Easy Black Sesame Mochi Cake

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!

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

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with black sesame seeds. This nutty, savory little seed makes everything taste better.

Especially dessert. As you know, I’m not a big sweets fan. But adding black sesame powder to anything dessert-y adds instant richness, depth, and savory oomph.

In my quest to find the perfect black sesame dessert, a friend told me about mochi cake. Squishy, chewy mochi transformed into cake-like form? I had to give it a try.

What is Mochi Cake?

Mochi cake is an Asian-fusion dessert with Hawaiian roots. Glutinous rice flour (instead of regular flour) makes the cake batter chewy, bouncy, and squishy — like mochi. The perfect, gluten-free snack cake!

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!

Take one bite and you’ll agree — Black Sesame Seed Mochi Cake is the gluten free dessert that is so satisfying to eat. Bouncy and springy. Unexpectedly fun. Plus, the dark, moody color! This recipe feels sophisticated yet it’s so easy to put together. An upscale party in a 9×13″ pan!

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. This recipe calls for GLUTINOUS RICE FLOUR not regular rice flour. FYI Glutinous Rice Flour and Glutinous Sweet Rice Flour are the same. Glutinous refers to the fact that it’s made from sticky glutinous rice — not gluten — so it’s actually gluten free. 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.
  • 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!

How to Make Black Sesame Mochi Cake:

  1. Grind toasted black sesame seeds in a food processor to a powder.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together black sesame powder, sugar, melted coconut oil, and coconut extract (if using).
  3. Add eggs, one by one, and whisk well.
  4. Add evaporated milk and coconut milk. Whisk well.
  5. Add glutinous sweet rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well.
  6. Pour into a well-oiled 9×13″ pan.
  7. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds.
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds along the edge of the pan.
  9. Slide carefully into the oven and bake until done. Cool for 1 hour and cut with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Toast sesame seeds. For extra nutty and flavorful black sesame seeds! Toss a few times in a non-stick skillet until they crackle and slightly smoke.
  • Grind sesame seeds well. Pulse until the oil starts to release and it looks sticky; the powder will look moist. Exercise caution — if you pulse too much, it will become tahini paste!
  • Oil the 9×13″ 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 stays the same at 1 hour.

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 the ease and convenience, and also — to celebrate its Hawaiian origins.

Why is my mochi cake not as dark as yours?

I’m not sure why. I’ve baked this cake by using black sesame powder bought from the store AND by grinding my own. Each time, the interior comes out dark and rich in color.

If you grind your own sesame seeds, they may need to be ground for a longer time. Grind the seeds until they are slightly sticky and release their oil. This takes longer than you think. Look for a powder-like texture that clumps and sticks together.

The outer crust, though, is usually brown. Sometimes, the crust looks more black in some places. But the edges and tops are almost always brown.

How do I determine for doneness?

Determining for 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.

dark grey plate with black sesame mochi cake

Other Asian-Inspired desserts you may 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!
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Cooling Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian, Fusion Food
Servings 24 squares
Calories

Equipment

  • 9×13 pan

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup 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 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 glutinous (sweet) rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Garnish (optional)

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

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Generously brush a 9×13 baking pan with melted coconut oil.
  • To toast: add black sesame seeds to a dry saucepan 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.
  • To grind: Transfer seeds to a food processor. Pulse until seeds are finely processed into powder, about 30-60 seconds. 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!
    food processor filled with black sesame seed powder
  • Scrape sesame seeds into a large bowl. Whisk in sugar and melted coconut oil and coconut extract, if using.
    bowls with sugar, black sesame powder, and coconut milk
  • Add eggs, one by one, whisking well after each addition.
    bowl with black sesame seeds and egg with whisk to the side
  • Whisk in evaporated milk and coconut milk, making sure the batter is smooth and lump-free.
    mixing bowl with evaporated milk and coconut milk
  • Whisk in glutinous sweet rice flour, baking powder, and salt, making sure the batter is smooth and lump-free.
    bowl filled with batter for black sesame mochi cake
  • Pour into 9×13 pan. 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.)
    batter for black sesame mochi cake and garnish around the edges in 9 x 13" pan
  • Slide carefully into oven and bake until done, about 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 for 1 hour (at least) at room temperature. Cut with a serrated knife into 24 squares.

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 mint at 350F.  
**To successfully halve this recipe, 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 stays the same at 1 hour.
Keyword Black Sesame, Cake, Mochi
All Recipes, Asian Inspired, Dessert, Popular Recipes, Potluck, Snacks

71 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 5 stars
    This was so tasty! I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to convert this to a matcha recipe? Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious, easy. Not too sweet! Highly recommend

  5. 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.

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

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

  8. 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!

  9. 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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  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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??

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

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

  23. 1st time baking this black sesame Mochi cake using sesame powder. I doubled the amount of black sesame powder. So easy & delicious 👍 highly recommended.

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

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

  26. 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!

  27. 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?

  28. how thin is the batter?

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

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  33. 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!

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

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

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

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