Find out which ingredient will give you the transparent treat you’re looking for.

The Japanese “water cake” (mizu shingen mochi) is a beautiful dessert that has captivated social media for years thanks to Yamanashi prefecture’s Kinseiken Seika Company.

And while it looks like something that would be incredibly difficult to make outside of a restaurant kitchen, YouTuber Yukari of Egg Kitchen tried her hand at making it at home using three different base ingredients.

She wanted to see which would give her the most water-like cake: traditional powdered agar, Japanese powdered agar (kona kanten), or powdered gelatin.

▼ We’ve written out the recipes for all three of her experiments below,
but follow along in the video here for more visual instructions!

To make the classic water dome shape of mizu shingen mochi, you’ll need something like a round ice ball tray. Yukari found two different kinds, one of which she got at the 100-yen store Daiso. She also says you can use a round dish to get a half-circle shape.

▼ The ice ball maker she got from Daiso.

The first recipe she started with was the one made with traditional powdered agar.

The necessary ingredients are 300 milliliters (10.1 fluid ounces) of water, 8 grams of agar, and 10 grams of sugar. Yukari also recommends black honey and kinako (roasted soybean flour) for toppings to enjoy it the traditional way.

▼ Only three ingredients for the base? That seems doable.

The first thing is combine the sugar and agar powder together in a bowl. Combine it thoroughly because it’s easy for the agar to clump.

Then add the water little by little. Yukari recommends adding it in three parts, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined before adding more water.

▼ This is what the mixture should look like after adding the first bit of water.

Once all the water has been combined with the sugar and agar, transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Mix it well as it heats up.

When it comes to a slight boil, keep mixing it for about one more minute on low heat. Turn the heat off, transfer the water cake mixture to the containers you’ve prepare, and chill for three hours in the refrigerator.

▼ The traditional powdered agar one turned out perfectly, like an actual water droplet.

Next, Yukari used Japanese powdered agar (kona kanten).

While traditional agar is made from locust bean gum and a type of seaweed called carrageenan, Japanese powdered agar is made from ogonori and dengusa varieties of seaweed. The level of transparency between varieties of agar differs, so Yukari recommends trying a few varieties out.

This recipe calls for 300 milliliters of water, 2 grams of Japanese powdered agar, 10 grams of sugar, and the same toppings as before: black honey and kinako.

▼ Only a bit of powdered agar is needed to make this one.

The process is much the same as before: first, combine the sugar and Japanese powdered agar together in a bowl thoroughly. Then add and mix in the water in two parts, though Japanese powdered agar is less prone to clumping than traditional agar.

When everything is combined, transfer to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil while constantly stirring the mixture on medium heat.

▼ Once it reaches a boil, you can stop stirring.

When it reaches a slight boil like this, turn the heat down to low and let it boil for two minutes. You don’t need to keep stirring this one.

Remove from heat and add to your designated water cake container, then chill it in the refrigerator for three hours. The color and texture of this mixture is a bit different than the traditional agar one, so even if it looks a bit yellow, don’t panic.

▼ The Japanese powdered agar one that Yukari made was also a little cloudy,
but with the toppings on it, no one will be able to tell.

Finally, Yukari tried this out with powdered gelatin.

This one needs 300 milliliters of water, 5 grams of powdered gelatin, 10 grams of sugar, and black honey and kinako for toppings.

▼ This is the only recipe of the three that isn’t plant-based.

Like the other two recipes, start by combining the powdered gelatin and sugar in a bowl. But this time, instead of adding cold water in stages, add all 300 milliliters of boiling water to the bowl.

Mix until all of the gelatin has fully dissolved — it’s ready when the mixture is totally transparent. The next step is to pour the mixture into your prepared containers and chill in the refrigerator for three hours.

The one Yukari made with powdered gelatin was the most transparent of the three straight out of the fridge…

▼ …but it was impossible to take out of the container
while retaining its shape, and the end result was this misshapen blob.

After that small disappointment, as a bonus, Yukari also tried adding strawberries to a separate mixture of traditional powdered agar water cake.

▼ All of the strawberry pieces floated to the top,
but the final product was still pretty Instagram-worthy.

Whatever the end result, Yukari thought all of them were tasty when topped with black honey and kinako. She thought the one made with traditional agar was the most delicious of them all, though!

Try your own recipes and shapes — maybe even a cat — with this recipe and see which one you like the most.

Sources, images: YouTube/料理研究家 友加里のたまごチャンネル / Egg Kitchen
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