For sweets fans in Japan, it’s not enough for a dessert to be exquisitely delicious, it also has to be captivatingly beautiful. For instance, while fresh fruit and rich cream are always nice together, they’re better still when arranged to look like fashionable flower sandwiches.
But you know what’s even more beautiful than a garden of flowers? A tray of sushi.
We got this five-piece nigiri sushi set while we were out and about the other day and couldn’t wait to take it home and dig in. Granted, at 1,080 yen it’s a little on the pricey side, but hey, it’s important to treat yourself every now and again, right?
“Wait,” you ask, “wasn’t this article supposed to be about desserts?” Yep, which is why we didn’t stop by the fish market or a sushi restaurant’s takeout window for this, but a branch of the Sweets Paradise Cake Shop.
Formerly known as Maplies, the Sweets Paradise Cake Shop specializes in cakes that don’t look like cake, kind of like it’s the “otaku-that-don’t-look-like-otaku dating service” of bakeries. So while the tray might appear to contain pieces of salmon, ebi (shrimp), maguro (tuna), ika (squid), and ikura (salmon roe) sushi, those are actually five compact cakes.
Sweets Paradise Cake Shop fully commits to the illusion, too. Lift up the top portion (the part meant to look like the neta/fish slice) and you’ll see the rice-substitute base has a granular texture.
While all the pieces are impressive, the most surreal and high-quality one is the ikura, a replica of the gunkan sushi style in which the rice and topping is encircled with a strip of nori (dried seaweed).
▼ Instead of seaweed, the wrapping is a thin crepe.
Sweets Paradise Cake Shop even gives you a dab of matcha green teacream as a stand-in for wasabi, plus some slices of syrup-sweetened citrus fruit which take the place of gari, the pinkish pickled ginger that’s a common palate cleanser during a sushi meal.
Thankfully, the fidelity to the sushi inspiration is limited to the visual aspect, and none of these taste like raw fish or vinegar. In keeping with their Japanese looks, their flavor is crafted to suit mainstream Japanese palates, and so their sweetness isn’t so intense as to overpower your taste buds.
In addition to the nigiri sushi set cakes, Sweets Paradise Cake Shop is also currently offering onigri (rice ball) cakes for 200 yen each.
Mimicking the triangular onigiri you can find at convenience stores and supermarkets across Japan, these once again have the nori-lookalike crepe coverings, with fillings of matcha or strawberry cream.
And if you’re still hungry for more, there’s always Sweets Paradise Cake Shop’s other offerings, like their ramen cake, to enjoy.
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