Today is actually a pretty big holiday in Japan called Hinamatsuri, or Girls’ Day. People who have daughters celebrate by setting up these fancy displays of Hina Ningyo, which are these fragile dolls representing the emperor, empress, and various attendants. Here’s my parents’ set:
They only have the emperor and empress because the rest of the dolls are still in Japan, and they are just too heavy, expensive, and breakable to transport easily. I have no idea who the little girl is but she’s cute, huh? Girls’ Day is kind of a fun holiday in my family because there are five daughters.
Since I’m also about to have a daughter (!!!) I wanted to do something to celebrate, too. We obviously don’t have a hina ningyo set, but another way people celebrate the holiday is to eat good food (duh!) And Japanese people really know how to eat good food.
The problem is, a lot of the ingredients I need to make most of the really yummy Japanese desserts aren’t readily available here in this desert called Southern Utah. But I did find a simple-enough-looking recipe for a delicious cake called kasutera here, so the dessert-making was on!
I didn’t take step-by-step pictures of me making it because I wanted to try it out first and see if it’s actually a good recipe. Also, the camera was low on batteries. There wasn’t much to worry about though, the cake turned out DE-LI-CIOUS.
The recipe was a little fancier than my usual cooking/baking consists of, but not too bad. You have to separate eggs, sift things (which I skipped because, remember, I don’t have a sifter), fold gently, stuff like that. It was definitely worth it. Even in our little toaster oven, the cake rose beautifully and turned out super light and fluffy with an awesome crinkly brown top. It tastes like fluffy custard because of all the eggs in it.
The kasutera I remember loving when I was younger actually had a finer texture, which can probably be remedied by using cake flour like the recipe calls for instead of just regular flour like I used. Sifting it probably helps too. Some day when I’ve really perfected it, I’ll post the recipe up here with lots of pictures.
**Update: I just talked to my mom and she told me that my kasutera looks really good (yay!), which means a lot because she’s, like, a real Japanese person and her kasutera is what I remember from my childhood. She also told me that she already took down the hina dolls display because it’s bad luck to leave it up past Girls’ Day if you have any daughters who are still unmarried. Just thought I should give you a heads up in case any of you were planning on keeping yours up ’til later…
In case you missed the link above (like my mom), here’s where you can find the recipe: Kasutera Recipe.