RocketNews 24 (by Audrey Akcasu):
Few things are more refreshing on a hot summer day than a nice big slice of a juicy, red watermelon, whether served plain, salted or drizzled with lemon juice. Internet marketplace, Rakuten, however, thinks they have a match for fresh watermelon, and it’s available to order for a discounted price on one day, for one hour.
Welcome back to the scene, Suika (Watermelon) Baumkuchen!
While the Suika Baumkuchen is not a real watermelon, you may think so if you saw it. Shaped and colored like the real deal, this traditional German pastry, which has become wildly popular in Japan, would confuse even the most astute watermelon connoisseurs.
Baumkuchen are also known as “spit cakes,” as they are made by pouring layer after layer of cake batter on a spinning rod, gradually getting wider and thicker. It’s even sometimes called a “tree cake,” (a literal translation of the German, where baum = tree and kuchen = cake) as the rings resemble the rings on the cross-sections of trees.
▼ The spit leaves a big hole in the middle.
Unlike typical baumkuchen though, this watermelon baum cake, is not just a ring-shaped, yellow cake. The outer layers of the cake are made from a green, melon-flavored batter and further decorated to resemble the striped, telltale watermelon pattern.
▼ The making of the deliciousness.
Typical baumkuchen have a big hole in the middle, where the rod of the spit had been. To make the Suika Baumkuchen, however, they filled that middle section with a red, watermelon-flavored mousse, spruced up with chocolate chips to serve as the seeds.
▼ It’s approximately 10 centimeters (4 inches) tall, 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) in diameter at the top and 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches) in diameter in the middle.
The cake is then chilled so the mousse can set, so serving the cake is easy and simple – sure beats cutting up a watermelon, plus you can eat the rind!
▼ Rakuten real-time ranking: Consistent Champion.
Is your mouth watering yet? Too bad, you’ll have to wait awhile, and that’s only if you’re lucky. The cake, which sprang to fame last summer after being broadcast on TV, is consistently ranked as the best baum cake by Rakuten pollers.
Despite its popularity, the cake is not a commodity normally found on the Internet marketplace. It’s making a comeback though, albeit not the kind you may be hoping for.
▼ The Suika Baumkuchen will be available for purchase for 1,980 yen (US$16) on Rakuten on Saturday, August 1 from 11:00-11:59 AM.
That’s right, the cake will be on sale for only one hour on one day this summer.You better check your Internet connection and get your credit card ready before 11 AM, if you want to have any chance of getting one these watermelon flavored, summertime refreshers. According to some reviews, you should probably try to get one:
“Someone had one and I got to try it. It wasn’t just cute, it was delicious.”
“When I saw the picture I thought it was a watermelon. It even looked so much like a watermelon up close and when I was cutting it. My family was so excited. It was delicious.”
If you need your watermelon cake fix now, or just want to check out its origin, head to the city of Tomisato in Chiba Prefecture, one of the watermelon capitals of Japan, where you can join watermelon themed road races and are sure not to find a silly watermelon like this.
Remember the Kit Kat Chocolaterie, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store that opened in the Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store back in January this year? The shop sells limited edition Kit Kats produced by celebrity patissier Yasumasa Takagi, so it’s not surprising that huge crowds of Kit Kat fans have been making their pilgrimage to the store in search of unique Kit Kat products.
Since then, the Kit Kat bandwagon has apparently been going strong, as two more Chocolaterie shops have opened in Japan, one in the Daimaru Department Store at Tokyo Station and another at the Matsuya Department Store in Nagoya. And now, they’ve announced that they’ll be coming out with a special “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Patissier Gift” set for Christmas, and we can’t wait to see what goodies it contains. Plus, there’s even a Kit Kat inspired Christmas cake created by chef Takagi that they’re now taking orders for — who knew that Christmas could be so much fun for Kit Kat lovers?
The gift set, which contains special Kit Kat Chocolaterie products and chef Takagi’s original baked confections, is a dream collaboration for any sweets fan.
For 4,500 yen (US$37.92), the set contains one piece each of the “Kit Kat Sublime Bitter” and “Kit Kat Sublime Raspberry“, a box of the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Special Strawberry Maple” and also the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Special Ginger“, plus five madeleines and four cookies from chef Takagi. A delightful added touch is that the madeleines have a whole Kit Kat baked into them, giving them a crunchy texture, and the cookies also contain crunched Kit Kat bits — they definitely aren’t your ordinary baked treats!
