No.164 (5/28/10)

Popular Cakes In Japan

By Keiko H. Johnson
Staff Writer

When I lived in the U.S., one of the things I missed the most from Japan was the Japanese cake. Japanese cakes resemble in its appearance to those cakes made in Europe. Japanese cakes, as well as European style cakes, have light textures and are considerably less sweet compared to American-style cakes. At the cafe in Japan, I tend to be indecisive, when I stand in front of the varieties of cakes delightfully displayed in the glass showcase at the cake shop (Kaki Yasan). Most of the cafe may serve similar types of cakes, but only the skillful cake chefs could enhance the taste of such lovely artful sweets.

When I came back to Japan, I noticed many TV programs began to rank desserts by its popularity. I later discovered I could even purchase such fine desserts online. For the last few weeks, I have been paying close attention to those rankings on the Rakuten online store. According to the site, Fruit Roll Cake from Kagetsudo, Baumkuchen from Shikoku La Famiyu, Cherry Cream Swiss Roll from Kodawarikan, Pot Fran from Kobe Franz, Asano Hakkoda Cheese cake from Aomori Arupajhon, and Strawberry cream Omelet cake from Iwate Kitano kashi Kafu are currently noted as the most popular and famous desserts in Japan.

If you prefer creamy light dessert, Kagetsudo Fruit roll cake would be a great choice. It is similar to a cake known as Swiss roll in the U.S., but the heavy cream used for filling is considerably less sweet than the butter cream used in the American style Swiss roll. The evenly baked sponge cake wraps the feathery whipped cream mixed with fresh fruits of the season is light and has the texture that melts away in the mouth.

One of the most popular Swiss roll cakes today is Kodawarikan's Cherry Cream Swiss roll, which will definitely make a great spring gift. This roll cake uses actual cherry blossom to flavor the cream and its thinly baked sponge cake wraps such delicately flavored cream. The cake is only sold during the spring while cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Another cake, as poplar as Kagetsudo’s Fruit roll cake, is sold as Golden Baumkuchen from La Famille in Kobe. This dense cake has a great flavor of butter and vanilla. The Baumkuchen has been one of the most popular cakes in Japan. From its layered splits, when cut, it is named Baumkuchen / tree cake. It was first introduced to Japan by a German tourist in 1919. The cake may be covered with sugar or chocolate glaze.

The next dessert I am introducing is a Japanese Tsubo Pudding, which is known as flan in both U.S. and Europe. Tsubo means Pot in Japanese. As its name dipicts, the small pot is used as its container. Such cute appearance and its milky and creamy texture of Flan made them so popular these days.

The next two sweets I am introducing here are both produced in Tohoku area. One of those sweets is Asano Hakkoda Cheese cake in Aomori. I have seen this cheesecake at local grocery stores around Misawa. These small bite size cheesecakes are usually individually wrapped and placed in the box. Another one of the sweets is strawberry cream omelet cake from Iwate Kitano Kashi-- Kafu. This is a breakfast egg omelet. It is a cream filled flat sponge cake, where the sponge is folded in half like omelet and filled with the flavored whipped cream and fruits. Currently, they are serving strawberry cream omelet, since strawberry is in season.

Those artful desserts I noted above are just a few examples of the selected popular desserts. There are many more sweets you may be interested in trying while you are in Japan. If you are interested in purchasing such popular sweets of Japan, you may visit Rakuten online store at www. It is one of the popular online stores, which many people use in Japan. The site also offers in English language.

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