Crunchyroll #21: Cupcakes inspired by Yamishibai

Learn how to craft them here! 

**

The story you are about to read is based on a completely true story. This occured in October of 2015. There was only one survivor…and only her account to explain the truth.

 

***  

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She loved Halloween more than anything, and enjoyed celebrating the holiday with her friends at school. Each day leading up to the holiday, she decided to bring fun, spooky treats to class to impress her friends. 

 

It started out simply- ghost cookies one day, witch hat shaped brownies the next. Each day her friends gave her more and more attention, and she soaked it up, basking in the joy of making people happy with yummy snacks. It was harmless- everyone loved to eat her treats, and the spotlight was all on her! Each day her friends eagerly waited to see what she would bring next. She wanted to do something really special for Halloween, something truly creepy. 

 

That was when she remembered- her favorite horror film was Japanese. What if there were other creepy Japanese horror stories out there? She began to research, and a scant hour later she had come up with the ultimate spooky Halloween treat: cupcake characters based on some of the creepy myths from the anime Yamishibai. There were so many great things to choose from! Creepy clowns, weird dolls, dead spirits…she chose to make a gaunt spider lady and a meat-creature. 

 

 

 

Everything went off without a hitch-she made and decorated the cupcakes, using special things like chocolate and marshmallows, and hoping against hope they would absorb the spooky atmosphere of the holiday season. She worked on them for hours, and finally set them aside on her kitchen’s counter before going to bed.

 

The next morning, she woke up and headed straight for school- she didn’t even have to explain to her mom why she was skipping breakfast, as her mom was nowhere to be found- probably went to work early. The coffee pot was warm, and half-full, so it seemed like she’d woken up, at least.

 

She skipped off to school with her treats. Happily, the cupcakes were a hit with her friends! Everyone was so impressed with her artistic skill, they decided to wait to eat the cupcakes after lunch. She looked around to see what her best friend had to say- she could have sworn she’d seen her walk into the room- but for some reason she was nowhere to be found. Shrugging, she set the cupcakes on a shelf in the back of the classroom, so they wouldn’t get in the way and settled in for class.

 

The day droned on, and most students found themselves dozing off to the boring, monotone voice of the teacher. Time blurred by, and the girl only looked up when she realized her teacher wasn’t speaking anymore. 

 

Shocked out of her stupor, she started abruptly and knocked her notebook off her desk. The room was completely empty! She looked around warily, wondering if it was a joke. She looked outside the room, under desks, and in closets with no result. Unsure of what was happening, her gaze was drawn to the cupcakes sitting innocently in the back of the room. She went over to study the little cakes, and noticed a shiny liquid on one of the cupcakes. It was red, and sticky, and smelled strangely salty. Confused, she decided to take a bite, wondering if she had somehow forgotten about an ingredient she added at the last minute. 

 

She gagged on the cupcake as an unbearably hot, meaty flavor flooded her mouth, and looked at it in horror.

 

Inside the cake was a cavity dripping human blood. 

***

OOOOH SPOOKY!!! Actually, was that spooky? I thought I’d be ok at writing a scary story, but now that I’ve done it, it seems kinda silly. A for effort, right? I wanted to make Yamishibai cupcakes using some of the spooky characters from the show, so I thought it would be fun to write a spooky story mimicking the structure of the anime. This show is honestly the perfect thing to show during a Halloween party- each episode is just a couple of minutes, and they’re all mysterious and scary! Things jump out, people get killed- this show is not messing around. 

 

However, my cupcakes kind of failed in the long run. I was so excited about this week, too! Honestly, I’ve been talking about it non-stop the whole week. I’m not sure what happened exactly. The spider lady sorta looks like the main character of Detroit Metal City or Harambe. The meat-creatures took way too long to make- I gave up after two, even though I made all the details. I guess I just got bored too easily, but mostly I think I was really ambitious to make two designs. Because of this, I don’t have exact measurements of everything really, since I didn’t go through with making everything.

 

This is my first try making the spoooky spider lady’s face:

 

 

They say practice makes perfect but I don’t think I improved much. 

