It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year, the PTA at my kids’ school has big plans for this week. Each day they decorate the teacher’s lounge with a different theme. Since the school is a Japanese immersion school, they alternate between both Japanese and American themes. Last year, I was on the American culture day team. Can you say hot dogs and potato chips? But this year, the themes were different. Each day was based on a different season and holiday, and I was assigned to the Valentine’s Day theme.

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For Chloe’s first birthday I started researching Japanese style cakes to make for her. I was mainly looking for a lighter style frosting. I had made a rich homemade cake with a heavy cream cheese frosting for Ellie’s first birthday and after one bite she threw up. So for Chloe, I thought she’d appreciate the lighter style Japanese cakes and frosting. During my search I came across these awesome looking roll cakes. Roll cakes that had designs on them. But not only did they have designs on them, they were baked into them. My mind was officially blown. I didn’t know when or how, but right then and there I vowed to one day make that cake. That day had come.

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My mom always made specially decorated cakes for my brother and me for our birthdays. That is one thing I wanted to learn and do for my kids as well. As I have gotten older, I have become less of a fan or your classic American birthday cake with either butter cream frosting or the Crisco based decorator’s frosting. They look cool, but I’m not the biggest fan of the frosting. But I have become a huge fan of Japanese cakes. They typically have less sugar and a gentler, milder taste. I first made the Japanese strawberry shortcake a few years ago for Chloe’s first birthday and have been enjoying experimenting with variations ever since.



I have a friend from high school, Lynne, who has been making cakes and cupcakes on the side lately. Cupcakes that look like Elmo and Thomas the Train cakes and cakes using marshmallow fondant. My mom used to make and decorate cakes a lot a long time ago. The fancy cakes with frosting roses and basket weave patterns, etc. She still does them, just not as frequently. So one day my mom offered to show Lynne her skills and Lynne offered to show my mom her tricks with the fondant and all that stuff. So what does this have to do with me? Well, I have a unique set of culinary skills sought by many in the baking world. I am an expert in the art of cakeball making. And because of this, my presence was requested at this cake convention.

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