The king of cakes, Tokyo Banana version11 July, 2010 by Yan
I always knew that among all the gift snacks hailing from Japan, one of the most commonly seen was a multi-layered cake resembling Kueh Lapis but with a more cylindrical shape. I had seen various brands carrying the product and unsurprisingly, the Tokyo Banana line was one of them. So when a friend recently went on a trip to Japan, I specifically requested that he bring back this item. He successfully completed his mission and I was rewarded with the Tokyo Banana Kurobe Baumkuchen.
Initially I had no idea what Baumkuchen meant, but at the very least I knew the said item was a cake. I came to the simple understanding that Baumkuchen would be an adoptive foreign word that they had named for this cake product. After quick check on the internet, I finally concluded that Baumkuchen was the German word for layered cake or “tree” cake.
The most confusing part is that there is another name for this product, Tokyo Banana Shittori Kuchen no Kurobe (東京ばな奈 しっとりクーヘンがの黒ベエ). I was intrigued and annoyed by the profound words they had decided to use for this product when I decided to check out the official website. After a round of checking, I finally understood what the name of the product meant and will adequately give it a better English translation for the benefit of the readers: Tokyo Banana Kurobe Moist Layered Cake.
As with the Tokyo Banana Kurobe Raisin, I’ve only managed to obtain the chocolate version of the Baumkuchen to try. At least until I get another chance to request more snacks from Japan. For reference, here are the links to both the chocolate and non-chocolate versions at the official website.
PS: There is also a newly added, limited seasonal flavor to choose from right now, the Tokyo Banana Mango Kuchen.
Pictures and taste review below.
Before I give any review on the Baumkuchen, I’d like to give our readers some extra information on the sales of the cakes. Instead of the whole cake, there is also an option of buying boxes of individually cut and wrapped cakes. My friend recommended that the purchase of a whole cake would be a much better option since the individually wrapped cakes were more expensive, even though the latter has the benefit of not having to finish the whole cake once opened.
Having tasted Kueh Lapis on several occasions (Kueh Lapis is a common Malay cake found in Singapore), I would have to say that in terms of both taste and texture the cakes are very similar. The Tokyo Banana Kurobe Baumkuchen has the familiar banana chocolate flavor that carries through all of its sister products, with the presence of a black sugar cocoa taste which comes from the outer layer of the cake as seen in the picture.
The nice thing about Tokyo Banana Kurobe Baumkuchen, is that it tastes great and for its price vs volume, makes an excellent gift to bring back for families and friends. An entire cake only costs 1100 yen or approximately $16.
Addicted to film, Yan shoots with a black Nikon Fm3a. For special occasions, Yan shoots with a Mamiya Sekor TLR.