 

I also tried to film parts of this, since it’s hard to describe how to decorate something with words. How do you write out how to pipe a face onto a cupcake? But that failed too, since I don’t have a tripod and nothing to stand my camera on. Do you guys even want video tutorials? As a result of trying to film stuff, I didn’t get all the pictures that I normally take, so I’m missing chunks of stuff, and am much too lazy to get stills of the footage. Well, mostly, I’m running out of time as this post is due in about 4 hours and I’m still writing…

 

Looking past my disheveled attempts at trying new things, these cupcakes taste really yummy, and the decorations are awesome! They leak “blood” too, which is really cool (and delicious). If you have patience, this is a great thing for you to make- the cupcakes came out looking mostly cool, at the least. Perhaps spooked by my own cupcakes and swarthed in misery, I gave up- but even the individual pieces taste good, so there’s that. 

 



The Ingredients



  • Cupcakes- I used a box mix for convenience’s sake. 
  • Red and white candy melts
  • Raspberry Jam
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • almond or lemon extract
  • red food coloring
  • black food coloring/ premixed black frosting
  • yellow food coloring
  • cocoa powder
  • marshmallows
  • plastic baggies

 



Decorating the Cupcakes

 

First, start by making the buttercream frosting. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat about 5 minutes, until light, fluffy, and much whiter in color. Add in the powdered sugar cup by cup. Then add a dash of vanilla. At the end, if it’s too firm, loosen up with a tablespoon of milk. Take about 1/2 of the frosting out of the bowl, and set aside. Dye the other half bright red. You will need A LOT of red food dye for this- just be forewarned.

 

Once that’s ready, set frosting aside. Core your cupcakes by just taking a little knife and carving out a small circle of cake. Set these circles aside, and fill the centers with a red jam of your choice. I used raspberry- I found the tartness of the berry contrasted nicely with the ultra sweet frosting. To make it a but runny, I mixed it with about a teaspoon of water, and ran it through a sieve to take out any seeds. I put this mixture in a plastic bag, snipped the tip, and filled the cupcakes. Then, I put the little circles of cake back on the top to seal it in. 

 

Let’s make the decorations for the little meat guy. Microwave red candy melts following package instructions. Coat marshmallows in the candy melt so they are red. Set aside on wax or parchment paper to harden.

 

 

Put the rest of your red candy melt in a ziploc bag. Snip the tip, and pipe out little red mouths on the same wax or parchment paper. Tap lightly on the counter to smooth out any imperfections. Then, make the eyeballs. Take out plain white candy melts, but don’t melt them. Instead, pipe a black frosting iris (I just bought a black frosting rom the store- it’s easier than trying to dye frosting black), and add a little white reflection dot with some frosting or melted white candy melt. Then, using red candy melts or dye, add little eye veins to the outer rim to make the eye look irritated. 

 

 

Moving back to the mouths- melt white candy melts, and pour into a ziploc bag. Cut a verrry fine tip off the end, and pipe two rows of teeth on each mouth. While waiting for that to dry, attach eyes to the marshmallows with some melted candy melt and set aside to harden again.

 

 

Mix up some cocoa powder, yellow food dye, and just a tiny splash of the almond or lemon extract. Use this to paint the teeth a sickly shade of yellow, concentrating on the gums and in between each tooth. When that sets, pipe thin black frosting outlines to define the teeth.

 

 

Let everything set up really well, and then assemble! Load red frosting onto a cupcake, and make it textured by gently sticking the spatula down and up and down again all over to make it spikey and gross looking. Place they eye in, and build up the frosting around it to incorporate it into the cupcake. Then, place the little mouth, and settle it back into the frosting as well. Finally, drizzle the watered down raspberry jam on top to give it a gruesome, bloody appearance! 

 

 

Let’s move onto the creepy spider lady. Pile a cupcake high with white frosting. Neaten up the edges by swiping the frosting upwards all around the cupcake, and then level off the top. Put some black frosting into a plastic bag, and snip a fine tip off.

 

 

Start by making the eyes- use a reference picture to help you get the shape just right. Then do the lines under the eyes, the nose shadow, nostrils and mouth. Add cheekbones in, and then give a bit of definition to the face by adding a chin. If you mess up any of the lines, use a toothpick or fork to gently push the line where you want it to be. Finally, make hair by piping long, thin strips around the face. 

 

 

And now they’re done!! 

