As a baker at heart, and someone who has close friends that follow a gluten free diet, I am always curious to experiment with new gluten free baking ingredients, mixes, and recipes. So, when I saw Trader Joe’s had a new chocolate mochi cake mix, I was very intrigued.
I have never actually had mochi before, (call me a failure of a millennial), but know it is a type of Japanese sticky rice flour that has become popular in desserts such as mochi coated ice cream.
Looking into mochi a little more, I found Bon Appetit Online to describe it as “Squishy, elastic, and creamy.” Not exactly a rave review, but one that made me curious to see how that could possibly play out in a cake. After all, Trader Joe’s does tend to put alot of thought into their products. This gave me high hopes.
What’s In the Box?
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Mochi Cake Mix is pretty straight forward. There is one bag of the cake mix, and one bag of the peanut butter frosting mix. For the cake, you will only need butter, water, and eggs.
You need to melt the butter in the microwave, mix it with the egg and water, and then add the mix. It is an extra step from the usual cake mixes (which usually use oil so no need to microwave), but I know that melted butter instead of oil can be the secret trick to great cakes from box mixes!
I was also excited to see when I opened the bag that there were big chunks of chocolate in it—even if the cake isn’t great, chunks of chocolate make everything better in my opinion!
The batter was similar to normal gluten free cake batters (slightly grainy in appearance), but other than that was the normal cake-batter consistency.
First things first, let’s make sure you have all the proper ingredients. There is nothing worse than starting a recipe only to realize you’re missing a necessary ingredient.
As I mentioned above, you’ll get a package of Chocolate Mochi Cake Mix and 1 Packet of Peanut Butter Frosting Mix in the box. As with most boxed cake mixes, you’ll need to combine the prepackaged mixes with a few wet ingredients to make the cake.
Prior to making this cake mix, I recommend checking your refrigerator or adding the following items to your grocery list.
- 1 & 1/2 stick (12 Tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Water
Making this cake couldn’t have been easier. Since I knew I’d have to mix both the cake and the frosting I decided to use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
Once mixed, you pour the batter into an 8×8” pan and bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes (according to the box). However, no one likes an over-baked and dried out cake and so I always watch the oven closely.
After 30 minutes, it looked baked. I was hesitant to take it out, though, because maybe mochi bakes differently? After 35 minutes, I knew it needed to come out.
For the frosting, you mix the bag of peanut butter powder with a stick of butter. Yes, that’s it. Maybe my butter was too cold, or I needed more mixing power, but the frosting was hard and not very frosting-like.
I added 2 tbsp of milk, mixed more, and this helped significantly. Once the cake was cooled, I spread it on easily.
I currently have family in town, so it was a great chance to get feedback from a wide audience: My 95 year old grandmother who “hates chocolate”, my uncle who will take double chocolate and peanut butter anything, my aunt who never bakes, my mother who has never had a gluten free cake she likes, and me who is used to gluten free and pretty unbiased when it comes to cakes!
Overall, though, we had similar opinions. The cake was just on the verge of being too dry, and lacked much chocolate flavor. It had a dense texture somewhat like a cross between a brownie and a cake, but personally I would have preferred one or the other.
There was a distinct chewiness to it from the mochi flour, but it was neither super great nor off-putting; it just was interesting.
The frosting pretty much tasted like sweet butter. The cake needed something to top it off, but I feel like Trader Joe’s missed the mark on either the mix or the instructions. Maybe with less butter and the addition of milk it would have been better.
Trader Joes Chocolate Mochi Cake Nutrition
Trader Joes Chocolate Mochi Cake Ingredients
CAKE MIX (SUGAR, RICE FLOUR, SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHUNKS (SUGAR UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN [EMULSIFIER], NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR), COCOA POWDER PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, TAPIOCA STARCH, NON FAT MILK POWDER, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CORNSTARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), CANOLA OIL, SALT, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR.
FROSTING MIX (POWDERED SUGAR [SUGAR, CORNSTARCH], PARTIALLY DEFATTED PEANUT FLOUR, NATURAL FLAVOR, SEA SALT, CARAMEL COLOR).
CONTAINS: MILK, SOY, PEANUT
Overall, did the entire cake get eaten? Yes. Was it easy enough to make? Yes. Would I buy the mix again? Probably not.
For a gluten free cake mix, you really can’t expect much. I was hoping that the mochi was some secret super ingredient that was going to make this cake great, but I didn’t love it.
If you aren’t following a gluten free diet, I would suggest purchasing a different cake mix unless you are just curious about mochi!