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Ube coconut, Thai tea, Guava cheesecake, and Vietnamese coffee donuts from Third Culture Bakery. Photo by Sarah Boyum

What Makes Third Culture’s Mochi Muffins and Doughnuts So Heavenly?

The Bay Area transplant's mochi treats marry Eastern and Western techniques and ingredients.

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Once upon a time, a Hawaiian butter mochi fell in love with an Indonesian cake. The resulting bun in the oven—actually a chewy mochi muffin—was born in Berkeley, California, at Third Culture Bakery, which opened its first Colorado outpost, in Aurora, in February. There, you can also meet Third Culture’s second child: the butter mochi doughnut, which co-founders Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu make from the same carefully sourced ingredients as their firstborn. The couple only uses Koda Farms’ Blue Star Mochiko sweet rice flour (which gives the goodies their signature toothsome bite), organic Indonesian coconut sugar, and French-style butter produced by local dairy farms. The doughnuts are crowned with colorful icings infused with real fruit purées, in flavors such as mango passion fruit, yuzu lemon, and guava cheesecake; the muffins come in six varieties, but we play favorites with the matcha, churro, and black sesame versions. Shyu and Butarbutar ship the original muffins worldwide, but residents of the Denver metro area can order the gamut of muffin and doughnut flavors for pickup or delivery. Neither is complete without one of Third Culture’s hand-whisked green tea lattes. It’s—dare we say it—another matcha made in heaven.

Find Third Culture Bakery’s current menus online. 9935 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 720-507-4830

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