 

 

 

 

Ignore the GOT puzzle in the background…The cupcakes came out looking all right, though. I wouldn’t give myself any awards, but things could be worse. Yamishibai is high on the scare factor but not so much on the food factor- I wanted these guys to look scary and creepy, but I’d say that they sort of look cute/funny more than anything. Anyway, if you’re in the mood for some Halloween holiday baking, I hope at least a part of this tutorial can help! Sorry I’m not on my game as much as usual this week… Whatever happens, don’t let these bad boys get the best of you! You don’t want to get eaten like the girl’s friends in the spoooky story. 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Check in next week for another spoooooooky recipe. To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog for more anime and manga themed food. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! 😀 
 

In case you missed it, check out our last dish: Human Lasagna from “91 Days”. What other famous anime dishes would you like to see Emily make on COOKING WITH ANIME?
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Crunchyroll #8: Four Layer Semi Freddo from Food Wars!

Check it out on Crunchyroll right here.

**

Ok everybody, as your loyal food-blogger I feel it’s my duty to call cooking BS when I see it, and boy oh boy, was there a lot of BS going on in Takumi’s Shokugeki.

 

Takumi competed in an infamous Shokugeki where his prized mezzaluna was at stake and…..SPOILERS……lost. It was a frustrating loss, and heart-breaking to boot. Since I prize my kitchen tools very highly, and am actually operating without most of them at the moment (more on that tragedy later), I actually feel really bad for him. Cooking without your trusty tools can be really unsettling. However, I have a bone to pick with the creators of this series.

 

Out of sympathy for Takumi, I decided to make his four-layer semi freddo, replicated as closely to the source material as possible. A praline layer on the top with almonds and hazelnuts, then a lemony-almond semi freddo with meringue, a lemon curd that uses olive oil instead of butter, ending with a genoise liberally doused in limoncello to moisten the cake.

 

For one thing, Mimasaka is well known for using the EXACT SAME ingredients as his competitor in the EXACT SAME dish. All well and good, but the ingredient that pushes him ahead of Takumi is the use of preserved lemons, made with lemons and salt. Ok, ok, surely Takumi had those ingredients. BUT, as stated in the show, preserved lemons take weeks before they’re ready. And, I’m sorry to say, but once they’re ready, it’s no longer just lemons and salt- it’s a preserved lemon. A whole new ingredient that Mimasaka would have had to make on the spot in the Shokugeki in order to adhere to his own weird rules. Except that this dish takes several weeks to make. How did he do that in the span of a single Shokugeki? 

 

 

I know we’re operating in the anime world here, but can I also make it known that somehow, someway, Takumi and Mimasaka essentially made ice cream during a food competition with NO FREEZE TIME? Hear me out here, I’m well-aware that there are fancy ice cream makers that can fully freeze the ice cream base and pop it out, ready to eat, in no time flat. However, the point of a semi freddo is that you don’t NEED an ice cream maker to make it. That is one of the great benefits of a semi freddo. Semi freddo means semi-frozen, and is traditionally made by pumping the base materials full of air and then freezing WITHOUT using a ice cream maker. And when you do that, a semi freddo needs at LEAST 12 hours to harden completely, as I ever-so-tragically discovered when I only waited 8 hours for my four layer version to harden. So what’s the point of making a semi-freddo if you somehow cheat the freezing stage? HOW DID THEY DO THIS IN A SINGLE SHOKUGEKI??

 

 

Do you sense some frustration and sadness? I’m kinda getting ahead of myself here. Let me start at the beginning of this truly soul-crushing story. 

 

I decided to catch up on Food Wars!, partly because I really like the series, and partly because I was doing research for this article, looking for something new to make. I was having a grand old time, and when I saw Takumi’s dessert, I was really inspired! A semi freddo! Lemon curd with olive oil! Toasted nuts! This was truly a dish meant for the great and mighty. I decided to set about making this dish with great fervor. I couldn’t find a recipe that even came close to replicating this entire dish, so I had to do my best to find individual recipes for each part of the whole dessert. I drew from the wisdom of our Lord and Savior, Ina Garten, the great Southern Monarch, Paula Deen, as well as a handful of other internet denizens who helped me understand what genoise is, the traditional components of a semi freddo, and the basic ingredients for a lemon semi freddo. That’s right gentlefolk of the internet, I did so much research on this dessert my brain almost exploded. I couldn’t even comprehend making dinner in addition to this, so I went and got WingStop to calm the pitter patter of my excited heart. 

 

So busy am I with my other jobs, I decided to start this at 7 pm last night to give myself adequate time. I didn’t finish until 2 am, and here is the reason why: Three out of the four layers of this semi-freddo require extensive aeration. And I do mean extensive. No trouble for any old person at home who has a hand or stand mixer. Except I’m not at home, I’m living in the Bay Area for a few weeks to do some work here, and my friend’s kitchen is woefully ill-equipped compared to my own kitchen.

 

The funny thing is that I actually stole a Kitchen Aid stand mixer from a very un-deserving friend for recipes such as this one, but it’s at home, with all my other kitchen tools. (He moved out of his old apartment and abandonded his mixer in a closet,  so I rescued it, cleaned it up, and haven’t bothered to tell him I took it. After a year, he still hasn’t asked about it. I sure hope he doesn’t read this.) So, lacking a stand or even a hand mixer, I decided to hand-whip EVERYTHING that required mixing. This includes: The genoise cake mix, lemon curd, the zabaglione for the semi freddo, the meringue for the semi freddo, and the whipped cream for the semi freddo. This seemed daunting, but I figured “hey, I like challenges, so why not?” A day later, with a seriously hurting wrist and suffering from physical exhaustion, I could give you a whole list of reasons “why not”, so just take my word for it and use a hand or stand mixer. You’ll thank yourself later. 

 

I worked so hard on this. And in the end, I made two big mistakes: praline thickness and freeze time. On the upside, this dessert is frickin’ DELICIOUS. My god, it is really heavenly. It doesn’t matter that mine ultimately fell apart, because it still tastes amazing. I highly recommend you try this! But, it isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you get impatient waiting for things to freeze completely, you might struggle with this recipe, as I did. Let’s get into it, and buckle up. Four layers means there are a LOT of steps. 

 

Here’s what we’re recreating:

 

 



The Ingredients

 

OK, some notes before we get started: 1) This is going to take a decent amount of time to make, even if you use a hand or stand mixer. Prepare yourself. (And that’s another thing! This would take a REALLY LONG TIME TO MAKE, probably around two hours. What did everyone do while they were waiting around?  2) This makes a LOT. Prepare your pans. 

 

Bakeware:

 

You need some kind of container to put this in that is rectangular and long. A loaf pan works. I found a plastic container from Daiso that had sharp corners and was perfect for what I wanted, so I used that. It should be at least 9 inches long, 3 inches tall, and 4-5 inches wide. I also ended up using another plastic container for leftover materials, so as not to waste anything. 

 

Ingredients:

 

So this semi freddo has four layers. Semi freddo refers to the frozen part in the middle- not anything else. The semi freddo itself is made up of three components, the cream, meringue, and zabaglione. I will list ingredients by layer. All recipes are adapted from the links above, mostly to accomodate the volume of product I needed.

 

Praline layer:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds (I couldn’t find hazelnuts. If you can, do half and half.)
 
Lemon Curd layer: 
  • 2 lemons and zest of both lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
 

Genoise layer:

  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cake flour, sifted twice (You can make your own cake flour using regular flour and cornstarch!)
  • about 1/4 cup limoncello (this is alcoholic- if you are under 21, either get a parent to help, or use a simple syrup) 

 

Semi freddo layer: 

  • 1 3/4 cup whipping cream (Cream component)
  • 4 egg yolks, 2 egg whites (Zabaglione and meringue components)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (Final mix in)
  • 1 cup and 1/4 cup sugar (Meringue and zabaglione components)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (Zabalgione component)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Zabaglione component)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar (Meringue component) 

Candied Lemon Slices: 
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Thank god that’s over. Onto the steps.


Making the 4 Layer Semi Freddo
Start by lining the bottom of your container. Set the container on a piece of parchment paper, trace around it, and cut out. Place in the bottom of your container, and spray the bottom lightly with non-stick spray.

 

 
With that done, let’s start on layer #1- The praline. It turns out praline is a way to prepare nuts, but turning them into a soft candy. Very simply, you make it by making a caramel, and dumping nuts in. I thought this would be really overpowering in the end, because it’s so sweet, but I found that the richness of the caramel and slight saltyness of the nuts went a long way to enhancing the overall lemony flavor of the rest of the dessert. 
 
First, roast the nuts on the stove in a pan over medium heat. You’ll need roasted nuts for this as well as the semi freddo, so it will behoove you to do it all together. Stir every few minutes until nuts are toasty brown and smell yummy. This can also be done in the oven, as seen in the anime, but I find I always burn things this way, so I avoid it if possible.
 
