If you’re up on the latest food trends, then you may have noticed that the Raindrop Cake has taken the Internet by storm. So what’s all the fuss about? A delightfully minimal, ephemeral dessert created by New York City chef Darren Wong. And the name is totally literal. This is no layered confection covered in mounds of frosting and adorned with colorful icing flowers and sprinkled with luster dust. It’s a crystal clear dome of mineral water and, “...just enough agar to hold its shape,” served with brown sugar syrup and roasted soybean powder on the side.
Darren Wong describes the cake’s flavor to Slate as, “very mild and very much about the delicate texture the melts in your mouth. Together with the toppings it has a strong, sweet kick with a tinge of molasses and roasted nutty flavor,” he goes on to say, “There are very few foods that engage this many senses at the same time.” He didn’t dream up this unique creation out of the clear blue sky (No pun intended!), it’s actually based on a Japanese dessert called mizu shingen mochi, or Water Cake, that took over Japan in 2014 thanks to the Kinseiken Seika Company.
Right now you can only get an authentic Raindrop Cake in NYC. Initially Wong was only selling them at Smorgasborg in Brooklyn but he’s branching out to other local outlets. Sadly, like so many food trends, this fragile cake doesn’t travel well and must be served and eaten immediately to get the full experience.
BUT. If you like a culinary challenge, you can find a Raindrop Cake recipe — adapted from a (wonderfully named) Unicorn Tear recipe — on Cooking of Joy. If you can master this confection, you’ll have a go-to summer party showstopper.