Carrot Cupcakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

In my junior year of high school I spotted carrot cake for the first time on a newly arrived from America Denny’s restaurant dessert menu. At the time, I was more fascinated with the cool boys on the basketball team who’d walk in after practice. Otherwise carrot cake was absent from the Tokyo scene. Especially in the late 1970s.

After a bit of research on Google Japan, I see more recipes in Japanese for carrot cake. However, the shops that actually sell carrot cakes appear to be few and far between or owned by foreigners. One shop’s site was in – of course, Japanese – and Arabic! Tomi’s Shortbread House, The British Pastry Shop also serves carrot cake.
 

Chocolate Chip and Mandarin Orange Cookie Bars, #CreativeCookieExchange

A hush of peace, a rush of joy, December brings a bundle of contradictions.

An explosion of chocolate, cookies and cakes crowd kitchen counters. Shoppers shimmy past one another in malls, snatching toys of technology, which promise happiness.

Yet, a sense of the profane also presides over the season.  Candles are lit. Songs of praise to the Creator spill from homes, synagogues and churches.

I’m comfortable with the holiday paradox. In my hometown of Tokyo...

Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns, #SundaySupper

Drunk on the joys of the season, I created Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns. Doughnut textured buns stuffed with cookie cream, smothered with rum glaze and topped with Japanese cookie crumbles, Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns are this Ninja Baker’s celebration of Christmastime dessert! The recipe is adapted from Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist, Megan Beimer’s winning Chocolate Doughnut Poppers. Her beauties are crammed with...

Vegan Midori Melon Cupcakes, #CupcakeDay

Christmas in Tokyo is a commercial affair. Tinseltown LA is similar. Last Christmas, I was touched to see true reverence for the season in Medina, Ohio. Snowy churchyards cradled full-size crèches. Never had I seen so many Nativity scenes or churches in one location. My heart still warms at the memory.

Yet I confess I also smile when seeing photos of Tokyo dressed up for Christmas. The illuminated Omotesando Hills looks like fairyland. (The avenue gives Disneyland’s Main Street at Christmastime a run for their money.) The Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada shops in the Omotesando/Harajuku area also vies for the most creative Christmas displays. Similar to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. Strolling down Omotesando or Rodeo Drive is like walking through the pages of a glossy magazine.

White Chocolate Sweet Potato Pecan Topped Cakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

Little girls are made of, “Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice.” (According to a popular 19th century poem.) And so is my rendition of Southern Living’s sweet potato cakes. The White Chocolate Sweet Potato Pecan Topped Cakes I’ve made contain American sweet potatoes aka yams. (The ones with orange flesh typically served at Thanksgiving with dollops of melted marshmallows.) 

The American yam has many fine merits. But the purple skinned Japanese Satsuma-imo sweet potato is my favorite. One American potato expert deemed the Japanese Satsuma-imo as “too sweet.” But that just supports my case: The Japanese potato is the sweetest, “bestest” one! 

Ginger Chocolate Ninja Cookies, #CreativeCookieExchange

Japanese ninja are skilled in the art of stealth, secrecy and surprise. I’m wondering if Father Time is the original ninja. The arrival of the holiday season has caught me off guard. Thanksgiving is next week! AND Christmas trees sporting ornaments and tinsel line Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive. Thanksgiving may have to be a fend for yourself sort of affair. But, I did stop reeling from the dizzying blow and realization that Christmas is nearly here. I baked up a batch of ginger chocolate ninja cookies donned with Santa caps.

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