You can now also pre-order this delectable looking “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Noel” cake covered in shiny chocolate, available for 5,000 yen ($42.13).
The cake too is the work of chef Takagi and was created as an homage to the well-loved Kit Kat snack. The cake, made from layers of caramel butter cream, crispy fiantine cookie and biscuit, is designed to recreate the look and texture of Kit Kats without actually using the snack as an ingredient. Now, that certainly makes for a unique Christmas cake!
Chef Takagi commented that he wanted to include items in the gift package that would offer a sense of genuine surprise, which is why he came up with the idea of baking an entire Kit Kat into the madeleines, and as for the cake, he made an effort to create his own rendition of a Kit Kat using original ingredients, resulting in what he hopes is a delightfully surprising and fulling cake.
The “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Patissier Gift” will be available at all three Kit Kat Chocolaterie stores for just one week from December 19 to 25, but they’ll be selling only 20 sets each day, so they may very well sell out. You can also place orders now for the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Noel” cake at the Ikebukuro Seibu store and the Tokyo Daimaru Store until December 20 for pick-up on December 24, but these are also limited to a total of 75 cakes, so anyone intending to order one may want to hurry.
So, if you’re celebrating the Holiday Season this year in Japan with someone with a fondness for Kit Kats, these could be the perfect treat. Here’s to a chocolatey, crunchy Christmas!
Sanrio seems to be going all out this year for Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday. In fact, the world’s first ever Hello Kitty Con was held this past weekend. And don’t worry if you missed it. The convention may be over, but the birthday celebrating sure isn’t.
The Japanese American National Museum’s newest exhibition, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, will be up until April 26, 2015. You can also take part in the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt until November 21st, which has participating locations offering limited edition Hello Kitty themed food and beverage items as well as a collectible Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt enamel pin.
So why all the big fuss, you ask?
Sanrio’s Yuko Shimizu introduced this iconic, mouthless kitty in 1974. According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty, who’s actual name is Kitty White, was born in London, England. She is the same height as five apples stacked on top of one another and her weight is three apples put together.
By 1999, Hello Kitty was appearing on 12,000 products yearly. By 2008, Hello Kitty was responsible for half of Sanrio’s billion dollar revenue. There were over 50,000 different Hello Kitty branded products in more than 60 countries.Today, Hello Kitty is worth $5 billion a year and has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Even if you can’t make it out to the Hello Kitty exhibit or participate in the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt, you can still celebrate the birthday of our beloved Hello Kitty with one of these adorable Hello Kitty cakes.
Check out the Top 15 Adorable Hello Kitty Cakes below.
The aesthetic quality of a character cake can be judged by the degree of reluctance felt before cutting into it. Some cakes are so well-crafted that taking a knife to them would be nothing other than desecration of art. Conversely, some cakes are so insultingly terrible that basiac survival instincts would compel most people to take knife in hand and stab them out of their misery.
A series of images recently shared on Chinese
Facebook ripoff social networking site Renren suggests character cakes in China fall into the latter camp.
The images below were shared by a RinRin member who writes that she ordered a panda cake for her friend’s birthday, even providing the maker with a photo of how she wanted the cake to look like.
However, the product that came back to her wasn’t quite up to par:
Worried that her friend might be put off by a cake that looks like its silently judging you, the poster took it back to the shop to have them scrape off the frosting and give it another go. This was the result:
While frustrated, the poster feared that asking the shop to fix it a third time might result in retaliation, and she settled on the second cake.
The images that follow suggest that this poster isn’t the only one in China who has had to deal with butchered birthday cakes. But while the quality may be rock bottom, the laughs are top-notch.
▼ Doraemon (?) strike an erotic pose
▼ Doraemon on a sacrificial alter of fruit. Notice the claws.
▼ In China, asking the cake shop to recreate this…
▼ Yields this…
▼ Hello Kitty should be simple enough to draw in frosting, right?
▼ Goodbye, Kitty
▼ This might be setting the bar a bit too high…
▼ Not too bad! But why the candle? Why?
▼ The characters of Chinese animated TV series Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf are always a popular request…
▼ And result in various culinary interpretations
▼ The Pink Panther…?
