Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Shin Iwaki Kawasaki "Tofu" Cake
Sometimes the name of a product is meant to convey something about the ingredients, and sometimes it's a play on another type of food. That is, it is meant to resemble that food, but doesn't actually use it as a material. I've made some tofu-based sweets before including a fake cheesecake, and they turned out pretty terrible. I like tofu as a savory component, but I have never taken to it in sweets. I'm pleased to say that these cakes are pure cake. They are just served in a similar style of little plastic container as tofu is sold in. The resemblance to tofu, oh so very fortunately, stops there.
I didn't purchase these cakes. They were a souvenir given to my husband by one of his students who is aware of my blog and kindly gave him one of each type so that I could sample them. The student was in Kawasaki, where this is sold by a shop in Kawasaki station that has been doing business since 1923. The web site says that these are freshly baked every morning, but they are packaged to keep for awhile. They are sealed pretty well and have moisture absorbing packets in them. If you have a chance to pick them up (the shop information is here), they will keep until you can get them home and share them with family and friends.
The cakes are very moist and soft and feel very rich in texture. The filling for each is a thin layer of bean jam. The jam is flavored differently according the cake type so as to compliment it. The first ingredient is eggs, followed by flour. I think the dense, moist texture comes from the heavy use of eggs as well as the moist filling.
There are three flavors available:
The first bite yields a strong green tea bitterness that mixes well with the lightly sweetened cake and filling. I'm not a green tea fanatic, in fact, it's just "okay" by me, but I really enjoyed this.
The strawberry flavor of the cake itself is quite subdued, but the bean jam filling is a bit more intense and actually quite realistic. I don't know if it uses real berries, but this in no way is fake or overbearing. Though strawberry isn't my favorite, I still enjoyed the subtle sweetness and delicate flavors of this.
This was the one that I was most looking forward to sampling and I was not disappointed. The filling in the center tasted like "sesame butter" rather than bean jam. The sense of it being like peanut butter strongly flavored with sesame was rather strong. The flavor was intense, quite sweet and delicious.
I loved these, though sesame was my clear favorite. If I find myself in Kawasaki, I would definitely pick some up for myself. As souvenir cakes go, they are a great option for foreigners while still retaining their essential nature as a Japanese sweet. If you're searching for something which isn't too overbearing in the sweetness department and is very moist, these will definitely please you.