The New Bakers Dozen
Who can make iron chef Sakai's cakes?

The The Bakers Dozen: Who can make iron chef Sakai's cakes?
By Kiyo (Kiyo) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 11:52 am: Edit

I am told that iron chef Sakai has lent his name to the so-called "Christmas cakes" that are sold during the holiday seasons in

Japan. I was asked by a friend to look into a "central kitchen" (her words) that could be contracted to prepare these creations in
quantity -- for possible marketing in the U.S.

Here is a site that shows what some of the cakes look like --
I'll translate the captions for Sakai's cakes.

Lawson (convenience store chain)
Hiroyuki Sakai,
1) 3,200 yen Cake smothered with the finest quality chocolate. Layers of hocolate cake and sponge cake steeped in rum;
walnut and orange peel sandwiched in-between.
2) 2,200 yen Moist white sponge cake with muscat grape wine, framboise(raspberry) cream sandwiched in-between. High grade cheese creme to top it off.
3) 3,500 yen Authentically made ice cream cake. A rich vanilla ice cream with apple and yellow/mirabelle plum chunks, topped with custard parfe and baked.

Seiyu (supermarket chain)
Hiroyuki Sakai
1) 3,000 yen Ganache creme using the finest chocolate, interleaved with chocolate sponge ckae layers; orange peel and walnut filling.

The orhtodox Japanese "Christmas cakes" are whipped cream-covered and dressed with strawberries. They are typically reserved /pre-ordered ahead of Christmas.

So here's my question.
I really don't know much about the industry, and I'm wondering if someone can tell me if there are such "kitchens" in operations that can handle the capacity and quality.
I'm thinking some outsourced operation that supplies a hotel chain or something? Is there a name for this type of business?
Also, if you could drop some names in either California or Texas, I would appreciate it.

By George (George) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 12:45 pm: Edit

There are several wholesale manufacturers of middle to high end cakes. The first one that comes to mind and one of the biggest and originals in this type of product is SweetStreet-

Try a google search for - Commercial Gourmet Cakes

Lots of companies came up.

BTW Iron Chefs has a following but I doubt a product line around them would do very well. Just one guys opinion.

BTW how much is 3200 yen in us dollars?


By Kiyo (Kiyo) on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 01:27 am: Edit

Thanks for this lead, I will see what I can find.

Your point is well taken on the dubiousness of how successful Iron Chef merchandise would do.
My friend is under the impression that Iron Chef has become a "big fad" ("major trend") in the US but my sense is that it's still just a cult following, and won't enjoy the type of name recognition advantages in this country.

>BTW how much is 3200 yen in us dollars?

It's about $27-8, but it's a 16.5cm(6.5") cake, so only about half the size of a 9-in.

To go off on a tangent, there are a few places that have Japanese-style pastries in the New York area. In the Mitsuwa plaza, there is a pastry shop which I believe sells a premium bread called the Boloniya danish bread( -- about $6.50 for a half loaf, I think. So there is at least a limited market for high-end(pricey) fare catering to Japanese tastes.

One type of cake that's standard in Japan is the Mont Blanc (it has whipped chestnut puree over the top) is not at all common in the US. It used to be a craving for a Mont Blanc had to be satisfied by going to the Panya bakery in the East Village, or the coffee shop in Kinokuniya, etc. But the superb Payard patisserie carries the Mont Blanc.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 07:52 pm: Edit

I do not mean for this to sound disrespectful at all, but does this sound Japanese to anybody else? These cakes all sound European to me. Anybody else have a comment here?

I am totally unfamiliar with Japanese desserts.

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Sunday, January 19, 2003 - 10:29 am: Edit

I think that Chef Sakai is known as Iron Chef French- his training and culinary background are focused as more "European". That may be why his pastries have more of a classical bend.
It's my understanding that traditional Japanese desserts are very pure and simplistic- and not very sweet. They are artistic and esthetically pleasing in presentation- and often may be fresh fruit.

By Kiyo (Kiyo) on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 02:50 am: Edit

I can address the traditional J dessert under a separate topic.

I don't want to get off too much on a tangent 'cuz my original posting was about asking your feedback on what kind of operations can handle the capacity/quality of such pastries created using Sakai's recipes

My sense is that desserts in the US tend to use too much sugar (so they preserve better?).
I also suspect real pastry creme or whipped creme -- which are very perishable and must be discarded after a day -- isn't used a whole lot either. The puff pastry filling tastes like its blended with some gummy additive, and butter cream instead of whipped cream. But I'm not a pastry chef so I'm only guessing.

What I'm trying to get at is that if we were to ask kitchens or large-scale bakeries that normally handle desserts for wide distribution (or serve cafeterias / schools / hospitals, etc.) they'd be mostly automated processing plants and not be able to make cakes that require more of a human touch, n'est-ce-pas?

By George (George) on Friday, January 24, 2003 - 08:45 am: Edit

Thanks for all the info on traditional Japanese deserts. People’s tastes are certainly different.

I think a good way to promote the Chef Sakai cakes would be to target the “Japanese Style" restaurants here like the Benihana chain. Because of the popularity of sushi here now these restaurant are doing very well and from my last visit (I don't go to these places often because I leave hungry) they didn't have much of a desert menu, just icecream and fruit. Chef Sakai's Europeanized version of deserts would mesh well with the theme and offer a new revenue opportunity.


By Kiyo (Kiyo) on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 09:55 pm: Edit

Thanks for the lead on the Benihana. It hadn't occured to me to consider the teppan-yaki or "iron-plate" steakhouses.
I think I saw on TV that the founder of the chain, by the name of "Rocky" Aoki, built his initial capital of $10,000 by driving an ice cream truck to Harlem for a summer. Since other trucks wouldn't service the community at the time, he enjoyed something like a monopoly.

I never particularly cared for the green tea flavored ice cream, but the soft ice cream flavored with green tea I once had in Kyoto tasted all right.

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