This is dessert like you've never seen it before: Japanese raindrop cakes — transparent bubbles of deliciousness — are an actual thing. They're coming to the United States, and the game has just been leveled up. They're as gorgeous as they are delicious (and surprisingly enough, pretty good for you, too). Technically called "mizu shingen mochi," or “water droplet cake,” it melts and evaporates if left out for even just 30 minutes at room temperature. If you were interested in trying it, it's making its debut at the food flea market Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, New York.
The shiny, transparent dessert is made of mineral water and agar, a vegan alternative to gelatin. Originally made from spring water from the Japanese alps and for a time, only available in two Japanese cafes, it's become somewhat of a foodie folklore that's really picked up popularity around the world.
New Yorker Darren Wong was the mastermind that decided it was time to bring the recipe to the United States, but it came with a pretty unique set of challenges: "The cake has to maintain its shape but still have the texture of water,” Wong told the Huffington Post. Served with some sugar and kinako (a roasted soybean flour that is often served with types of mochi), it's very delicate, and basically tastes like water. The appeal, however, is that it essentially just slides around on your tongue. It's also hydrating, and pretty magical to look at. “There are very few foods that engage this many senses at the same time,” Wong said.
As for the taste, one blogger compared it to a "water-flavored Jell-O." If you were looking to create your own recipe, here's an excerpt from The Cooking of Joy .
2/3 cup spring water pinch of vanilla sugar about 1/8 tsp. of agar powder
1. Mix the water and sugar in a microwaveable measuring cup.2. Microwave 30 seconds and stir until the sugar dissolves. While stirring, sprinkle in the agar powder.3. Continue heating and stirring, at 30 second intervals, until the agar is completely dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes.4. Pour the liquid into the jelly molds and pop any bubbles you see.5. Refrigerate the mochi for several hours or overnight.6. To serve, carefully drop the mochi out of their molds and serve immediately with the garnish of your choice.
So there you have it! Whether you're looking for a cool new dish to try at home, are interested in healthy options for dessert, or seriously want to impress your friends and family at an upcoming get-together, this cake will probably do the trick. Handing what is essentially just a large raindrop on a plate will definitely be a conversation starter, and will probably make you look more cultured than anything you've tried before.
Image: Facebook Video; Giphy (1)