Get ready to enjoy a special treat with this Purple Ube Mochi Cake! It's a delicious dessert that's easy to make, and it's perfect for those who can't have gluten or dairy. The best part? It's a beautiful purple color, and it has a soft and chewy texture that you'll love.
Wow your guests by serving this unique mochi cake at parties and gatherings. Cut it into bite-sized pieces for easy snacking, or arrange it on a platter with other dessert options.
Ingredients Used to Make Purple Ube Mochi Cake (Baked Nian Gao)
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Glutinous Rice Flour - this goes by many names. You'll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite brand) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. ***Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
- Tapioca flour (flour but also called tapioca starch) - Arrowroot starch and Potato starch can also be used instead. I DO NOT recommend using cornstarch for this recipe.
- Ube, also known as purple yam, is a vibrant ingredient widely used in Asian cuisine, especially desserts. With its natural purple hue, this sweet potato variety adds a beautiful pop of color to the mochi cake. If you can't find ube in stores, Japanese Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan Sweet Potato are interchangeable in this recipe.
- Sugar of choice – you can use granulated white, or raw cane sugar in this recipe. You can also use sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener in this recipe for a slightly lower-sugar / lower-carb option.
- Coconut Oil - You can use regular coconut oil, or refined coconut oil, like this one, which has a neutral scent and flavor (this is great for people who do not like the distinct smell and flavor of coconut. You can also use other oils in this recipe such as light olive oil, avocado oil, or regular canola oil. You can also use plant-based, dairy-free butter or regular butter instead.
- Milk of Choice – I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk (dairy or dairy free) works in this recipe.
See All My Mochi Cake Recipes (HERE)
How to Make Purple Ube Mochi Cake (Baked Nian Gao)
First, wash and steam the fresh ube (skin on) in a steamer for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick can be easily inserted into the center. Mash using a fork while the ube is still warm.
In a clean bowl, mix glutinous rice flour (mochiko flour) with tapioca flour and sugar.
Knead the cooked ube into the dry ingredients best you can, so that the ube is well incorporated with the flour. Set aside.
Stir the coconut oil into the batter
Pour the hot almond milk into the flour mixture and use a whisk to mix well. Stir the coconut oil into the batter
Pour batter into the greased cake pan or oven safe pan, and bake in oven 350F for 50-60 minutes , or until the middle is set and the edges are crispy. (for reference: I used a 7.5 inch round Pyrex glass dish)
**For softer traditional texture, you can also steam batter on medium heat for 45-60 mins for large cakes, 30-40 minutes for smaller cakes, or until the center of the mochi cake is set.
Let cool completely before serving, or cool the cakes in the freezer for 2-3 hours which helps to get clean slices of cakes.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- The add in options for this baked mochi cake recipe are pretty much unlimited and you can easily customize the flavor and texture to fit your own tastes! Here are some awesome ways you can make this sweet rice cake your own
- Add more texture! Adding chopped nuts, seeds, or dried fruits or oats is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and flavor in rice cakes. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also add chocolate chips.
- Turn them into muffins – instead of baking this recipe in a round pan, divide the batter into muffin pans and steam/bake. You’ll have to adjust the baking time (about 20-25 minutes).
- Change up the liquid. Try using full fat coconut milk instead of almond milk. The fat in the coconut milk will translate to a silky, glossy rice cake that is more decadent than just almond milk.
How to Store Purple Ube Mochi Cake
- Mochi cakes can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Enjoy them fresh within this time for the best taste and texture.
- While it's possible to refrigerate mochi cakes, rice flour desserts like mochi tend to develop a waxy hard texture when stored in the fridge for more than 1-2 days.
- If your mochi cakes lose their soft and chewy texture after refrigeration, you can re-steam or pan-fry them until hot and completely translucent to revive their original texture.
- For longer storage, consider wrapping the sweet rice cakes completely in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag and freezing them. When ready to enjoy, defrost the frozen mochi cakes at room temperature. Frozen mochi cakes do not require re-steaming.
Final Tips & Reminders
- Glutinous rice flour is known by several names. In Asian grocery stores, you'll find it labeled as Glutinous Rice Flour or Mochiko Flour, but sometimes it's called Sweet White Rice Flour. Be sure not to confuse glutinous rice flour from regular white rice flour or brown rice flour, as they are not interchangeable!
- When using liquid ingredients in mochi recipes like this one, it's best if the liquid is hot (but not boiling). The heat of the liquid helps the mochi / glutinous flour become even more chewy and also makes the final product develop a glossy sheen.
Deliciously Purple Ube Mochi Cake (Baked Nian Gao)
- 1 ½ cup mochiko flour, sweet rice or glutinous rice flour (175g), read notes*
- ⅓ cup tapioca flour (45g)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar of choice (67g), or a sugar free alternative, such as granulated monk fruit sweetener
- 1 cup ube, purple yam or purple sweet potato (228g), cooked and mashed while warm. Was about 2 large yams
- 1 cup almond milk, regular milk or water (228g)
- 3 Tbsp light olive oil or melted coconut oil (42 g)
- First, wash and steam the fresh ube (skin on) in a steamer for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick can be easily inserted into the center. Mash using a fork while the ube is still warm.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8 x 8 inch square cake (I used a Pyrex glass dish) with some oil (spray oil works fine, too).
- In a clean bowl, mix glutinous rice flour (mochiko flour) with tapioca flour and sugar.
- Knead the cooked ube into the dry ingredients best you can, so that the ube is well incorporated with the flour. Set aside.
- Heat almond milk in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup until hot, about 2 minutes. (This is an optional step to make the mochi chewier. Read notes***)
- Pour the hot almond milk into the flour mixture and use a whisk to mix well.
- Stir the coconut oil into the batter
- Pour batter into the greased cake pan or oven safe pan, and bake in oven 350F for 50-60 minutes , or until the middle is set and the edges are crispy.
- For softer texture, you can also steam the mochi batter on medium heat for 45-60 mins, or until the center of the mochi cake is set.
- Let cool completely before serving, or cool the cakes in the freezer for 2-3 hours which helps to get clean slices of cakes.