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Food For Thought Cake Lighter Than Air
(Entered Feb. 20, 2010)
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Japanese cake, so delicious, so exquisite looking, so finely crafted... and so light it will blow away in a gentle breeze.
Excuse me all cake shops and cake makers in Japan, where does one go if one is craving a large, heavy slab of North American style cake with frosting so sweet that one piece will rot your guts out? Nowhere you say? Pity....
Don't get me wrong, Japanese cake is awesome and I thoroughly enjoy eating a piece or three now and again, but there are some things that need saying. Two words off the top of my head: Whipped cream. Enough with it already! I just put up with it these days but I remember the crushing disappointment of years ago when I'd buy a piece of cake because I thought it was covered in a layer of icing, only to find out that it was once again, whipped cream. Hey I love whipped cream as much as the next guy, but sometimes I need a bit more substance than just milk surrounded by air bubbles. Next? Well as anyone who's lived in Japan for a period of time will know, cake here is small. A couple bites and you're done, and that's even when you try to take small bites. And get ready to learn how to pace yourself because at 600 yen each, ordering two pieces is pretty much out of the question.
Unless you go to a 'cake buffet' that is. I took Kumi to one in Ginza for Valentine's day last week, something I'd always wanted to try but for some reason never got around to doing until now. Sure it was great, but it only helped to emphasize the whole issue, which has basically been bothering me for the past 10 years. I ate the eight pieces pictured below plus three more after, and while delicious, they were mainly a collection of whipped cream, mousse and airy cake. There was no icing to be found anywhere, and all of the cakes, with the sole exception of that chocolate piece in the middle, were practically floating away.

cake buffet japan

Below, is a 'real' cake (this particular one can be had at any Loblaws, at least in Ottawa)! Notice how you can't eat even a small bite without eating a lot of icing sugar? Then there are those roses which are about 3 inches thick and made of pure butter frosting and food colouring. One piece and you'll have gotten your recommended allowance of sugar... for your whole lifetime. Can such a cake be found in Japan? Fat chance.

loblaws cake canada

Although I'd be happy to be proven wrong. If anyone can direct me to a place where I can get cake like this here in tokyo (and don't tell me to make my own, I've tried that before and basically failed) you will be my hero.


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