While nuts are going, put all ingredients except for the nuts and vanilla into a pan over medium heat. Allow everything to melt together and start to bubble up. You will be cooking this for a long time, basically altering the structure of the sugar crystals, to make a soft candy.
 
 
Mine took about ~15 minutes to be fully ready, once everything had started bubbling. Stir constantly to avoid burning the candy, and get a glass of cold water (it MUST be cold) to test the done-ness of the candy. Every few minutes after the 5 minute mark, drizzle some candy into the cold water. If it immediately disperses into the water, it’s not ready. If it turns kind of whispy but dissolves when you touch it, it’s not ready. If you can pick it up and it’s squishy but can keep a shape, it’s done. Remove from heat immediately.
 
 
Set aside to cool for 10 minutes then pour in the nuts and vanilla. Stir vigorously with a spoon for about two minutes to aerate the mixture and help it cool down more.
 
 
Then, spread a thin, THIN layer of praline on the bottom of the container, using gentle motions to dab it into the corners and around the paper. My layer was way too thick, and ended up crushing the middle layer due to weight, so go really thin here, and be ok with the fact that you’ll have a lot of leftover, which you can spread on a piece of parchment paper to cool and enjoy later.
 
 
Set this aside, and let’s begin semi freddo layer. I orgininally saved this for last, but in hindsight it’s best to do it sooner so it gets more freezer time.
 
First, whip the cream in a bowl with a whisk, using my patented fire-building technique of rolling the whisk handle between my palms vigorously. This took me about five minutes. You want hard peaks here, so it should stick up in firm peaks. I find this technique more effective than the standard side-to-side whisking method. Once done, set aside in the fridge.
 
 
Next, work on the zabaglione. Over a pot of steaming water, whisk the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt together for 4 minutes traught. Do not stop whisking, or you will get lemony-sweet scrambled eggs. You can use a hand mixer instead. After four minutes, take off the heat and continue to whisk/ beat with a hand mixer until about doubled in size and lightened in color. Set aside.
 
 
 
Next, work on the meringue. In a pot over steaming water, again, place a bowl or pot of egg whites, 1 cup sugar, and cream of tartar. With a hand mixer or whisk, beat continuously about 5 minutes until you have a white syrup.
 
 
Then, off the heat, keep whisking/beating until the meringue is glossy, thick, and makes ribbons. When you lift the whisk/beaters, the meringue should fall in ribbons and sit on top without merging fully back into the rest of the meringue.
 
 
Now it’s time to mix it all together. Pour the zabagione into the meringue and fold it together. Don’t stir, or you’ll loose all the bubbles! Fold by scraping the bottom and bringing it over the top. Rotate the bowl, cut down the middle, scrape along the bottom, and fold up. Repeat until no streaks remain.
 
 
Then, fold this into the whipped cream until no streaks remain.
 
 
And finally, fold in the rest of the toasted nuts. Make sure they are completely cool at this point!
 
 
Pour this on top of the praline layer, leaving some space at the top for the cake and lemon curd layers. Place in the freezer. If you have extra, set aside in a tupperware container and place in freezer.
 
 
And now time to work on the lemon curd. Take out your two lemons and zest both of them.
 
 
Place zest and sugar in a Magic Bullet mixer, a food processor, or a bowl. I used a Magic Bullet knockoff because, hey, I’m doing what I can in this strange kitchen. Ironically, I didn’t notice the food processor sitting innoculously on the counter, which would have been my first choice. Blend until zest is super fine.
 
 
Blend in eggs one by one, and then olive oil, then salt, then lemon juice. Once it’s all thoroughly mixed together, place in a pan over medium low heat and stir continuously, about 10 minutes until the curd thickens up and you can draw a line in the curd on the back of a spatula.
 
 
Set aside in a bowl, and let chill in the fridge.
 
 
And onto the final layer: the genoise. 
 
Also known as my new arch-nemesis. I spent 40 MINUTES whisking this batter to get it fluffy enough. Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. The baking sheet should have edges, and should be both long and wide enough to bake a sheet cake that could fit the bottom of your container.
 
Aerate the flour and salt by whisking it vigorously, or sifting it twice.
 
Heat the butter in a pan and let it brown up. You’ll know it’s ready when it goes from golden to brown and starts to smell nutty and amazing. At first it will get all foamy on top, and then gradually the surface will clear, revealing the brown shade.
 
