Easy Black Sesame Mochi Cake

Difficulty Easy

An easy, one-bowl, Asian-inspired dessert: Black Sesame Mochi Cake! All the nutty deliciousness of black sesame seeds. Plus, the squishy, chewy fun of mochi!

Black Sesame Mochi Cake

Mochi cake is an Asian-fusion dessert with Hawaiian roots. Unlike the typical cake, it’s made with glutinous rice flour. This swap gives it a deliciously addictive texture: chewy, bouncy, and squishy. Like mochi, it’s a dense cake that’s very stretchy.

Black sesame powder instantly adds richness, depth, and savory oomph. The flavor is nutty, similar to peanut butter. Plus, the dark, moody color!

Using Hawaiian Butter Mochi as a base, I tinkered and toyed until I made a Black Sesame Mochi Cake recipe that I loved. And couldn’t stop baking and eating!

Perfect for the Lunar New Year. Or a great spooky dessert for Halloween. But honestly? It’s a great everyday snack cake that all the aunties and uncles love. Plus, it’s “not-too-sweet!”

More desserts with glutinous rice flour: Nian Gao, Coconut Mochi Cake, Mochi Donuts.

Take one bite and you’ll agree — Black Sesame Seed Mochi Cake is a gluten-free dessert that is so satisfying to eat. Bouncy and springy. Sophisticated yet so easy to put together. A party in a 9×13″ pan! And not-too-sweet!

Ingredients:

  • Canned Milk. Mochi cake is classically made with two kinds of canned milk: Coconut Milk and Evaporated Milk. When you live on a tiny, volcanic island far from land-grazing cattle (i.e., Hawaii), canned milk is easier-to-find and cheaper than fresh milk. Canned milk lasts forever. And requires no refrigeration. All to say — you could make mochi cake with regular milk. But I’ve decided to stay true to the Asian-fusion, Hawaiian origins of this cake by using canned milk.
  • Black Sesame Seeds/Powder. Earthy, nutty, and savory. Buy black sesame seeds and toast and grind them yourself. But if you want to skip a step, buy a bag of powdered black sesame seeds instead! So much easier! The taste difference is minimal.
  • Glutinous (Sweet) Rice Flour. Regular rice flour is not the same. Popular brands: Mochiko Blue Star Sweet Rice Flour by Koda Farms and Thai Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour. Also called Sticky Rice Flour and Sweet Rice Flour. It will give mochi cake that characteristically chewy, bouncy texture.
  • Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is more fragrant than vegetable oil, if you have it. But in a pinch, any kind of neutral oil works — grapeseed, vegetable, or canola. Even butter works well.
  • Coconut Extract. Although optional, it adds more coconut aroma and flavor.
  • Sugar. Balances the flavor of the black sesame seeds. Just enough to make it “not-too-sweet”!
  • Eggs + Baking powder. For structure and rise. It is a cake, after all!
dark grey plate with black sesame mochi cake

Instructions:

  1. Toast. In a non-stick skillet, add the black sesame seeds. Heat over medium heat until toasted. Toss a few times to ensure even toasting. The seeds are toasted when they crackle and slightly smoke.
  2. Grind. Place black sesame seeds in a food processor. Pulse until it forms a powder.
  3. Make batter. In a large bowl, add black sesame powder, sugar, melted coconut oil, coconut extract (if using), eggs, coconut milk, evaporated milk, glutinous sweet rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk batter well. It will look loose and very runny.
  4. Garnish. Pour batter into a well-oiled 9×13″ pan. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds + 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds. Sprinkle sesame seeds along the edge of the pan. You can also spread them all over the surface of the cake.
  5. Bake. Slide carefully into the preheated 350F/175C oven. Bake until the edges are set and pull away from the edges of the pan. The middle should be set with no jiggle. Cool for 1 hour and cut with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

Watch how to make it:

PRO Tips:

  • Toast sesame seeds. Don’t skip this step! For extra nutty and flavorful sesame seeds.
  • Grind sesame seeds well. Pulse until the oil starts to release and it looks sticky; the powder will look moist. Look for a powder-like texture that clumps and sticks together. Exercise caution — if you pulse too much, it will become tahini paste!
  • Oil the pan. Use a pastry brush or paper towel dipped in oil to generously grease the pan. For easier removal.
  • Cool for 1 hour (minimum). When hot, the cake is very sticky and hard to slice.
  • Use a serrated knife. Makes for easier slicing than a regular knife.

FAQs:

Can I halve this recipe?

