A cake that’s visually stunning, kissed with the taste tea and almost calorie-free? Sounds too good to be true, right?
I recently came across Mizu Shingen Mochi, also known as Raindrop or Water Cake. Despite its beauty and non-caloric perks, this trendy cake isn’t the easiest to find. After a taste, I got to work creating a tea-infused version that will easily cure any curiosity you might have about this one-of-a-kind Japanese treat.
You’ll want to start by using natural spring or mineral water. Since there are so few ingredients in this cake and because it’s basically a ball of H2O, use only the best you can find. This is a good time to buy those fancy, artisan brands with the pretty labels.These vegan cakes are made with water, agar and sugar–that’s it! If you have them, spherical ice cube trays will make for a pretty presentation. In a pinch, just use wide diameter drinking glasses with a rounded bottom–even a standard teacup or wine glass will work well.Also known as kuromitsu, store-bought black sugar syrup is an essential ingredient in these cakes. This syrup tastes like a lighter version of molasses minus the bitter notes. I decided to make a homemade version with concentrated black tea here. My syrup tastes almost exactly like kuromitsu, except that it’s more fragrant and complex. To make the syrup, I like to use a mix of Assam and Ceylon teas for a balance of malty and sweet. An English or Irish Breakfast tea will also work well here, just keep in mind that the stronger the tea you use, the bolder the syrup will taste.
Kinako, or roasted soy bean flour, tastes like a less oily, finely ground peanut butter powder. This ingredient adds a savory dimension to the dessert and provides a complementary contrast in flavor and texture aside the tea syrup. I like serving these cakes in decorative dishes that have designs worth highlighting. The more standard presentation is to serve the cake in boat-like, wooden takoyaki plates. With or without the fancy plates, this stunning dessert allows for intense taste of black tea to shine!
Raindrop Cake with Black Tea Syrup
Makes 6 small cakes.
4 cups best-quality spring or mineral water
2 tsp agar powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1 rounded Tbsp black tea leaves or 3 black tea bags (I used a mix of Assam and Ceylon)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 sphere ice cube trays or 6 wide bottom drinking glasses
fine mesh strainer
1. Make the Cakes. Place the agar powder in the pot. Add 2 Tbsp of water and use a rubber spatula to mix the powder with the water. Gradually add the rest of the water, making sure to help the powder dissolve evenly as water is added. Mix in the sugar.
2. Place this mixture over high heat and bring to a boil, mixing continually. When the mixture comes to a boil, mix it for 1 minute, then take the mixture off the heat. Let this cool to just over room temperature.
3. Spoon or pour the mixture into the molds or glasses, then allow to set in the fridge for about an hour, until fully gelled.
4. Make the Syrup. Steep the tea in the hot water for 5-6 minutes. Strain out the leaves. Place the sugars and tea concentrate in a pan. Gently mix the sugar in with the water, then bring this to a boil over high heat. When the sugars dissolve, turn off the heat. Let this cool to room temperature, then mix in the vanilla. Set this aside until ready to plate the cakes.
5. Plate the Cakes. To serve, flip the mold or glass over to release the cake. Place the cake on a dish, then finish with tea syrup and some kinako.