 
 
Next, place eggs and sugar in a bowl, and set over a pot of simmering water. Be careful to not let the water touch the bottom of the pan, and start whisking. Don’t let the water boil. Whisk continuously for 5 minutes (if you stop, you’ll get sweet scrambled eggs).
 
 
Once five minutes are up, remove from the heat and keep mixing until the mixture is about tripled in volume and the batter makes ribbons- when you let it drip from the mixers, it creates a ribbon of batter that sits on top and doesn’t sink back into the rest of the batter. This is the part that took me 40 minutes by hand. PLEASE use a hand or stand mixer.
 
 
 
In thirds, carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Be really careful here- you don’t want to deflate your egg mixture too much and, after 40 minutes of whisking, it’s pretty disheartening to see how quickly it de-fluffs. Only add the next portion when you can’t see any more flour.
 
 
 
Add a cup full of this mixture to the butter and stir together until combined. Add this back into the big bowl of egg mixture and fold together until just combined and you can’t see any more flour or butter.
 
 
 
Cry. See how de-flated it is?!?! Luckily it still turned out fine, but all my hard work…my broken wrist…my tortured soul. For naught. Sorta. I mean, the purpose is to over-inflate it so when you mix in the other ingredients it will deflate it to the appropriate level, but still…
 
Pour this into the prepared baking pan, but pour it close to the pan so more bubbles don’t pop out of existence forever. You want the final product to be about an inch thick, so allow it to spread out so that it’s big enough to fit in the bottom of your container, but still has the proper thickness. Yes, you can get a pan with the exact specifications you want, but I didn’t have one, so I guestimated.
 
 
Bake 18-20 minutes, or until cake springs back at the touch and is golden brown on sides and, faintly, on top. DO NOT open the oven until you are sure it’s ready, or it could deflate. I realize that one of the ways to test done-ness involves touching it, so say a prayer before you open the door. It might help, or the oven gods might see your outstretched cake testing finger as a sacrifice meant to appease the angry metal rack gods. Good luck.
 
 
Allow this to cool on the pan about five minutes then slide over onto a cooling rack and let it to cool completely.
 
When nice and cool, slide your container out of the freezer and hold it over the cake (don’t set it right on top- the cake is delicate and may stick to the container). Trace an outline with a knife, then set the container back in the freezer. Cut the cake to the right length and width.
 
 
Get out your limoncello and prepare to soak the front and back of your sheet of cake. To control the flow, I poured my lemoncello into this big spoon, tipped it back, and let the liquid slide up the handle and out of the little hole. I drizzled this all over the cake. If you have a squeeze bottle or a pastry brush, these would both do the same trick effectively.
 
 
Guys, it’s almost ready! Take container back out of the fridge, as well as the lemon curd. Semi freddo should be stiff on top, definitely more sturdy than it was when it first went in. Place a careful spoonful of lemon curd on top. If it doesn’t sink in, spoon more on top and spread very gently. Alternatively, place in a plastic bag, snip off the tip, and pipe the curd onto the semifreddo in a thin, even layer. I found this helpful when trying to get into the corners. Save some for a plate garnish. I forgot, more on that later.
 
 
Finally, place your cake layer on the very top.
 
 
And now, freeze. For more than 8 hours. I was fooled, because the recipe I was going off of said minimum six hours. Ignore that. At least 12, and preferably an entire day. Feel free to collapse with exhaustion, as I did. You made it.
 
When you are sufficiently recovered, it’s time to make the garnish. OH. What’s that? Did you think this journey was over?? HAHAHA, you fool, with a recipe from Food Wars! cooking is never over. These recipes are always complex as hell. If you truly want to garnish every slice of four layer semi freddo, double the candied lemon recipe. I don’t care that much about garnish, especially since I’m the only one who’s going to eat this.
 
Slice one lemon thinly. Pick out all the seeds.
 
 
In a pan, heat the sugar, water, and juice of a lemon. Add in the lemon slices and arrange them into a single layer. Allow the sugar water to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until slices become transluscent and the rind softens.
 
 
 
When ready, arrange slices on a piece of wax paper and place in the freezer to cool quickly.
 
 
When the lemon slices are cool, take out your dessert and get ready to plate. Fill your sink with hot water, and submerge the container in the water for a few seconds. Do not allow the water to go over top of your dessert.
 
 
This will melt just the very outer layer, allowing the dessert to slide cleanly out. When ready, invert onto a cutting board.
 
