Oh, Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a really crappy Valentines Day and it kind of makes me feel queasy. There are the ladies who compare who got better flowers/dinners and for all the men out there who have so much pressure to either select a great restaurant, make some phenomenal meal, and/or pick a stunning “thoughtful” gift.
Well, wanna hear my cringe worthy Valentine’s Day story? Whether or not, too bad. I purchased tickets for a guy that I was dating for a gondola cruise by Cali’s Newport Beach back when I was living in LA/OC and… he basically broke up with me days before via phone. I called immediately requesting for a refund and they apologized, explaining to me that because they have too many sob stories of people breaking up, they couldn’t refund me – and I ended up taking my aunt on the gondola ride with me instead. Did she know? Yes. and was it awkward? Yes; Just imagine the gondola singer having to change his list of songs to be family friendly last minute.
One of the best Valentines Day gifts/nights I had was with my first “real” boyfriend, A, back when I was in USC’s School of Architecture. He knew that I was feeling particularly crappy and overwhelmed because of a family crisis. Although A was a romantic, he knew it would bother me if he splurged and/or showered me with roses (Almost all my friends know I only like roses if the petals are edible) So he did something creative for me: He bought a bottle of pink champagne, made me some dinner, and invited me over to just watch a Star Wars marathon with him on his couch in Webb Tower (all you USC folks know that lovely on-campus housing that I’m talking about 😉 )
Now, fast forward to February 2019.
I am more than grateful that O remembers Valentine’s Day is coming up and asked me what we should do, because he hadn’t grown with many American holidays. I am so proud of him for making a squid ink pasta feast with me, binge watching Game of Thrones with me and suggest we go to the aquarium (no zoo because it’s too cold here in NYC) Cheers to new memories and ways to revive love all over the world.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a wire whisk, mix the mochiko, coconut milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder together in a large bowl until well blended.
Divide the mochi batter into 2 bowls. One bowl will be used for the chocolate layer, the other for the strawberry swirled with vanilla layer.
Add the sifted cocoa powder into the bowl that will be the chocolate mochi batter. Mix in well.
Spray the baking pan with an even spray of non-stick spray.
Pour the cocoa batter mixture into the pan and gently shake the pan to even it out. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until set.*
When the cocoa layer has set, pour the vanilla portion over the cocoa layer and slightly shake it to even out the layer. Cover it loosely with foil and bake for another 20 minutes until lightly set.
When the vanilla layer has set, drop a few dollops of strawberry syrup over the batter and swirl it with a butter knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake the cake for about 10 more minutes or until it is fully set.
Carefully remove the baked mochi from the oven, and place it on a cooking rack to cool completely. When it’s completely cooled, slide a lightly greased knife between the edge of the cake and slice into desired size of cubes or rectangles. Enjoy!
Chef’s note: Strawberry syrups like Torani are recommended. As a substitute, strawberry syrups can be substituted.