Japan has wholeheartedly embraced Christmas and Halloween, but Easter is a different story. In a way, this is kind of surprising, as a holiday that gives people an excuse to dye eggs in pastel colors, eat chocolate, and even dress up like a bunny if they’re so inclined seems like it would hit the Japanese trifecta of cuteness, desserts, and cosplay.
But while Halloween and Christmas have become mainstream cultural events with decoration going up months ahead of time, Easter comes and go with such a lack of fanfare in Japan that some years we’ve completely forgotten about it until after the fact.
Thankfully, donut emporium Krispy Kreme is looking to up the celebration ante with its new chick-shaped Easter donut.
The 230-yen (US $2.25) Caramel Easter donut is actually part of Krispy Kreme’s triple-pronged attack on your donut willpower, along with the identically priced Strawberry Milky and Marshmallow Vanilla Egg. Since all three look equally delicious, we let presentation be the tie-breaker, at which point choosing the Caramel Easter was a no-brainer.
The special springtime lineup went on sale April 1, and being the kind of people who plan our schedules around donut rollouts, we hit up our local Krispy Kreme on day one, only to find them completely sold out of Caramel Easters.
▼ Proving once again that Krispy Kreme can be a difficult place to pick up chicks.
Filled with disappointment instead of donuts, we returned home, cried ourselves to sleep, and went back at an earlier hour the next day. This time, we were greeted by the glorious sight of a fully stocked display case.
Aside from buying Caramel Easters individually, you can also get them as part of Krispy Kreme’s Easter Dozen Box which includes two of each of the three spring varieties, plus two chocolate glazed donuts and four regular glazed.
Having already spent an extra day waiting to get our hands on the Caramel Easter, we weren’t about to wait until we got home to eat it, so we parked ourselves at a table and took a look at just what’s in one.
For starters, half of the donut’s top is covered with thin-sliced roasted almonds that stand in for the chick’s feathers, with a squirt of cream marking its upper edge.
On the other half, there’s a beak made out of sauce, which sadly wasn’t quite as well defined and cute as the sample shown in Krispy Kreme’s poster.
Finally, on the underside, there’s a pronounced hole into which the donut is filled with caramel cream.
▼ A couple of tail feather almonds would have been nice here, but we guess they would have just gotten charred from being in direct contact with the baking pan.
The two different topping sections meant we had two different flavors waiting for us. We decided to start with the feathery side, for two reasons. First, the nuts figured to be the milder-tasting half, and starting there and working our way up the sweetness scale made more sense than overpowering our taste buds right from the get-go. Secondly, this would give us a chance to enjoy the chick’s innocently lovable face for a longer period of time before we ate it.
▼ He seems surprisingly okay with our plan to devour him.
We bit into the donut, and were greeted with a pleasant crunchiness. In a lot of desserts like this, the almonds are layered so thinly they have more effect on the appearance than the flavor, but we could really taste the nuttiness here.
The donut itself feels softer and moister than the firm flakiness of some of Krispy Kreme’s regular offerings. This was likely thanks to the large volume of filling inside. Some caramel has an almost smokey quality to it, but the caramel cream here is rich and sweet.
Many people in Japan say they feel a twinge of guilt as they eat these sorts of animal-themed desserts and ruin their cuteness, so we tried to consume our Caramel Easter in a way that would preserve its aesthetic appeal as much as possible.
▼ Look, he’s walking!
If the beak looks a little off in the photo above, we should admit that before taking a proper bite of the second half of the donut, we couldn’t resist the urge to try a pinch of the sauce, which turned out to have a tangy, mango-like flavor.
▼ Now he’s a Pac-Man ghost!
While Krispy Kreme is best known for their gooey glazed donuts, the thin frosting shell here isn’t sticky at all. While there’s a brief bit of complexity as you eat the beak sauce, without the saltiness of the almonds, the second half of the Caramel Easter is all about the sweetness. We think those teeny little eyes might be made of chocolate, but their flavor is so mild it’s hard to tell.
Best of all, there’s enough caramel cream filling that the entire treat stays moist and flavorful up until the very last bite.
▼ Which, due to how good the Carmel Easter tastes, feels like it comes way too soon.
The Caramel Easter is on sale now, and will be available at Krispy Kreme’s in Japan until May 20, meaning you’ll be able to pick some up to enjoy on Easter Sunday (which is April 20 this year, in case you needed a reminder).