▼ And a few generic animal cakes
Readers of our site may be well aware that we’re very much fond of tasty sweets, and luckily for us, desserts come in all shapes and sizes. But we honestly have to say the beautiful cake in the picture above is like nothing we’ve ever seen before! This unique piece of cake is actually so fleeting that it will literally cease to exist in its intended form within 30 minutes of being presented, so this is clearly a case where you won’t want to leave the best for last. But what exactly is this cake that looks like a transparent version of Dragon Quest’s slime?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is apparently a new species of the Japanese rice-cake confection shingen mochi. A regular shingen mochi is a Japanese-style dessert made from gyuhi, a particularly soft form of mochi rice cake, sprinkled with abundant kinako soybean powder and eaten with brown sugar syrup poured over it.
Interestingly, although shingen mochi is a relatively well-known snack in Japan, it’s actually a trademark registered product, and strictly speaking, only the variety made by the Kinseiken Seika Company based in Yamanashi Prefecture in Central Honshu can be called shingen mochi. According to one theory, shingen mochi is said to have its roots in the sugared mochi cakes that the famous Japanese medieval warlord Shingen Takeda preferred as a wartime ration, giving the mochi its name. There’s also a theory which attributes the cake’s origin to abekawa mochi, a similar type of rice cake which is traditionally eaten in Yamanashi during the summer obon festival.
▼This is what a standard shingen mochi looks like. The mochi has a sticky yet soft, jello-like consistency that’s hard to compare to anything else, and the brown sugar syrup has a thick sweetness like molasses.
▼By comparison, you can see that the special version of the shingen mochi, also made by Kinseiken, has quite a different appearance, almost like it’s made of crystal.
Well, this special cake is actually made of water from a renowned water source in the Southern Japanese Alps, and they’ve solidified the water just enough to give it a shape, which is why it’s called the “water shingen mochi” (mizu shingen mochi). According to the Kinseiken website, the mizu shingen mochi is so soft that it feels like it might break with just a gentle poke, and it melts away like water in your mouth. The water cake is, in fact, so delicate that once taken out of its container and presented at room temperature, it will lose its shape in about 30 minutes, which is why you can only have them in the shop and not to take home.
The mizu shingen mochi actually first came out as a seasonal sweet last summer, and apparently they were popular enough to make a comeback this year. Indeed, there are numerous tweets raving about how awesome the cakes are!
▼This tweet by Mika Miura, an announcer at the local Yamanashi Broadcasting System TV Station, says, “This mizu shingen mochi from Kinseiken in Hokuto City is transparent and delightfully soft! The jelly is made from underflow water from Mount Kaikoma and has a pleasant natural sweetness. Add the rich kinako powder and brown sugar syrup and it goes incredibly smoothly down your throat. The taste really is amazing!”
▼Here’s another tweet, this one by one Ikuo yamamoto: “Tried the seasonal (summer)mizu shingen mochi from Kinseiken. Refreshingly cool! And tasty! Enjoyed it very much, thank you. They’ll be introducing it on one of the radio programs this afternoon. It looks like crystal, doesn’t it?”
▼And this is what Twitter user @rarapanpusu had to say: “Had some mizu shingen mochiand then went to an outlet mall today. The sensation of eating the water cake was a bit surprising, since it felt like the cake turned into water in your mouth, but it was delicious. Highly recommended!”
▼ Twitter user @bonabona999 also tweeted about the cake, saying “Here’s the mizu shingen mochi from Kinseiken. Water-based jelly seems to be popular now, and with thekinako and brown sugar syrup, it really is quite tasty. I thought the powdery texture of the kinako might stand out too much, but that wasn’t the case at all.”
Now, that certainly makes us want to try these unique cakes, but again, they’re only available to eat at the two Kinseiken stores, both in Yamanashi Prefecture, so it looks like we won’t have the chance to have them anytime soon. Anyone with plans to be in Yamanashi, however, can try the water cakes at the store locations below. But do take note that the mizu shingen mochi are available only on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from June until the end of September. We’d love to hear how they taste and feel, if any of you out there have the chance to sample one!
【Kinseiken shop details】
Kinseiken Daigahara shop:
Address: 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi, Yamanashi 408-0312
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
Kinseiken Nirasaki shop:
Address: 154 Kotagawa, Nakadamachi, Nirasakishi, Yamanashi 407-0262
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
No scheduled holidays
Check out this link: