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Sakura Mochi Cupcakes

It's March 3rd, and it's Girl's Day or Hinamatsuri in Japan. Everywhere you go, you'll likely see beautiful emperor and empress dolls displayed on a red cloth-covered tiered stand and pink and white rice crackers for sale. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember my parents had a very nice set of dolls for me, but they never did put them away. It was always out in the living room. I guess they never believed in the superstition that a daughter would get married late or never marry at all if you didn't put the dolls away right after the third. Turns out, I ended up getting married early, and unfathomably, am still married to this day, to the same guy.

I decided to make some birthday cupcakes for my neighbor and since it's Girl's Day and soon to be cherry blossom season, sakura (cherry blossom) cupcakes would be fun and pretty. I wondered if I added mochiko (glutinous rice flour), whether the cupcakes would be more glutinous, like mochi? So I tried it and added some preserved sakura to the batter, too. The cupcakes came out very light and fluffy, but not glutinous or sticky. I also could have added more sakura blossoms for a more pronounced cherry blossom flavor. Next time. But for now...

Happy Birthday to my lovely neighbor and Happy Girl's Day to all!

Sakura Mochi Cupcakes

Makes about 22 cupcakes

These cupcakes don't rise very much, but they are light and fluffy. I bought the preserved sakura at the Honma Store in Kappabashi.

165g butter (3/4 cup)

2 cups sugar

2 cups cake flour

1 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 preserved cherry blossoms, rinsed, dried and chopped (add more for more cherry blossom flavor)

Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together cake flour, mochi rice flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Add eggs, vanilla extract and cherry blossoms to the creamed butter mixture and beat well. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the milk. Pour into cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. Place cupcakes on a wire rack and frost when completely cool.

Buttercream Frosting

150g butter (about 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)

200g powdered sugar (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

22 preserved cherry blossoms, rinsed, dried and then dusted with powdered salt or kosher salt

Beat together all ingredients, except for the cherry blossoms, until light and fluffy. Add more milk, a teaspoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick. Frost each cupcake and place one cherry blossom on top for decoration.


Posted By: Jan Opdahl
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Sakura Mochi Cupcakes

Makes about 22 cupcakes

These cupcakes don't rise very much, but they are light and fluffy. I bought the preserved sakura at the Honma Store in Kappabashi.

165g butter (3/4 cup)

2 cups sugar

2 cups cake flour

1 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 preserved cherry blossoms, rinsed, dried and chopped (add more for more cherry blossom flavor)


Cooking Process:

Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together cake flour, mochi rice flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Add eggs, vanilla extract and cherry blossoms to the creamed butter mixture and beat well. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the milk. Pour into cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. Place cupcakes on a wire rack and frost when completely cool.

Buttercream Frosting

150g butter (about 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)

200g powdered sugar (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

22 preserved cherry blossoms, rinsed, dried and then dusted with powdered salt or kosher salt

Beat together all ingredients, except for the cherry blossoms, until light and fluffy. Add more milk, a teaspoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick.

How to Serve:

Frost each cupcake and place one cherry blossom on top for decoration.

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