 
I tried so haaaaard, and got so faaaarrrr….alas, gravity will always win. I didn’t initally recognize this was going to fail, because it looked so pretty. The semi freddo was not frozen all the way through, and the praline layer was just too heavy. This resulted in a total collapse of the baking-patriarchy, which you saw at the outset of this journey. I tried to save it-I flipped it on its side and put it back in the freezer. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. I implore you- well and truly freeze your version.
 
But, in the end, I went to the trouble to make those cake-sniffing candied lemon slices, so I was going to have a photoshoot, laws of gravity and temperatures of the dessert be damned.
 
 
 
 
 
And it was seriously delicious. In the end, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t completely frozen- the semi freddo was cold, fluffy, lemony heaven. The cake (and I normally dislike spongy cakes like this genoise) was really tasty with the added limoncello, and provided a nice base against the other three layers. And let me just tell you about that lemon curd- hot DAMN. The olive oil in it was seriously good. It really did play wonderfully against the lemons! I was really surprised, but in such a positive way. The sweet, caramelly praline layer, though mine was thick, was a really necessary counterpoint to the tartness of the lemon. Next time, I would even take some of the sugar out of the semi freddo to let the contrast between the two layers shine forth more brightly. And the candied lemon slices? I was against them because I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat all of them, but they were so gorgeous I was actually really glad I made them. By the way, I forgot to leave lemon curd to garnish the plate with, so I used leftover candied lemon syrup.
 
Overall, do recommend. You will need time, and great strength of will, but this dish is worth it. I still stand by my earlier assessment- there’s no way they could have faithfully made this dish in a real Shokugeki unless they took a break to let the semi freddo freeze. If you make it, please, PLEASE share your version with me via tumblr or twitter, even if it turns out badly like mine! Then I’ll know I’m not alone. I am starting to wonder if people actually use my recipes or just delight in reading about my suffering over recipes that only I ever eat anyway.
 
I hope you enjoyed this post! Special thanks to my roommate’s kitchen, which did its best. To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog for more anime and manga themed food. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like. My tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr. com. Enjoy the food, and do me a favor and share it with someone you care about. 🙂

In case you missed it, check out our last dish: Hamburger Steak from sweetness & lightningWhat other famous anime dishes would you like to see Emily make on COOKING WITH ANIME?

Hanami Dango from Katanagatari

Confession time. I, unlike Shichika, am no master in the art of anything, least of all dango-making. It turns out that dango is HARD to make. It seems so deceptively simple! There are very few ingredients, the cooking method simply requires you to place dumplings in boiling water, and there are no sauces or extras you need to complete the dish. It should be foolproof! Well, call me a fool because I don’t really think I mastered it.

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Let’s first talk about this show. I finished it awhile ago with my best friend, Sarah, and I loved it! I like the art, I like the story, I LOVE Shichika and Togame. I could go on. But why should I? The ending was a blow to my heart, a punch in the stomach, a heartless, if necessary, final act. I liked the ending, but I felt severe loss nonetheless. Did anyone else feel this way? Also why is Shichika constantly sporting the WEED on his clothes? (Just kidding, I know it’s a maple leaf. But you have to admit…it looks suspicious.)

Anyway, my best friend just left me to go study abroad in Spain, and so I thought I should make a commemorative dish this week to celebrate her departure (And mourn her loss. Goodbye forever, Sarah. *single tear* See you in Korea.). I wanted the dish to be simple, and hanami dango match the season. In the episodes, you see Togame and Shichika eat them in episode 4, and then they’re eaten again in the last episode. They’re traditionally sakura flower viewing food (so spring time food), and it’s spring now so I thought it would be appropriate. Sadly, I learned that there’s a lot I don’t know about making dango. Learn from my mistakes.

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Curry Risotto Omurice from Shokugeki no Soma

Have you every accidentally spilled curry spices into your eyes?

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Curry_Risotto_Omurice(anime)

I’ve had a very eventful Sunday. I wanted to try making this dish because I couldn’t find a suitable recipe already online, so I decided to invent one. Let me tell you, that was no mean feat. I’ve only made risotto once before, last week for dinner, and risotto is kind of tricky to get right. There’s a lot of stirring involved and many taste-tests to make sure your rice is getting soft. The good news is that now I can justify my obsession with ice cream because of how many calories I worked off just by stirring the damn rice for so long.