Yes, I’ve successfully halved this recipe in an 8×8 pan! I recommend using 1 can of coconut milk total versus 1/2 can coconut milk + 1/2 can evaporated milk for ease and convenience. The cook time is about 45 minutes.

Does Black Sesame Mochi Cake freeze well?

Yes, mochi cake freezes very well. Cut into squares before freezing to defrost by individual portions. Cool completely and store in an airtight ziploc bag. To defrost, lightly reheat in a toaster oven/Air Fryer/oven, about 5 minutes at 350F.

Can I substitute the evaporated milk with a plant-based milk?

Yes, the canned evaporated milk can be subbed with almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and regular milk. This recipe is very forgiving and any kind of milk should work! I like to use evaporated milk for ease and convenience, and also — to celebrate its Hawaiian origins.

Why is my mochi cake not as dark as yours?

To ensure a rich, dark color — weigh your ingredients. Three cups of glutinous rice flour can weigh anything from 300-450g, depending on the way it’s packed in the measuring cup.

I’ve baked this cake many times by using BOTH black sesame powder from the store AND by grinding my own seeds at home. Each time, the interior comes out dark and rich in color. However, glutinous rice flour has a very different texture than regular flour so it has a tendency to pack down and become dense.

How do I determine doneness?

Determining doneness can be challenging. The skewer test will not work, as the batter will remain moist and sticky even when fully baked. Instead, check for doneness by looking for edges that are brown and naturally pull away from the pan. Give the pan a little shake — the center of the cake should be set with no jiggle.

How can glutinous rice flour be gluten-free?

Glutinous refers to the fact that it’s made from sticky glutinous rice — not gluten — so it’s actually gluten-free.

Other Asian-Inspired desserts to enjoy:

Easy Black Sesame Mochi Cake

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
An easy, one-bowl, Asian-inspired dessert: Black Sesame Mochi Cake! All the nutty deliciousness of black sesame seeds. Plus, the squishy, chewy fun of mochi!
4.77 from 43 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian, Fusion Food
Servings 24 squares
Calories

Equipment

  • 9×13 pan
  • Large Bowl
  • whisk

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup/120g black sesame seeds (or 3/4 cup black sesame powder, if you want to skip roasting and grinding the seeds)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted) (regular vegetable oil also works)
  • 1 tsp coconut extract (optional – for extra coconut flavor + fragrance)
  • 1 1/2 cups/300g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 400ml/13.5 oz can coconut milk (full fat, not the boxed kind)
  • 1 354ml/12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 cups/300g glutinous (sweet) rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder *(use 1 1/2 tsp instead of 2 for a more gooey cake)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven. Heat oven to 350F/175C. Generously brush a 9×13 baking pan with melted coconut oil on the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  • Toast black sesame seeds. (Skip this step if using black sesame powder). Add black sesame seeds to a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss the seeds from time to time or mix with a wooden spoon, until they begin to crackle and smoke, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Grind black sesame seeds. (Skip this step if using black sesame powder). Transfer seeds to a food processor. Pulse until seeds are finely processed into powder, about 1-2 minutes. Be careful here — there is a fine line between powder and paste. Pulse the seeds until the oil starts to release and the seeds clump together just a bit; the powder will look moist. But exercise caution — if you pulse too much, you will end up with tahini paste!
  • Whisk batter together. Scrape sesame seed powder into a large bowl. Add sugar, melted coconut oil, and eggs. Whisk well until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add evaporated milk and coconut milk. Whisk well, making sure the batter is smooth and lump-free, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add glutinous sweet rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well, sure the batter is smooth and lump-free, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour into 9×13 pan. Scrape the batter into the well-oiled pan. It will be very loose and runny.
  • Garnish. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds. Sprinkle along the edge of the pan. (If you prefer, double the amount of both sesame seeds and sprinkle completely over the entire top, not just on the edges.)
  • Bake. Slide carefully into oven and bake until done, about 50-60 minutes. Checking for doneness will be challenging, as the batter will remain moist and sticky even when fully baked. Instead, check for doneness by looking for brown edges that naturally pull away from the pan. Give the pan a little shake — the center of the cake should be set with no jiggle.
  • Cool and serve. Transfer to the counter. Cool for 1 hour (at least) at room temperature. Cut with a serrated knife into 24 squares.

Video

Notes

*Black Sesame Mochi Cake freezes well.  Cool completely and cut into squares.  Store in a ziploc freezer bag.  To defrost, reheat briefly in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer for 5 min at 350F. Or, keep at room temperature until defrosted. 
**To halve, use an 8×8 pan.  I recommend using 1 can of coconut milk total versus 1/2 can coconut milk + 1/2 can evaporated milk for ease and convenience. The cook time is about 45 minutes.
Keyword Black Sesame, Cake, Mochi
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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101 Comments

  1. Can you also make this in the airfryer?

    • I’ve never tried it that way, but I’m sure you could! Spray generously with oil before cooking. I would try 400F but again, I haven’t tried it in the air fryer yet.

