Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cake Day

Chocolate cake-Japanese styleDSC_2982

What day is today? (今日は何の日?)is a podcast my husband listens to. It is a radio broadcast from FM Fukuoka (FM 福岡) everyday, he lets me listen to some of the interesting topics. In only a minute or two it tells you (official or non-official) what day today is. According to the broadcast, January 6th is Cake Day. Because a cake shop owner in Ueno, Tokyo first advertised his store on January 6th 1879 (明治12年). It goes on to say that for Japanese, cake equals strawberry short cake and it is a staple (定番)in every cake shop in Japan. But the original Western version of shortcake was simply whipped cream and strawberry between the two pieces of bread and not even close to today’s standard. Legend has it that in 1922 (大正11年)Fujiya the major cake/sweet maker company created the strawberry shortcake to be suitable for Japanese taste. And that is what is widely available today.

What kind of cake should I make for cake day? Ooooh, so many choices, so little time. I crave something chocolate. I love Beast’s flourless chocolate cake but for my blog’s purpose, I made Japanese style chocolate cake and it was good! There are so many steps in this recipe so that means plenty of pans to wash but no PANs no glory… something like that? More and more Japanese homes are equipped with an oven thus more people make or try to make cake at home - it’s like a PANdemic. But, no PAN intended. OK! That is enough playing with words!

Ingredients for cake base use 8-inch round pan lined with parchment paper (parchment paper should be a couple inches higher than side of pan)

  • Weak power flour (薄力粉)or cake flour 40g
  • Almond powder 40g
  • Unsweetened pure cocoa powder 40g
  • Powdered sugar 40g
  • 4 eggs - separate white and yolk
  • Sugar 80g
  • Unsalted butter 80g melted.
  1. Combine flour, almond powder, cocoa powder and powdered sugar and sift. Set it aside.*DSC_2948
  2. Put egg white in a stand mixer and beat for one minute or so at low speed. Add half of sugar and make meringue - first 30 second with low speed then high speed for 2-3 minutes then lower speed for an additional 30 seconds-this will make smooth meringue.DSC_2945 Transfer the meringue to other bowl or a gallon zip-lock bag. Set it aside.
  3. In a same stand mixer (without washing), put egg yolk and rest of sugar then mix at medium speed until the color turns pale yellow.
  4. Add about a cup of meringue into the egg mixture then mix at low speed. Remove the bowl from the stand. Preheat oven to 356 F.
  5. Add flour mixture all at once to egg mixture and gently fold it in with spatula.DSC_2952
  6. Add melted butter and mix well.
  7. Add rest of meringue one cup at time and combine using a cutting motion.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake pan and tap the bottom few times. Put in the oven for about 17 minutes.DSC_2954
  9. Insert tooth pick and check for doneness. It’s ok if some crumb stick to the tooth pick. Do not over bake.DSC_2961

*It may be hard to sift almond powder, do best as you can.

While cake is baking, make syrup- 2 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in 50cc of hot water. Add a few drops of rum flavoring (optional or real rum 30 cc). Set it aside.

Chocolate cream

  • Bitter or semi-sweet chocolate 100g
  • Heavy cream 100cc
  • Rum flavoring 2-3 drops. If you are using real rum 2 tablespoons.
  1. Break chocolate in small pieces and put In a microwave proof bowl.
  2. Add heavy cream. Microwave for 30 second at 60% power, stir well then repeat the process until melted.
  3. Add rum flavoring and cool. Set it aside.DSC_2960

Assemble the cake

  1. When the cake is done, take out the cake by lifting the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Remove paper.
  2. Brush entire cake with syrup and cool (use all the syrup for rich flavoring).
  3. Slice in half and spread 1/2 of chocolate cream between the slices and the rest of on top so that when you stack the cake, cream is in middle and top.
  4. Chill the cake for 1 hour.DSC_2968

Miroirs or Grasaju (ミロワール・グラサージュ)

Miroirs means mirror. Grasaju means glossy or luster. It’s chocolate coating over the pastry to give it a glossy surface. This is an optional step but gives the cake that polished look and people think you are brilliant and it takes you to next ‘sheen’ level for sure. When it’s all done, reflect your accomplishment (oops, I had too much fun with words today). Anyway, this simplified version is not as difficult, but a candy thermometer is recommended. For coating soft sponge cake you need to spread whipped cream first. Otherwise it absorbs too quickly.DSC_2971


  • Unflavored gelatin 1 packet
  • 1/4 cup water for gelatin.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Water 80g
  • Heavy cream 70g
  • Granulated sugar 90g
  1. Put the 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl and sprinkle on the gelatin. Do not stir. Set it aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan put cocoa powder. Add the water, a small amount at a time, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Add milk and sugar and heat at low heat. Stir the mixture when tiny bubbles show up around the edge of pan and stir again when bubbles show up, repeat as necessary. When the cocoa mixture starts looking glossy then remove from heat. Cool for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add prepared gelatin and dissolve in the cocoa mixture. Stir occasionally and it will thicken as it cools. Cool to 86 F.  If it’s too cold then it will be difficult to coat. Warm back up if it’s too thick.
  5. Pour miroirs over the cake as quickly as possible. Tilt cake to cover sides too. Wait for the coating to dry. Put cake in fridge to speed up the drying process if you like. Do not cover with plastic until dry.DSC_2975DSC_2983DSC_2984DSC_2992


I am going to go Utah to see a friend for a few days. She is a fabulous non-pro pastry chef. She promised to make me a mont blonc cake, my fav, I feel lucky!. I will put the photo on next blog.

My orchid is in full bloom. I’m working on the macro lens I got for Christmas.


My husband uses the Stitcher radio app to listen to the podcast. You can find the podcast by looking in the iTunes store as well.


  1. Your cake looks totally delicious. I must bake it absolutely at the next opportunity *yummy*

  2. Dear Mokiko, Thank you for your comment. I'm envious that you made trip to New York. あけましておめでとう!

  3. Mmmm. You did a great job with the layers too.

    Hope you will eat lots of yummy food in Utah.

  4. Thank you Mariko. Making too many sweets defeat the purpose of loose weight before the trip.

  5. "No PAN intended" . . . soooo funny!!

    1. Jalna, Thank you for your comment. It was fascinating to see the old photo and the story behind it in your blog.

  6. Defintely one to take care of the chocolate cravings. Love the looks of this one, the moist texture and the glossy frosting does win me over. Delicious post!

    1. Thank you Tina, Actually I'm learning lots form you.

  7. i shouldnt have read this post in front of my daughter, now shes gonna bother me to make it, till we do!
    good thing i looks delicious! guess we're baking a cake this weekend.
    Happy New Year

    1. Hi FootPrints, LOL! Thank you so much. I hope it will be successful!

  8. Delicious looking cake! I have never tried Japanese style chocolate cake but can imagine how it taste. I must try this recipe very soon. Thanks.

  9. Thank you so much for your comment. Now that I just visited your blog, I really want some okonomi-yaki very bad.