Hadley Hauser talks about her new cake with the Japanese Culture Center:
This cake is inspired by sakura mochi, a wagashi treat that is served during the springtime in Japan. It is typically sweet rice covering a dollop of red bean paste, then wrapped in a pickled sakura leaf or topped with a pickled sakura blossom. I incorporated these elements and gave them an American layer cake twist.
Three layers of sakura cake are covered with ethereal sakura frosting; not too much of it, as I wanted the flavor of the cake to really shine through and buttercream can often dominate. In between the cake layers are two layers of sweet red bean paste (koshian), and bits of chewy homemade mochi. The cake is dotted with pickled sakura blossoms. You can preserve the sakura flowers yourself if you have access to cherry blossoms, or you can buy small packages of them on Amazon.
Last year, I went to the sakura matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and was blown away by the number of people. I don’t think I had seen so many New Yorkers in one place before! The people watching proved to be just as delightful as the petal watching. I went to the festival alone, lending it a similar feel to the days I wandered Kyoto’s streets alone as an exchange student.
This cake reminds me of the beauty of wandering alone in a strange place. When you’re alone, you can absorb the little details without being distracted or rushed. I hope that you can make and eat this cake in a similar fashion – leisurely and with the luxury of noticing every deliberate detail.
Scroll down for the recipe!