  2. 5 stars
    I am very happy (delighted) to have discovered this amazing recipe. It is such a delicious cake for all the mochi lovers out there. Thank you so much for sharing the food love!

  3. Janet Susan Thompson

    5 stars
    Made this about 6 times; love it too much. Very morish

  4. Can black sesame paste be used instead in this recipe?

  5. 5 stars
    This is so good and so simple! I halved the recipe and used UHT coconut milk from a carton and it turned out wonderful. They got the Asian parents’ “not too sweet” seal of approval!

  6. 5 stars
    This was soooo delicious! Everyone loved it. Thank you for this recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Lis! I just made this for the second time (I had posted before about the middle having sunken down and not being as chewy as the edges…you suggested 2 tsp of baking powder instead of 1.5). I halved it because I didn’t have enough sesame seeds to do a full batch. I used 1 tsp baking powder, 1 can coconut cream (didn’t have milk), and 2 flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2.5 Tbsp water for each eggs substitution) because we are vegan. I cooked it for 50 minutes and let it sit in the oven while it cooled down for another 1.5 hours.
    The middle area still sunk down and was now as chewy as would like. Mind you….we absolutely loved it (we did the first time, too)….just wanting more of that chewyness in the middle. Should I maybe try more baking powder? Do you have any other thoughts/suggestions? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi! I’m not sure why it sunk. I think it might have to do with the flax eggs, as I’ve never tried it that way. As for the baking powder, the original recipe amount is 2 tsp. I listed 1.5 tsp for ppl wanting a slightly softer texture similar to my Coconut Mochi Cake recipe. The only thing I can recommend is whisking to make sure the flax eggs are evenly distributed? I’m not really sure because I’ve never cooked with flax eggs before. If you add more than the suggested 2 tsp, it might be too dense. Another thought, maybe it’s the combination of coconut cream with flax eggs? I would try regular canned coconut milk instead of cream. Good luck!

  8. This looks so good! Any thoughts on adjustments if I have sesame paste available rather than sesame powder?

  9. Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe. Was wondering, can you use butter instead of coconut oil?

  10. 5 stars
    absolutely delicious, thanks!

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe it is so delicious! I followed the weights in the recipe the first time and it was good but a little softer than I expected in the center. But then I made it again and noticed that you’re recipe says that 3 C of glutinous rice flour is 300g, and my bag of Bob’s red mill said that 3 C was actually 480g so I changed it for the second batch. It’s in the oven now and I’m hoping that makes the difference! Thanks again!

  12. I made this today. Was so easy and so good 😊. I saw it can be frozen, but can it be stored room temperature or refrigerated instead? And if so how long?

  13. hi! i came across this recipe and super excited to try it! just wanted to ask, if we don’t have coconut or vegetable oil would canola work?

  14. 4 stars
    My cake turned out soft inside instead of googy/chewy. The edges and top were good. How do I make it like a mochi cake, ie googy inside?

    • Make sure to use glutinous rice flour instead of regular rice flour! It’s also called Sweet Rice flour, Sticky Rice flour, or Mochiko flour. I use Thai Erawan Elephant brand. If that still doesn’t produce a gooey and chewy texture. use a scale to measure the ingredients. Good luck!

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you! This recipe is exactly what I’ve been looking for! It was sooo delicious! Crunchy golden edges & perfect sweetness level. I baked it in 2 separate pans to get more edge pieces! This is my new fave dessert!

  16. Hi Lis! I made this today and it is wonderful! I am wondering if it is supposed to be gooey on the inside? I was trying to re-create one I had at a nearby cafe and the flavor was spot-on, but the whole cake at the cafe was the consistency of the top and sides (of the pieces along the outer edge of the pan). The inside of this one was gooey instead. I noticed that it puffed up nicely in the oven and when I pulled it out, but an hour later, it had sunk down. Could that be the problem? If so, any ideas on how to keep that from happening? Maybe when I jiggled it to test for doneness?

    • Hello Zak, thanks for your question. If you don’t want it gooey — add 2 tsp baking powder instead of 1 1/2 tsp instead. I like a little ooze but everyone is different! The cake always puffs and deflates in the oven. It will harden as it cools. Hope this helps.

