We taste test the latest offering from Ibaraki Prefecture’s Farmkuchen Fukasaku.
In late February, we took a look at a strawberry cake from Farmkuchen Fukasaku, the cake shop attached to Fukusaku Farm in Ibaraki Prefecture (the same minds behind last summer’s amazing watermelon cake). Not only is it made with fresh fruit straight from Fukusaku’s fields, it’s shaped like a giant strawberry too!
After several seconds of salivating over the promotional photos on Farmkuchen’s website, we were overcome with the urge to either start licking our screens or order one of the cakes to try for ourselves. We chose the latter, and after a two-week wait, the strawberry baumkuchen-style cake arrived at our office.
Baumkuchen literally means “tree cake” in German, and the traditional Teutonic treat is usually cylindrical in shape, with layers that look like the rings of a tree’s trunk in cross section. However, the Ichigo Baum Premium (“ichigo” being the Japanese word for “strawberry”) looks like a jumbo-sized strawberry from every angle. It’s covered with a chocolate coating that includes bits of strawberry in order to mimic the bumps and dimples of the fruit itself.
The whole thing is so cute that it’s tempting to just leave it out as a decoration, although with all the ravenous appetites that mill about RocketNews24 headquarters on a daily basis, we knew it wouldn’t last long in that role, regardless of how pretty it looks. Equally tempting was the idea of just picking it up with our hands and eating it like an actual strawberry, but for the sake of science, we suppressed that desire and grabbed a knife to more carefully examine what’s inside the Ichigo Baum Premium.
Once we’d sliced into the cake, it finally started to look like a baumkuchen, with rings of strawberry purée-infused cake around a deep purplish pink core. That core is made of strawberry flavored anko (sweet bean paste), and while that’s not an ingredient you’ll find in orthodox baumkuchen, we had no complaints about its presence here.
Cutting the cake also releases a tantalizing strawberry aroma, and that promise is fulfilled when taking a bite. The mix of sweet and sour flavors is immensely delicious, and the sort of thing that you can only come from using plenty of real fruit in the recipe, as opposed to relying on artificial sweeteners or scents.
Ichigo Baum Premium can be ordered online here directly from Farmkuchen Fukasaku, priced at 2,400 yen (US$21). There’s currently a two to three-week backlog of orders, but trust us, it’s definitely worth the wait.
[ Read in Japanese ]