Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The cupcake that started it all: red bean mochi cupcakes with green tea frosting

Besides baking, watching TV is another one of my guilty hobbies - and fall TV is finally here! Last night was the premiere of How I Met Your Mother's final season. Like many others, I definitely noticed a drop in quality over the seasons, but I really enjoyed the back-to-back premiere episodes. I have high hopes that the writers will bring their A-game for the final season and end the show on a good note!

Probably the very first thing I made that got me into consistently baking every week was this recipe: mochi cupcakes filled with red bean paste with a green tea frosting. I was so happy with the outcome that it spurred me to keep baking more things. My friends will remember that I went on a green tea baking spree for awhile after this - cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc. Obviously, I have moved on from only baking with green tea, but these cupcakes will always have a special place in my heart.

Since I made these cupcakes before I started my blog, I decided to make them again and make a post about them! Using mochi flour (sweet rice flour) instead of regular flour really gives a different texture to the cupcake - it's more moist and spongy! For the red bean paste, I used canned paste instead of making my own from scratch. I remember my mother used to make an amazing green bean version when I was younger, but it would take all day to make. As for the frosting, I simply whipped up my favorite buttercream recipe and added a ton of green matcha powder to give it a green color and the green tea taste.

I didn't expect it, but these taste just like Chinese New Year's cake (nian gao), which my mom also made all of the time, not just at New Year's time. Brought back a lot of childhood memories with a single bite...

I made two version of the cupcakes in this batch - one with cupcake liners and one without. I actually liked the ones without the liners better - they came out of the tin easily and were very cute. The ones in the cupcake liners stuck to the paper and were difficult to eat (but still tasty!), although it might be because I used cheap liners.

After taking a week off from baking (between going to Monterey and then Yosemite all last week), I really enjoyed getting back into making things. Stay tuned for my next challenge, where I attempt to tackle dairy-free baking!

Mochi Cupcakes! - makes 24-30 cupcakes - recipe adapted from here

  • 1 box (16 oz) Mochiko Rice Flour
  • 1.25 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Canned sweet red bean paste (can be found at specialty Asian grocery stores)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • ~2-3 cups of powdered sugar
  • ~1 cup of almond milk
  • ~4 tsp of green tea powder (matcha powder, also found at Asian grocery stores)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line the cupcake tins (if not using liners, grease the tins with cooking spray).
  2. Mix all of the cupcake ingredients together (except for the red bean) until just combined. Don't use an electric mixer, just combine it by hand. 
  3. Fill just enough batter in the tins that the bottom is covered and then add 1-2 tsp flattened ball of red bean paste. Add more batter on top until the cupcake is 3/4 filled. 
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 30-35 minutes or until the top starts to turn from yellow to brown. 
  5. Make the frosting! Combine all ingredients together. If it's too watery, add more sugar and if it's too stiff, add more milk. How much green tea powder is also dependent on how strong you want it. (I had to add a lot to get even a light flavor of green tea to come through). Mix with electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
  6. Wait for cupcakes to cool and then frost away!


  1. Made these yesterday! They were SOOO GOOOD!!! Well, except that I royally screwed up the frosting, but that was my fault.

  2. Hi Ally! I've been stalking your blog since I love baking with mochi. I recently made this cupcake and it turned out pretty good. I would definitely make some modifications the next time I bake it again. I may try taro or sweet potato instead of canned red bean (I should've used fresh red beans since the canned read beans were a bit too sweet for me). Please check it out on my blog when you have a moment. Thank you so much for posting this!


    1. Taro or sweet potato would be interesting! Let me know how that turns out. I have a few more recipes on my blog with mochi - mochi brownies and cookies! If you like mochi, you should try it out!


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