If you love mochi, then you are going to love this cake! Mochi cake is a Hawaiian classic made with coconut and sweet rice flour. There are box mixes out there for purchase, but it’s easy to start from scratch. Ours is sweet and buttery with the iconic chewiness. We kept it traditional and stirred in shredded coconut flakes, but you could also add a bit of matcha or cocoa powder!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each of the long sides.
Whisk the whole milk, coconut milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar. Sift the rice flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl. Whisk until smooth and combined. Stir in the shredded coconut. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, and the edges of the cake are golden brown, about 50 minutes. The cake will jiggle slightly and puff up in areas, but it will level as it cools. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Use the parchment overhang to lift the cake from the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut the cake in half crosswise. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until the cake pieces are cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.
Flip one piece of cake so the underside is facing up. This will be the bottom layer of cake. Spread the softened ice cream with a small offset spatula into an even layer over top of the cake. Place in the freezer until the ice cream is firm yet tacky to the touch, about 30 minutes.
Take the baking sheet with the bottom cake/ice cream layer out of the freezer. Place the top layer of cake onto the semi-frozen ice cream layer. Freeze until the ice cream is frozen through and the cake is just slightly frozen, about 1 hour. Lift the ice cream cake off the baking sheet and onto a cutting board and cut into 16 squares.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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