I couldn’t be back in Hawaii for Mother’s Day, but I figured I’d try out a recipe that I can make the next time I do see my mom. One of her all-time favorite desserts is a giant mochi, filled with a whole strawberry, whipped cream, and fluffy cake. You can find different variations of strawberry-filled mochi in Hawaii but the one from JJ Bakery is her favorite. So, I decided… why not try to recreate it!
This dessert is surprisingly simple, but I will admit, I sort of took a shortcut. To make the mochi, I used a Japanese product that my family just calls “mochi powder.” The whole package is in Japanese (which I can’t translate, but a photo is below), so I’m not entirely sure what it’s called, but it’s basically white granules that you mix with water to create a sort of dough. You roll that out into balls and boil in water and you’ve got mochi! My whole family is obsessed with this product.
If you don’t simply have “mochi powder” (which makes sense), there are plenty of recipes online that show you how to make mochi. You could even try to repurpose my Mochi Ice Cream recipe. As long as you can roll it out or create sheets, you’re good to go. Another note: the higher sugar content in your mochi will help to keep it soft for longer. Something to experiment with!
Once you have your mochi figured out, you’ll want to make your cake. I decided to go with a Japanese style shortcake, so that it will more closely taste and resemble strawberry shortcake, but really any white cake will work. With this shortcake recipe, make sure that you *completely* mix the ingredients together. The first time I made this, the flour did not mix in well and it was more meringue than cake. Still delicious, but not what I wanted.
I baked my cake in a rimmed baking sheet, so that I could cut out thinner circles. Unless you’re making giant mochis, you only have so much room, especially considering you’re placing a whole strawberry in there!
Once you have your mochi and your cake, the rest is simple! You’ll want to wash and cut the tops of your strawberries. Then, you’ll want to make your whipped cream. The sweetness level of the whipped cream is up to you, I don’t like adding too much sugar so feel free to add more than the recipe calls for.
To shape the mochi: Take a circle or sheet of mochi and place it in the palm of your hand. Place a dollop of whipped cream, then insert your strawberry, with the tip facing the mochi. Then, place a piece of cake on top. Pull the mochi over and tuck under the cake. If you can’t fully seal it, that’s totally fine, you just want to tuck the ends underneath.
And that’s it! You’ll want to make the mochi as you eat them since they won’t last longer than 2 days (the mochi starts to get hard). Or you can use the leftover ingredients to make little strawberry shortcake tea cakes (like I did)! Also super easy, very yummy, and uses up whatever ingredients you have left.
Strawberry Shortcake Mochi
For the cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cake flour (approx. 100 g)
- 2 tbsp whole milk, plus 2 tsp
- 1/8 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 stick, melted and cooled
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, or more
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar, to taste
- whole fresh strawberries
- prepared mochi of your choice
Make the cake:
- Grease and flour a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 330°F.
- Separate your egg whites and egg yolks.
- Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer). Add 1/3 of the sugar and start beating the egg whites. Continue for one minute, then add another 1/3 of the sugar. Repeat until all the sugar is added.
- Continue beating the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk in the egg yolks and combine.
- Fold in the flour gradually. Do not overmix, but make sure that the flour is dissolved and not clumped in the middle.
- Mix the melted butter and milk into a small bowl. Add a little of the egg mixture to the small bowl and mix until fully combined. Then, add all of it (the butter and milk) back to the egg mixture. Combine carefully.
- Pour cake batter into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. An inserted toothpick should come out clean.
- When the cake is done baking, allow it to cool completely before cutting.
Prepare the filling and mochi:
- Prepare the mochi of your choice. I boiled mine, as usual, then rolled them out into flat discs. Use cornstarch to prevent sticking. (Note: adding sugar to your mochi will keep it softer for longer).
- Wash strawberries and cut-off tops.
- To make the whipped cream: Place the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Use more or less sugar, depending on your taste preferences. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer), whip until stiff peaks form.
Assemble your mochi:
- Place one mochi disc onto the palm of your hand.
- Drop a dollop of whipped cream into the center of the mochi disc. Insert a whole strawberry, tip downward, into the whipped cream.
- Cut out small discs of cake. I used a shot glass to get a perfect size. Place a disc of cake on top of the strawberry.
- Carefully pull the mochi down and tuck the ends under the cake. You can fully seal them, but this may be hard to do without breaking the surface of the mochi.
- Place in a cupcake liner and enjoy while fresh!