  17. 5 stars
    12/10!!! I was curious how the sesame seeds would grind in a food processor, but it worked out really well. Such a simple recipe for such a dynamic outcome. Love how the edges are slightly crispy, the subtle sweetness + sesame flavor and the softness of the mochi. Wow. I had no idea what to expect and this really blew my mind. Might be a new go-to potluck dessert from now on. Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. Really want to try this amazing recipe! What is the difference with packet coconut milk and tinned coconut milk. We usually use the packet version UHT here in Singapore and its difficult to find the tin version.

    • The packet coconut milk in Singapore might be the same as tinned coconut milk here in North America. If there’s no other option, give it a try! The packet coconut milk here in Canada is very thin (for drinking) and watery.

  19. 5 stars
    This was so tasty! I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to convert this to a matcha recipe? Thanks!

    • Hello! I have yet to try this but I really want. My friends are vegan and gluten free. I was wondering if I can replace the eggs with anything? Thank you!

      • Hi, thank you for your question! Unfortunately, I haven’t made this without eggs so I can’t recommend anything. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know. Thank you!

  20. 5 stars
    Delicious, easy. Not too sweet! Highly recommend

  21. Hello, this recipe looks really delicious, however I am curious if there is a way to make this without any coconut? There’s an allergy in my family and while I could probably make with alternatives, I’m not sure how everything will holdup as this seems to be made with quite a lot of coconut.

  22. Please let me know how you came up with this recipe? Is it inspired by an already existing or is it totally your creation?

  23. What quantity of sesame paste do you end up with when you grind your sesame?

  24. Hi, Can I use black sesame paste instead of sesame powder and in what quantity, maybe someone knows? Thanks

    • I have not used black sesame paste in this recipe but if you wanted to try it, using the same amount as black sesame powder may be a good start. In a regular cake, the paste would affect the texture but this cake is already very gooey and mochi-like in the middle so I don’t think it would affect it as much. Good luck!

  25. I would like to make this only for 2 people in 2 individual porcelain ramekins, do you think it’s possible? If so, what would you cut the recipe down to and for how long would you bake? Thank you so much this looks delicious 🙂

    • I’m not sure of your ramekin size so it’s difficult for me to give you a recipe and baking time. My suggestion is to halve the recipe and bake in a square 8×8 tin. You’ll get 9 generous, large-sized squares that will be plenty for 2 people, with leftovers. If you can’t eat everything, wrap tightly in plastic film and freeze. The mochi cake defrosts/reheats very well.

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  27. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe today it’s delicious! Even hubby who doesn’t like sweets loved it! For some reason mine wasn’t as dark as yours though but I followed your recipe to a T

    • Hi Tammy, Thank you so much for your feedback! Did you grind the seeds yourself or did you use ground black sesame powder? If you grind the seeds, you have to grind more than you think. The seeds should start releasing their oils and stick together, just a little bit. The only time it doesn’t come out as dark is when I don’t grind the seeds long enough. Hope this helps!

  28. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I make this all the time and my family loves it!! Just making sure that if Im using store bought roasted seasame seeds, I just need to put it straight into the blender right? Thank you so much!

  29. This looks so good! I’m planning on making it this weekend but wanted to know if one 1lb box of Mochiko rice flour would be enough for the 3 cups called for in this recipe.

  30. Hi, I have been reading your recipe over and over again. I have most of the answers from all the comments but the coconut milk. May I know the fresh grind coconut milk from the market works better or boxed one?

    • Hi. Thanks so much for your feedback. I just included the most frequently asked questions in one section, FAQs, to make it easier for people to get their answers. I’ve never used fresh ground coconut milk (sounds divine!) but have only used canned coconut milk, not boxed. The recipe is very forgiving so I think either would work but I am not 100% sure as I’ve never baked it that way. Let me know how it turns out!

  31. If I halved the recipe for a 9″x9″ pan, do you think the cake would come out too thin?

    • I’ve halved the recipe in a 8×8 with great success but haven’t tried a 9×9 pan. I don’t think it would be too thin but I would watch that it doesn’t get over cooked. Look for corners and sides that shrink away from the pan with crusty edges- that tells you it’s done!

  32. 4 stars
    I’ve been craving black sesame seeds recently and decided to give this recipe a try. I’ve never had a mochi cake before but I really liked it. It was spongy, moist, and not overly sweet. While it was delicious, mine didn’t look much like the pictures. Rather than being pitch black, mine looked light grey and yellow at the same time. I followed the recipe, but did i not add enough black sesame? I was a bit confused about measuring the sesame seeds. I measured 3/4C of whole sesame seeds but when i ground them, the resulting powder was more than 3/4C. I added all of it but should I not have?

