It also wasn't transparent, and had more of a yellowish translucency. A full packet (0.25 oz) was too much and didn't have the good jiggly texture. 1/8 tsp of gelatin didn't even firm up after 12 hours. Each of the runs didn't turn out clear, and didn't smell very well. You can find agar powder on Amazon. I wish you luck in your cooking and baking goals!

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for replying... Will try with gelatine 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let me know how it turns out!

      Delete
    2. It was not clear:(
      Will try next time with agar agar

      Delete
  10. Hello, Where did you find the mold? Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link is above in the text, but I'll paste it here too: http://www.amazon.com/Tovolo-Sphere-Ice-Molds-Set/dp/B007ACTN54

      Delete
  11. Is there a specific brand of agar powder to buy to attain the "CLEAR" look?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used the Now Food brand of agar powder and haven't experimented with any other brands.

      Delete
  12. Would this work with flavoured water?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most likely! You might have to adjust the proportions a bit to get the right consistency but it's worth a try!

      Delete
  13. Order the agar from China through Ebay.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I just got my own Agar Agar and I'm gonna try this! I wanted to share because the Agar wasn't just a good price ($12,99 for 1/4 lb -> https://spicespecialist.com/products-page/spices-a/agar-agar) but the other spices I bought from here actually had the manufacturers PHONE NUMBER right on the package. I called them and they were very helpful with tips for using their products. It turns out they have like 5,000 spices, 10x any other spice manufacturer I've ever heard of! Ok, rant over :p

    ReplyDelete
  15. This recipe worked great! Thank you so much. I also tried coloring and flavoring my Raindrop Cake.
    I mentioned your blog post in my blog. I hope that's alright... it's the best recipe I've used to make these "cakes."

    https://themightyzorvig.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/raindrop-cake/

    ReplyDelete
  16. This recipe is going to be super useful, thanks! the first time i tried making this, I used way to much agar :D

    ReplyDelete
  17. Can it stay at room temoerature after solidifying in the fridge??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you made it correctly, it won't last very long at room temperature.

      Delete
  18. Can you make these ahead of time and store them in the fridge? I need to make about 6, but will only have 2 molds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I have no idea but it's worth a try?

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi. I find this recipe is better than the others. It give the mochi crystal clear transparency.
    Then I try to replace the agar/kanten powder with jelly/konyaku powder. The result is very different.
    With agar powder, you will get watery melt-in-mouth texture, and the mochi will melt in 30 minutes.
    With jelly powder, the texture is taste like..well.....jelly. It won't melt in your mouth. The mochi will last until you eat it. And it slide easily from the mould.
    You will need 3/4 teaspoon of jelly/konyaku powder to make it. Less than that, it won't hold its drop of water shape and looked like a puddle of water instead.
    Maybe you can try combining agar with jelly powder to get the watery texture but last longer.
    I will try it later when I have time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Im puzzled . Doest anyine find tbat the agar agar has a chemical sort of funky smell? Specially if not using much in the raindrop to mask it. Has anyone come across agar agar that has no smell

    ReplyDelete
  22. There is a chance you are eligible for a complimentary $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

    ReplyDelete