Makin’ Friends… With Cake!

Although I moved to the Very Big City all by myself (well, I brought Bowser, but he’s the kind of company that just makes a racket until I feed him), I manage to not feel lonely most of the time. In fact, less than a week after I got here, I was lucky enough to go to a fantabulous food-blogger-and-friends-type picnic hosted by the super sweet Alejandra of Always Order Dessert.

Of course, I HAD to provide something sweet.

Look familiar?
Look familiar?

Actually, my first idea was a little (not actually little) something called a drunken watermelon, which, in theory, is a watermelon with a hold drilled in it and a fifth of alcohol (vodka is recommended but I went with tequila…TEQUILA!) drained into the fruit. It’s supposed to absorb into the fruit overnight and then you SHOULD be able to slice it up for a sweet, juicy, alcoholic picnic treat.

The usual sweet-spects.
The usual sweet-spects.

I tried to boozify the watermelon. It so didn’t work. I ended up just hacking away at the giant thing for an hour with my biggest knife and dousing a huge bowl of bright pink chunks with the tequila (not all of it, maybe a little over a half of the bottle, the chunks would have been SWIMMING if I’d added more), then lugging the whole thing to Central Park. Where it was definitely appreciated!

There be berries in them cakelets!
There be berries in them cakelets!

As you can see, the pictures here are not of watermelon. Though I do recommend soaking watermelon in tequila (and then running it in the blender at the end of a hot and sweaty day…oh yeah). Nope, these are…wait for it…mochi cupcakes!

Yup, berries.
Yup, berries.

Made differently enough from my original chocolate batch to merit a separate post, I decided! Also I am bored and figured I’d better get back into the habit of posting. But also these were really good. And almost no one else thought to bring dessert. Plus everyone loves cupcakes! And chocolate! And mochi!

These guys are different in that I put a big fat blueberry in the center of each. I also didn’t use Dutch press cocoa powder because NO ONE HAD IT. At least not in the three or so grocery stores in Brooklyn that I checked. And I didn’t feel like going all the way to Manhattan and overpaying for some at Whole Foods or wherever. So I used plain old not-dark cocoa powder. I also infused the soy milk that I used in then with lavender buds. Which explains the lavender in the pictures. Chocolate, lavender and blueberry are one of my favorite combinations and everyone seemed to agree that it was a lovely trio indeed!

OH I also made these bite-sized so they’d go a little farther as far as sharing goes. And because I wanted the blueberry in the center of each to be tasted and not get lost.

Aw, so fancy!
Aw, so fancy!

Chocolate Mochi Cakelets with Lavender and Blueberries

  1. 12 oz. soy milk (regular milk would work too)
  2. 1 Tbsp dried lavender buds
  3. 4 oz. butter, melted & cooled (you can use Earth Balance to make these dairy-free if need be)
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1/2 cup cocoa powder (dark/Dutch process if you can get it)
  7. 5 1/3 oz. Mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  8. 1 generous tsp baking powder
  9. Several large blueberries (at least 36), washed and patted dry
  10. Cacao nibs, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the milk and lavender in a small saucepan and simmer. Cook down and condense to about half the amount of milk. Remove from heat, cover and let the lavender steep while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the cocoa, Mochiko and baking powder, stirring just to incorporate. Strain the milk and add it, stirring until the lumps are almost all gone. Fill lined mini-muffin tins halfway with the batter, place a blueberry in the center of each and cover with another small spoonful of batter. Sprinkle with a few cacao nibs per cakelet and bake 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean (watch out for that blueberry!), cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool completely.

I’m pretty sure everyone totally loved these. Most people have yet to try or even hear about mochi cakes, which is a shame because they are totally awesome (though people hear chocolate, mochi and cupcakes and they definitely get excited!). And they are the perfect picnic dessert, considering their ability to travel so well.


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