Famous bakeries from London and New York create limited edition cherry blossom cupcakes just for Japan.
Ever since the 2014 opening of New York’s Magnolia Bakery in Omotesando and London’s LOLA’S cupcakes in Harajuku last year, cupcake lovers in Tokyo have been spoilt with special, limited edition sweets available exclusively for customers in Japan.
This year, we ventured out to try their springtime sakura cupcakes, and discovered that while the two delicacies both look enticingly beautiful, they offer two very different types of cherry blossom flavours.
▼ The sakura cupcake from LOLA’S (left) is priced at 560 yen (US$5.02).
Having only opened less than a year ago, in October 2015, this is the first time for LOLA’S Tokyo branch to release a sakura-flavoured cupcake.
▼ And it looks absolutely beautiful!
Based on their popular Tokyo Vanilla variety, which has a topping made from cream and shiro-an, a Japanese-style white bean paste, the Sakura Cupcake incorporates a cherry blossom-flavoured marbling into the icing mix.
The decorative topping is complete with a dollop of glistening sakura jam, a sprinkling of pistachios and a chocolate sakura petal-shaped embellishment.
Slicing into the sweet reveals a firm cake base topped off with a compact icing. The marbling looks gorgeous and has a very subtle cherry blossom flavour, while the jelly in the centre provides a more dense sakura taste. The nuts provide the crunch element, along with the pink petal, which is made from white chocolate.
Overall, the cupcake has a very subtle sakura flavour, which is concentrated in the marbled icing, as the cake itself has a plain vanilla taste. If you like cherry blossom sweets that don’t overwhelm the senses with floral aromas, then you’ll love the understated hint of blossoms in this cupcake.
Walking down the bustling main street of Omotesando brings us to the Tokyo branch of New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery, where Sakura Cupcakes are priced at 480 yen each.
We’d seen these make their debut at the store last spring but this was the first time for us to try them out in person.
Exclusive to Japan, these cupcakes were created in collaboration with the head bakery in America, becoming the first flavour created for sale outside of the U.S.
Plain and simple, the cupcake features a beautiful pastel-pink icing, topped off with a tiny salted cherry blossom.
Whereas LOLA’S Sakura Cupcake was neatly contained inside its wrapping, the cupcake at Magnolia Bakery spills over the top of its foil wrapper like a miniature muffin, all while holding up a generous serving of thick icing.
The cupcake is crumbly and falls apart easily, while the fluffy mound of whipped icing, made with buttercream and cherry blossom paste and petals, is light with a grainy, sugary texture.
Our first mouthful reveals an intense, salty sakura flavour, both in the icing and in the cupcake itself, which is speckled with tiny pieces of pickled cherry blossom leaves.
The strong sakura flavour is aromatic and delicious, with more salty-sweet tones than floral notes. The whole cherry blossom provides an extra flavourful highlight to the sweet, and can either be enjoyed in one mouthful or in small pieces, depending on how much you’d like to extend the intense sakura taste.
Far stronger in cherry blossom flavour than its counterpart at LOLA’S Cupcakes, if you like the complex salty-sweet taste of sakura, this is definitely the cupcake for you.
Both varieties are available only for a limited time, with the Magnolia Bakery sakura cupcake on sale until 15 April and LOLA’S cherry blossom cupcake available until 10 April. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by for a taste of cherry blossom while you can!
LOLA’S Cupcakes Tokyo/ローラズ・カップケーキ東京
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, 1-10-37 Jingu-mae, 2F Cascade Harajuku
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Magnolia Bakery/マグノリア ベーカリー 表参道
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, 5-10-1 Jingu-mae, GYRE B1F
東京都渋谷区神宮前5−10−1 GYRE B1F
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. weekdays; 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. weekends
Photos © RocketNews24
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