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5 from 1 vote

Black Sesame Peanut Mochi Cake

Cynthia suggests adding plops of jelly or chocolate chips to the cake. I bet you can use tahini instead of the peanut butter! You can’t go wrong. This cake is virtually indestructible. I adapted the recipe from Cynthia’s original recipe for Peanut Butter Mochi Cake in A Common Table (Rodale Press, 2018)All the “optional” additions are mine.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8


Filling options (choose 1 or a little bit of both, you want about 7 tablespoons total)

    Sesame filling

    • 1/4 cup raw black sesame seeds
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature, cut into dice

    Peanut butter filling

    • 6 tablespoons salted peanut butter smooth or crunchy
    • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar


    • 1 1/2 cups 225 grams sweet rice flour, such as Mochiko Blue Star or Bob’s Red Mill
    • 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar use less for the sesame filling
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt optional
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup neutral oil or 7 tablespoons neutral oil plus 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
    • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar optional
    • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds optional


    • If making the black sesame filling, in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds. After about 3 minutes, when there’s steam coming up or if they’re popping, shake the pan. Because the seeds are dark, you can’t tell then they’re done so let them cool, taste one and keep cooking. Total cooking time depends on the size of the pan, too. If anything, hedge on under-toasting. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then whirl the sesame seeds and sugar in a small processor to a very fine texture. Add the butter then whirl into a wet paste. Transfer to bowl. You should have about 7 tablespoons. 
    • If making the peanut butter filling, whisk together the peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Set aside.
    • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, letting the paper go up the sides so you can easily lift the cake out later on. 
    • In a medium bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, sugar, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla, then whisk until smooth. Don’t worry about overworking the batter and making the cake that’s because sweet rice flour doesn’t contain gluten — mochi cake is dense to begin with! Small lumps will appear in the batter at first, but they will dissipate as you wish.
    • Pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish. Used 2 small spoons (demitasse-size spoons works well) to drop spoonfuls of the filling evenly across the batter, then pour the remaining batter over the filling. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
    • While the mochi is baking, place the peanuts and brown sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until crumbly; add the 1 tablespoon of black sesame and plus 3 or 4 times to combine. Remove the mochi cake from the oven, sprinkle of the crushed peanuts across the top, then return the cake to the oven and bake until the center bounces back when pressed, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool about 20 minutes before trying to lift the parchment paper to remove the cake from the pan. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. The mochi will slices cleanly when cool, but is great warm. 
    • Store in an airtight container and keep at room temp if cool, or refrigerate. Microwave pieces on high with 15-second blasts to refresh.