HCafe is bringing the Japanese tradition of low-fat treats and nutritional ingredients to the Toronto food scene.
In an unassuming corner of the Emerald Building at Yonge and Sheppard, you’ll find something that you can’t find anywhere else in Toronto.
“As far as I know, we are the first to do Mochi cake in Canada,” HCafe owner Hiro explains. “It’s not well-known in Japan either.” The multi-layered, fruit-filled cake is a new take on an old Japanese tradition: mochi. Made with a special type of rice and traditionally combined with ingredients like red beans, green tea, black sesame and ginger, mochi is a well-loved Japanese treat that Hiro wants to bring to the novelty-hungry, health-conscious tastebuds of Toronto.
HCafe opened last summer with the goal of introducing more Japanese sweets to Canada, and showing Torontonians that Japanese sweets can be both tasty and healthy. It now has two locations: one on Main Street in Unionville and the other at Yonge and Sheppard, minutes from the TTC. HCafe has two different styles of mochi on offer: traditional recipes, which will be familiar to anyone Japanese, and an updated take with chunks of real fruit in the centre. I decided to pit tradition against trend and try one of each. The new-style treats have an outer wrapping of mochi with a light and soft texture. I tried the Mango Mochi, which had big, juicy pieces of fresh mango inside. The silky, chewy mochi and fresh fruit combine deliciously. Anyone who likes to eat cookie dough before the cookies are baked will love this treat. What’s more, with no butter or wheat flour, you don’t even have to feel guilty about it! I also tried the Sakura Mochi—a traditional-style mochi with more of a rice texture and combination of sweet and aromatic flavours. The mochi reminded me of a rice pudding and was very satisfying combined with savoury red bean and woody sakura leaf.
But it’s the Mochi Cake that really takes the, well, cake. Multi-layered with a mochi coating, a fluffy filling with big chunks of real fruit and a crumbly graham cracker crust, the cake has a pleasing, well-balanced combination of textures and avours. It’s fruity, creamy, biscuit-y and not too sweet. It would make a great offering at a party, assuming you are willing to share!
4750 Yonge St., Unit 119, Toronto 647-350-8868
OPEN: Mon–Sat 11:30 am–8 pm Sun 12 pm–8 pm