A cake so light it’s served in a floating balloon? Guess how you’re supposed to get the cake out. (Hint: it involves something sharp!)
In case you haven’t noticed (although it’s probably hard to miss), we’re quite fond of all things tasty including sweets, here at RocketNews24. So naturally, we’ve been following the delightful creations from internationally famous pastry chef Dominique Ansel since he opened his first store in Japan in Tokyo’s Omotesando district in June of 2015. Well, we’re happy to report that Dominique Ansel Bakery recently opened their second store in Japan in the fashionable Ginza shopping district!
Ansel is best known for his divine Cronut®, a croissant-doughnut hybrid pastry that was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2013, and which are still in huge demand at his stores in New York, Tokyo, and London.
And now Ansel can add to his list of achievements the distinction of being named the World’s Best Pastry Chef in the 2017 edition of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants awards which were announced in Melbourne, Australia just a few days ago on April 5.
We were lucky enough to be at the launch of the new store that opened in the high-end Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store on March 29 and also attend a sampling session of some of the treats that are being offered at the new location. We thought we’d share with you a highlight of what we saw, and in some cases tasted, with a focus on some of the new creations available only at the Ginza store.
The Ginza Mitsukoshi store doesn’t have any eat-in space and offers items solely for takeaway. Not surprisingly, the staff were kept quite busy on opening day.
The decor is delightful, with pop artwork in bright pastels decorating the walls.
So what mouth-watering treats can you expect to find at the Ginza location? Here’s the Mentaiko Focaccia (450 yen, US$4) shaped like a Japanese rice ball but made of foccacia bread and filled with spicy mentaiko spicy cod roe. The zesty flavor of the cod roe was absolutely delightful!
The artistic Mr. Kabuki Melon Bread (360 yen) is filled with both sweet red bean paste and custard cream and is certainly a creative tribute to the Japanese art of kabuki.
The Orange Hazelnut Pinwheel (330 yen) is made of brioche, containing chocolate cream and caramelized hazelnuts, topped with orange confit.
The Roasted Tomato Hot Dog Bun (500 yen) is adorable as well as savory and should put a smile on your face both before and after you take a bite.
These gorgeous Apple Marshmallows (900 yen a piece, 7,800 yen for a box of six) are marshmallows covered in caramel and coated with white chocolate on the surface. The six-piece set comes in a lovely wooden box, making it perfect as a gift.
The Taiyaki Pound Cake (500 yen a piece, 6,200 yen for a box of eight) is modeled after the fish-shaped taiyaki cake and comes in three original flavors: nutella, peanut cream, and yuzu marmalade. The sea-bream (tai), on which the shape of the taiyaki is based, is considered a lucky fish in Japan, so this should be particularly suitable as a gift for a celebratory occasion.
The Lavender Ricotta Cake (600 yen) brings you the soothing scent of lavender in addition to the sweetness of cheesecake.
The Square Watermelon Mousse Cake (720 yen) is sure to catch the eye with its distinct shape, and it should also delight tastebuds as well, with the combination of watermelon and lime gelée, pistachio mousse, and raspberry mousse contained inside.
It really does look like one of those special watermelons grown into a square shape.
And here’s what the tasty and colorful layers look like inside.
They even have a large version (4,000 yen) the size of a whole cake. Now that’s a cake with visual impact!
And for a piece of true beauty, you need only to look at the Pull Apart Flower Cookie, a delicate creation of rose-flavored cookies and lychee ganache.
As the name suggests you pull apart the flower to eat it petal by petal.
And a truly creative, playful creation — the Zero Gravity Cake! It’s a sublime chiffon cake that’s so light that it floats even when placed inside a balloon.
But how do you eat the cake inside the balloon? That’s right, you have to pop it, and it comes with a pin for just that purpose.
Now, we did buy the cake, since we knew we just had to try popping the balloon, but capturing it on video turned out to be a bit trickier than we expected, so we hope you’ll forgive us for sharing this expertly executed video of Chef Dominique himself giving the balloon a pop instead.
Here’s how the chiffon cake was wrapped up inside the balloon. A delightfully fun idea, but you do have to be prepared to carry a large balloon to wherever you’re going.
When asked about the launch of his second store in Japan, Chef Dominique, who was in Japan for the opening, told us that he was super excited about the new store and about the many special items they had created exclusively for the Ginza store, especially the Black Kokuto DKA — a French Kouign-amann pastry containing brown sugar (kokuto), caramelized on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside — which he said was his favorite.
▼ The Black Kokuto DKA comes highly recommended by Chef Dominique himself.
So you can see we obviously had a lot to be excited with the new shop offering these beautiful pastries and cakes. And while all of the items we’ve introduced so far are exclusive to the Ginza Mitsukoshi store, we want to mention two additional items available at both the Ginza and Omotesando store that were so appealing that we just had to share them with you.
First is the Strawberry and Sake Daruma cake (700 yen) made in the shape of a traditional Japanese daruma doll and absolutely stunning to look at.
The exquisite cake is made of strawberry gelée and lime-infused sake lees mousse covered with chocolate.
And this is one of the bakery’s newest offerings, the TKG (850 yen), which is modeled after the simple Japanese dish of egg on rice, known as tamagokake gohan (TKG).
The cake consists of coconut mousse, coconut dacquoise, and shredded coconut made to look like rice, topped with a mango passionfruit gelée egg yolk and coconut lime gelée egg white. And trust us, all the coconut flavor is heavenly!
We hope that you enjoyed our report on the newest delectable treats from Dominique Ansel Bakery and that you might have a chance to try some of them here in Japan if you’re fond of sweets. The location in Ginza Mitsukoshi, which is situated right next to the subway Ginza station, makes it very easy to access, with the added bonus of being in the middle of one of the largest shopping districts in Tokyo.
We certainly look forward to seeing more unique creations from the new World’s Best Pastry Chef, and our heartfelt congratulations to Chef Dominique on the huge honor!
Dominique Ansel Bakery Ginza
Address: Tokyo-to Chuo-ku Ginza 4-6-16 Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store B2F
東京都中央区銀座 4-6-16 銀座三越 B2F
Open: 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Closed when Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store is closed