Cherry Blossom Raindrop Cake

Japanese raindrop cake filled with cherry blossoms. This unique low-calorie dessert, known as mizu shingen mochi, is made of just agar powder and water.
photo of syrup being poured over a cherry blossom raindrop cake

I’ve been really inspired by sakura season. My social media feeds have been filled with beautiful cherry blossom pictures. During my recent trip to Taiwan, there were so many sakura-themed snacks, drinks, and desserts. I tried to eat as many as possible. (The stories from my Taiwan trip are saved to my Instagram profile if you missed them).

Three years ago, the raindrop cake was introduced to the US by Chef Darren Wong at Smorgasburg in New York. If you recall, I made my homemade version here. Since then, I’ve had the version at Smorgasburg in New York and seen the dessert pop up at many other dessert cafes.

While I thought my homemade version was pretty successful and tasted just like the ones I had in NY, one thing that bothered me was that my version was not crystal clear in appearance. I researched making raindrop cakes for months before finally figuring out that the issue was the agar powder available to me. In Japan, they have a type of agar powder called cool agar and this is the secret to the crystal clear appearance. I found a few sellers on Amazon but it is expensive. During my trip to Japan last year, I purchased a bag of cool agar powder from Amazon for a much cheaper price. If you are not in Japan, you can still make this dessert with the agar powder available in the US– your cake won’t be as crystal clear but it will still be pretty.
overhead photo of cherry blossom raindrop cakes

What is a raindrop cake?

Raindrop cake is a Japanese dessert known as mizu shingen mochi. It is a jelly-like dessert made only with mineral water and agar powder, and resembles a giant raindrop. Because it is made of mostly water and a little agar powder, it has almost no calories. It is traditionally served with kinako (roasted soy bean flour) and kuromitsu, a Japanese black sugar syrup that literally translates as “black honey.”

The raindrop cake dissolves in your mouth, which is a unique and fun sensation. When eaten with the syrup and flour, this dessert is refreshing, light and sweet.

The raindrop cake is meant to be eaten right away. It will start to melt when it sits at room temperature for too long.
close-up photo of a spoon breaking into a raindrop cake

Special Ingredients and Tools

While this cake is very easy to make, it does require purchasing some ingredients and tools you may not have in your pantry.

  • To get the shape, I bought this Freshware 6 Cavities Half Circles Silicone Mold*. You can make six at a time and they slide out very easily.
  • Agar powder can be found at most Asian supermarkets or on Amazon. Make sure you buy one that is pure agar powder (check the ingredients list to see if anything else is added). Asian supermarkets often also sell agar powder mixes with other added ingredients used for making puddings, which will not work for this recipe. I have tested this recipe with both the one in the photo below and the NOW foods* brand I purchased on Amazon.
  • If you want to use cool agar powder, I did find one seller on Amazon* but it is a little expensive. However, it is a very big bag (500g) so you can make quite a few cakes with one bag (about 200).
  • Roasted soy bean flour* and black sugar syrup* can easily be found at a Japanese market or purchased on Amazon.overhead photo of ingredients needed to make a raindrop cake
  • For the sakura blossoms, I used these pickled sakura blossoms* which I purchased from Amazon. I purchased two different ones but the ones linked are the ones I preferred because they had larger blooms and the salt came off easier. They are preserved in salt, so they need to be soaked in water to remove the salt before using. Make sure to soak them for a few hours ahead of time so that most of the salt is removed. The blossoms do retain a slight bit of salt, but it adds a nice flavor to the cakes.overhead photo of a package of sakura blossoms

*The product links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

Cool Agar

Cool agar powder is a premium type of agar powder. As I mentioned above, cool agar is not as readily available in the US as it is in Japan. I found a few sellers on Amazon*, but it is a little expensive. This is the one I purchased on Amazon while in Japan.
overhead photo of package of cool agar
The same one is available for US shipping though it does cost more. However, it is a big bag and you can make about 200 cakes with it.

You can also make this cake with regular agar powder available in the US. The taste and texture come out the same, the only difference is the appearance. Using cool agar will give these cakes a crystal clear appearance. Using regular agar powder will make the cakes look slightly less clear. (You can see photos from my original post for comparison).

photo of a cherry blossom raindrop cake

Cherry Blossom Raindrop Cake

Servings: 4

This unique low-calorie dessert looks and tastes like a giant raindrop. The delicate cake dissolves in your mouth and is flavored with spring cherry blossoms, syrup and roasted soybean flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cool agar powder (or 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp regular agar powder)
  • 1 1/3 cup mineral water (or filtered water)
  • 12 pickled cherry blossoms soaked to remove salt

Toppings

  • 4 tbsp roasted soybean flour
  • 4 tbsp black sugar syrup

Directions:

  1. Trim any long stems from the cherry blossoms. Add 12 cherry blossoms to a small bowl and soak in water. Allow the blossoms to soak for several hours to remove most of the salt and salt flavor. When ready to use, gently pat dry flowers with paper towel. Place about 3 blossoms in each mold. 

  2. In a small saucepan (with heat off), add agar powder and a few tbsp of water and stir with a spatula until the agar powder dissolves into the water. Add in remaining water. 

  3. Bring your saucepan to medium heat and bring the agar water mixture to a simmer. Simmer for one minute, then turn off heat. Try to be as accurate with the timing as possible. If you don't heat long enough, your agar won't be fully dissolved. If you cook too long, your mixture will condense down too much. Use a spatula to stir the mixture a few times. Pour mixture into molds. You should have enough to fill four cavities if you are using the silicone molds I used.

  4. If needed, use a chopstick or back of spoon to position the flowers to face down (the blossoms should be facing downwards so when the cakes are removed, the flowers will face up). 

  5. Place molds into the fridge to set. Let them set for at least 3-4 hours. When they are ready, they should easily slide out by tilting the molds. Do not take the cakes out of the fridge until you are ready to serve because they will start to melt after 20-30 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of soybean flour to each cake and drizzle black sugar syrup on top of the cake or on the side.

Notes:

  • If you do not have cool agar powder and are using regular agar powder, please follow the recipe from my original post.
  • Agar powder can be found at most Asian supermarkets or on Amazon. Make sure you buy one that is pure agar powder (check the ingredients list to see if anything else is added). I usually use the NOW foods* brand.
  • Cool agar powder is difficult to find in the US. I did find one seller on Amazon* but it is a little expensive. However, it is a very big bag (500g) so you can make quite a few cakes with one bag (about 200).
  • To get the shape, I bought this Freshware 6 Cavities Half Circles Silicone Mold*.
  • Roasted soy bean flour* and black sugar syrup* can easily be found at a Japanese market or purchased on Amazon.
  • For the sakura blossoms, I used these pickled sakura blossoms* which I purchased from Amazon.

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

2 comments on “Cherry Blossom Raindrop Cake”

  1. I don’t understand the 1/8 + 1/16 regular agar? Is that in addition to the 1 Tbs? Or it’s just 1/8+ 1/16?

    • If you read through the post, I explain that this cake can be made with cooling agar or regular agar for those who don’t have access to cooling agar. If you are using cooling agar it is 1 tbsp, and if you are using regular agar then it is 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp agar powder.

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