The other TWO reasons this dish was hard to make were that 1) I hate eggs and have never made an omelette before and 2) I’ve never made curry from scratch before, which I knew I had to do or risk being a facsimile of a sham, living in Soma’s looming shadow. The challenge was, after all, about creating the finest curry dish imaginable. Nonetheless, I have certainly accomplished a delicious dish, and I even managed to follow the hints dropped in the anime to make it as authentic as possible! 🙂 Yay authenticity! (It only cost me about $60 to buy all the spices and other ingredients required. Hue hue, boo T_T goodbye money, rip my bank account)

Without further ado, read on to learn how to craft this magnificent dish!!!

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Eyeballs! From Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations and Tokyo Ghoul

Lots of eyeball eating in Tokyo, eh? Hehe, Happy Halloween! A day late, but I have a good excuse. It turns out that making jelly eyeballs is not as easy as it sounds. It took me FIVE TRIES to get a half-way decent result. I was dead set on making a spooky snack for Halloween, and I meant to get this post up earlier in the week, but these eyeballs were SO HARD to make. The biggest problem I ran into was getting the eyeballs to unmold without totally pulling the eyeball in half, which is what happened for most of my attempts. The key is getting the right gelatin concentration, compressing the mold, and freezing.

If you want to make these, good luck my friend. After the amount of failure I faced, I’m not sure if this is totally worth it. Everyone else online makes it look so easy, but I am unconvinced. However, these eyeballs would be a really cool addition to a cosplay if you wanted to cosplay Uta from Tokyo Ghoul or Syaoran’s clone from Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations. 

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tsubasa 1  tsubasa

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Charlotte Dessert from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

We gettin’ spooooooky on the blog today. Everyone knows of Madoka, and especially of the fate that befalls the girls who sign the magical girl contract with Kyubey. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, skip down to the recipe or get spoiled! You have been warned.

Anyway, as Halloween draws every closer, I thought I’d get really scary and make the dessert associated with the Witch Charlotte from Madoka. Charlotte is the Witch who, er, snacks on Mami, everyone’s favorite magical girl (That is, until she dies an abrupt death in episode 3…). Charlotte is the Witch who loves sweet foods, but even looking at her lair this dessert doesn’t immediately leap to mind, I’ll grant you that. Have you ever heard of a dessert called a Charlotte before??? Me neither, till I did some spooky anime Halloween research.

A Charlotte is a French dessert, typically, made with mousse and lady fingers. You actually see a wall of Charlotte cake in the Witch’s lair, as a backdrop for one of the scenes.

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At first, I thought this was just a backdrop of Strawberry Cake, as we all know how much the Japanese like Strawberry Cake. But it didn’t quite look like a real Strawberry Cake, and it turns out that Charlotte cakes, similarly to Strawberry Cakes, are often made with strawberries and layers of sponge cake. The only real difference is that, instead of whipped cream, the filling is a creamy, rich mousse.

This is very exciting! I’d never made mousse before, so was very intrigued. The prospect of eating the dessert form of the thing that had killed Mami is spooky enough, but the invitation to try out mousse was irresistible. Thus, I made a Charlotte Cake. (P.S. if the prospect of making mousse scares you, don’t worry, it was surprisingly simple!)

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Shinobu’s Donuts from Monogatari Series

Everyone loves a good donut. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like donuts. True story. That being said, I’ve always wanted to try making donuts. There’s a sort of allure connected with a big pot of boiling hot oil…it’s dangerous, untried, and can result in hospitalization, but if I were to master it…much deliciousness would ensure. So, I grabbed the metaphorical vampire by the fangs and got out my canola oil.

Shinobu is one of my favorite characters in this series. She’s pretty hard core, has a really interesting past, and looks great at any age. Basically, everything I aspire to be. I even took a mini pilgrimage to Mister Donuts when I was in Japan last summer to commemorate her love for the sweet treat. If you think about it, donuts are a great metaphor for Shinobu. Sweet-looking on the outside, but born from the flames of a thousand burning pots of oil. Er….does that make any sense? Whatever. My point is, making donuts is dangerous, just like Shinobu, but you’ll get a great payoff if you just put a little effort in (like how she gives Araragi temporary Vamp powers). Eh? Maybe this metaphor is falling a little flat….unlike donuts which are puffy. Heheheheh.

Below is my reference picture:

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There are quite a lot of donuts to choose from, so for today I opted to make the French Crullers, both the chocolate dipped and the plain. You can find the original recipe here.

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