Now officially it is spring in the UK. Which means Sakura season has started. Sakura is a Japanese word for Cherry tree and also Cherry Blossom. People in Japan love Cherry blossoms and go crazy when this season starts or even before when the season comes nearer. I mentioned about our tradition in Sakura season three years ago on this blog so if you are interested about the custom please read my old post.
As well as our traditional Cherry Blossom viewing ‘Hanami’ we like to eat all sorts of food which is in flavour or shape of Sakura blossom. There are many ways to produce Sakura related sweets and I will try making several different types in this season.
Sakura sweet in Japanese Crêpe style (with recipe)
This is a baked type Sakura sweet in crêpe style.
I had some organic Oranges so I wanted to use the whole of them including the skins. I decided to make my favourite Magic Cake with the Oranges. However, there was a problem. I had all the basic ingredients except for butter at home. Instead of going to the shop to buy some unsalted butter I wanted to try using Coconut Oil. Because the characteristic of Magic Cake is its custardy creamy base, I was a little anxious if the taste would come out as it should be. But I tried making it as an experiment anyway.
Orange Magic Cake
By my exeperiment the Magic Cake with Coconut Oil was just fine. It might have been better actually. It worked as a Magic Cake and tasted much lighter on my palate.
During the Easter Holiday I make Hot Cross Buns almost every year. I like the spices and dried fruits inside the buns and of course plenty of clotted cream on the halved and slightly toasted buns too. However, this year I wanted to make something a little different. Something a little more Japanese … so, I decided to add a Japanese ingredient into buns.
Western people might think that Japanese are eating rice all the time but actually we love bread. In Japan we have all sorts of bread from savoury to sweet. One of the Japanese favourite sweet bread is Anpan which is a bun filled with ‘An‘ (Sweet Azuki Bean Paste) in the centre. I decided making this Japanese nation’s favourite buns for this Easter by mixing with one of the most famous Japanese flavour ‘Matcha’ Green tea.
Matcha Hot Cross Anpan
As this was for the Easter I made a cross on top and call it Matcha Hot Cross Anpan!! It went fairly well, apart from … it’s overbaked. The batteries for my timer ran out so I did not time the baking. I distructed using the computer and forgot about the baking. It turned out that the top became too dark and hard to see the cross. It also dried up a little and the Sweet Bean Paste is not as moist as it should be.
It is Pancake Day today. To be honest I did not have any plan of making Pancake or even having any Pancake at all. But when I saw some beautiful and tasty looking Pancake photos on some people’s posts I could not resist making one.
I did not have any fresh fruits at home, however, I remembered that I had some frozen Redcurrant in my freezer. So my pancake making had begun …
Soufflé Pancake with Redcurrant Sauce
I used my recipe when I made a similar Soufflé Pancake two years ago. That time I used fresh Strawberries for making sauce. I also changed some ingredients so I am writing the new recipe with some changes below.
As I mentioned in my previous post I was indulging myself in the baking with Blackberries. It is now too late to pick any Blackberries in London but I heard the Blackberry season has not even reached in Scotland and some area in the States are in the middle of the season right now. I am so jealous of the people who can still go picking since I did not have enough to make jam this year. Anyway, I made several cakes and desserts and I’d love to introduce the recipe of one of the best amongst them.
Blackberry Magic Cake
It is the recipe that is based on my favourite Magic Cake which has three layers of Soufflé like top, moist cake in the middle and a custard cream like soft bottom. When I have plenty of Blackberries I always bake a custard tart with them so I know Magic Cake and Blackberries work perfectly as a combination, so what I had to do is just get going.
I picked a huge bowl full of Blackberries at the beginning of August and then I was daydreaming what I could make with them. It could be muffins, tart, cake and bread… I mainly used them for baking but there was one recipe for dessert that I wanted to try. It was a plain Frozen Yogurt. So I combined the recipe with my beautiful Blackberries in my mind and started making the dessert.
Blackberry Frozen Yogurt
I used a tub of Greek Yogurt flavoured and sweetened with honey. The original recipe I referenced had lots of sugar mixed in so I add just 2-3 Table spoon full of sugar on top. It was quite good and not too sweet and had some sourness from the Blackberries and yogurt too. If you prefer the sweetness for the chilled dessert which sold in a shop you can add some more sugar on this recipe.
What would you make when you have only one stick of rhubarb in your refrigerator? Most of the time I cook rhubarb with some apples and dried fruits and make some compote to go with vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt, but one stick of rhubarb? Surely it is too small quantity to make a dessert. Rhubarb contains lots of moisture and that is why it is suitable to use for making compote. I thought it would be great if I could use the juice from it to moisten a cake.
In my mind rhubarb is also strongly connected with crumble, so I got the image that juicy rhubarb compote on top of a well baked cake with a cluster of crumble on the top too … So basically I decided making a cake with compote and crumble, with everything combined together 🎂
Apple & Rhubarb Coconut Crumble Cake
Here’s the thing, I had some Purple Sweet Potato (Ube) and Soy Milk (made by me) at home. I wanted to use them and make something tasty for tea time. I started cooking Purple Sweet Potato into purée and then I came up with the image of soft purple cream oozing out of soft sponge when you put a fork into it … That was the moment I decided to make a ‘Purple Magic Cake with Soy Milk’.
You might be wondering ‘What is a Magic Cake?’ OK, I explain. A Magic Cake is a custardy moist spongy cake made with whipped Egg and quite large quantities of liquid. When you bake it comes out in three layers with a very light spongy top layer, soft and moist middle layer and creamy custardy base layer.
I have put a recipe of a type of Magic Cake almost a year ago on this Blog. That was ‘Sake Soufflé Quiche with Figs & Pine Nuts’ which I received the Second Award in the Sake Cooking Competition with that recipe last year.
My experiment went on ….
Purple Magic Cake with Sweet Potato & Soy Milk
It has been for quite a while since Coconut Oil became popular in the world. People say it is much healthier than any other vegetable oil or Butter. I was trying not to ride on this trend but just recently one pot of Coconut Oil has appeared on my kitchen shelf. So I have to start going into the usual mission of searching for healthy but tasty things.
Banana & Coconut Dairy-free Cake
I have tried using Coconut Oil for cooking before but this cake was my first attempt for making sweet with it.
So I finalised the perfect recipe for making soft and moist ‘Dorayaki‘ Japanese Pancake. I am so proud of the taste and the texture with silky finish. We traditionally have it by sandwiching some Sweet Bean Paste such as Azuki ‘Tsubu-An‘ or White Bean ‘Shiro-An‘ Paste between two pieces. It is very recent that people started to put all sorts of cream and fruit instead. For me anything can be OK as long as the Pancake is tasty. I like trying any new flavour combination.
This time I went to a fusion of Japanese and the Western for my perfect Dorayaki. It was Matcha Custard Cream. I love Custard and this time I added a hint of Japanese ‘Matcha‘ Green Tea to this Western flavour. It is a versatile tasty cream to have with any sweet & dessert and it goes so well with Dorayaki’s soft and moist texture as well. How can you resist it by seeing the Matcha Custard Cream is oozing out from the Dorayaki?!
Matcha Custard Cream