It doesn’t take Father’s Day to have me thinking of my late dad. He’s with me on a daily basis. I get my curiosity and appreciation of food from him, as well as my creativity and work ethic–all things essential to being a pastry chef. He passed away long before I began my career in the culinary world, so he missed out on all the fun, all the highs and lows, all the fruits of my labor. And he would’ve loved it all, would’ve gotten a kick out of my occasional television appearances, the extravagant gingerbread showpieces I conjured up for the holidays, the beautiful wedding cakes. Even before I got to do the showy stuff, for sure Dad would’ve parked himself at the kitchen table to watch me practice butchering endless chickens, encouraging me to perfect my knife skills.
From beginning Dad was my biggest cheerleader, no matter what the endeavor. All he wanted was for me to give it my best shot, even if I failed–and I did that quite often, especially with my early baking experiments, like my unfortunate “microwave” zucchini bread (the name alone says it all). Poor Dad gamely took a bite out of that pathetically pale, rubbery, barely edible bakery disaster and tried to convince me it “wasn’t that bad,” then kindly suggested I should probably avoid “baking” anything in the microwave in the future. He even came to my rescue when I ran short of frosting to finish my first coconut layer cake (for the record you really need two cans of frosting to properly fill and frost a 9 inch layer cake!), whipping out a tub of Cool Whip from the refrigerator to help fill in the gaps. Dad was crafty that way.
So on this Father’s Day, in honor of the man who instilled in me a sense of adventure and taught me how to roll with the punches, I’m making my Browned Butter Miso Coconut Mochi Cake. I first made this cake when I was in Maine, to celebrate my friend Brenda’s birthday. But I think Dad would’ve really loved it too, particularly given his affinity for Japanese cuisine (Dad was born in Japan). It has all of his favorite elements–umami from the miso and browned butter, the sweet coconut flavor and the tender, chewy texture of mochi. And, I guarantee it’s a vast improvement from my canned frosting/Cool Whip creation!
Happy Father’s Day!
Browned Butter Miso Coconut Mochi Cake
Yield: One 13″x9″ pan
- 4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 Tbsp. miso paste
- 1 box Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour (1 lb)
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 cans (14 oz.) coconut milk
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. dark rum
- 1 cup sweet flaked coconut
On medium heat cook the butter until it is a nutty brown color. Remove from the heat and stir in the miso paste until fully incorporated, then cool the mixture to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, sugar and baking powder, creating a well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and rum, then pour it into the center of the well. Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together until just mixed, then stir in the butter mixture and coconut.
Pour the batter into a greased 13″x 9″ pan and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 55-60 mins. Cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.