    • This has happened to me as well. The sesame seeds need to be ground down enough until the oil releases and it starts to clump together a bit. It’s a fine line between ground powder and paste so you have to be careful but at the same time — it needs to be ground down enough to be powdery! If you can find it, look for black sesame powder at the store and that will guarantee the texture of the seeds. Good luck!

  33. This sounds great can it be made with almond or rice milk instead of regular or evaporated milk? We have family with regular milk allergies

  34. So delicious. Made it with black sesame seed powder. Also I made a few adjustments, used only 1 c sugar and substituted almond milk instead of evaporated milk. Still so good. Although mine didnt turn out as dark as this picture here. Next time Ill try grinding my own powder.

  35. 5 stars
    I used a nonstick pan slightly bigger than 9×13. Mines did not quite come out like the picture, but very good and tasty. I did not grind the sesame good enough, next I will. Everybody loved it! Thank you for sharing??

  36. Hello, i have black sesame paste and i would like to make the cake using it, what do you suggest? Thanks

    • Ive never made it using black sesame paste but Im guessing it would be similar? If its sweet, you may need to adjust the sugar ratio. Try subbing 1/4 cup black sesame paste for the seeds and follow the rest of the recipe exactly. Then taste it and add more paste if it needs more black sesame flavor. Let me know how it goes!

  37. Hi! Can you let me know how many days this mochi cake will last? Thx.

    • Its never lasted longer than 3-4 days in my house lol. But Im guessing about 5 days max? Any longer than that and I would freeze it. Mochi keeps very well in the freezer. Just defrost individually pieces at room temperature. Or, I think a toaster oven or microwave could also work!

      • 5 stars
        I’ve used this recipe a few times and it’s turned out great! The black sesame is pronounced. My friend has told me she loves sticking the pieces in an air fryer after the first day to get the crunchy bits on the outside.

  38. Hi! Is there a substitute for evaporated milk? Thx.

  39. 1st time baking this black sesame Mochi cake using sesame powder. I doubled the amount of black sesame powder. So easy & delicious 👍 highly recommended.

  40. How do you store it after it’s cooled? It’s delicious!

  41. Question when you bake this, do you cover it with foil? or bake it open?

  42. I loved this recipe and have made it several times already! I’m curious: do you have any advice as how to make a version of this recipe with matcha instead of black sesame?

    • I’m so glad to hear that you love it!! Matcha sounds like a great idea. I should put in on my list for recipe development. Since I don’t know how it will affect all the other ingredients, I’m not sure what to recommend. But I’ll let you know if I come out with something successful. Thanks again!

  43. would it be do-able to make mini cupcake size mochi cakes using mini cupcake pan using the same recipe? how would you adjust the baking time or temperature? thank you

    • I’m sure that could work but I’d definitely adjust the cooking time. Check at 25 minutes and let me know how it goes! The skewer test is not great for this recipe, instead check for a firm top that doesn’t jiggle in the middle when you shake the pan gently — also, the sides should pull away from the pan. Good luck!!

    • Oops realized you said mini cupcake – maybe check around 12 minutes then?

  44. how thin is the batter?

  45. I tried this today for my fiance’s birthday and it came out exactly as it looks in your photos! I’m terrible at baking and this is the first thing I’ve successfully made!! I also halved the recipe and used a 8×8 pan like another commenter. Thank you!

  46. FloatingK

    Can you taste the coconut (or smell) as well since you used coconut milk? I’m kind of afraid to try because I dont like coconut scented desserts (but I love black sesame). Is there any alternative to coconut milk? Also, if I decide to follow the recipe as it is, do I use sweetened coconut milk or evaporated milk or both unsweetened?

    • If you don’t like coconut, try using two cans of evaporated milk instead. The coconut flavor/scent is not strong but still there. Also you can sub the coconut oil with vegetable oil. The evaporated milk I use is unsweetened. Good luck!

    • 5 stars
      Followed the recipe exactly and it came out incredible! Made it for a Chinese family for Lunar New Year. They loved it. Gone in a day and none left to freeze. Thanks <3

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  49. Delicious! I halved this recipe and used an 8×8 pan. It still took an hour to cook but it turned out great! Very easy to prep, especially since I used pre-ground black sesame. They turned out soft, chewy but not sticky, and not too sweet!

  50. have you tried this recipe using butter instead of coconut oil?

  51. Looks delicious! How did you get the cake out of the pan? Did you use parchment paper to lift it out without it sticking?

  52. If I use sesame powder how much would be needed for the recipe?

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