Tokyo-based blogger Caroline and her daughter, Laura, created these adorable cat-inspired treats that are almost too cute to eat. The delectable offerings include luscious cakes stamped with cocoa powder kitten paws and cats made out of sugar paste that play between layers of fluffy sponge cake and atop doughnuts. The mother-daughter duo are the creative force behind Caroline & Laura’s Tea Break, a Japanese blog they launched 9 years ago. Here, Caroline shares her inspiration for the site, what goes into a post, and the recipe for one of their cute feline desserts.
How did the concept of your blog, Caroline & Laura’s Tea Break, begin?
While studying at Gakushuin University in Toshima, Tokyo, I read the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The stories inspired me to cherish my family and make a comfortable, relaxing home. After I got married and had my daughter, Laura, we were able to live the life I had been longing—years later, we adopted the names of the book’s characters as our own handles and started the blog to share memories and create a relaxing outlet (tea break) for readers!
What’s the process of a typical blog post like?
I’m the writer, and Laura is the web designer. Laura also bakes most of the desserts while I help in the kitchen. We then photograph them. After it’s all done, we eat the desserts! If the sweets are non-perishable, I’ll send them to my mother and our friends. We also share our other hobbies on the blog including knitting, gardening, and antique collecting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our 8-year-old domestic shorthaired cat, Apelila, (below) constantly inspires us. We can understand each other very well without talking, but we like to think she can speak Japanese! Her name means April in Hawaiian, named by my husband, whose favorite hobby is surfing.
What’s the hardest dessert you and Laura have ever baked?
We once made white frosting-filled cupcakes with decorative figure skates. They were so delicate, especially the blades—which measured 2.5 centimeters.
Any favorite desserts you like to share?
We love dorayaki, a Japanese pancake. Sometimes we make our own version and add edible cat figures inside (see recipe below). There’s just a certain charm about these enchanting animals. When Laura creates the cat figures, she uses shiro-an (a white bean paste), rice flour and sugar, then imagines the character of the feline while painting the faces—curious cats usually have round, wide eyes, while leisurely cats have squinting eyes. It’s all about the facial expression! Ultimately, we hope to continue to create desserts that people will cherish as much as we do.
Read on for Caroline and Laura’s recipe for this sweet treat!
Dorayaki (Japanese Pancakes) with Cats
Cat Figures ingredients:
3.5 oz (100 grams) glutinous rice flour
7 oz (200 grams) sugar
10.5 oz (300 grams) shiro-an (white bean paste)
6 oz (180 grams) water
Food Dye ingredients:
Brown – Soy flour
Black – Fines of black sesame seeds
Green – Powdered green tea
Pink – Strawberry powder
Pancakes ingredients (makes 8 pancakes):
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
10.5 oz (300 grams) all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
For Cat Figures:
1. Add water to glutinous rice flour slowly and mix well. Add sugar, mix again. Cook in microwave for 1 minute, stirring occasionally while heating. Remove from microwave, add shiro-an, and knead well. Add a splash of water to soften.
2. Using this entire mixture, mold a cat’s shape by hand, and face with a small spoon. Depending on the style of cat you wish to create, use assorted ingredients for food dye and color in details with a small paintbrush.
1. Using a hand whisker beat the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the milk and mix together. Add flour and baking powder and mix lightly.
2. Heat the frying pan over high heat. Place a 3-inch pancake ring on a frying pan and lower the heat to medium. Pour the mixture into the pancake ring. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface of the pancake, flip them over with pancake ring, and cover with a lid. Cook until golden brown. Let cool and remove ring.
To Assemble Pancakes and Figures:
1. Place a cat figure flat between two pancakes. Then sit back, relax, and take a tea break!
Visit Caroline and Laura’s blog at carolinei.exblog.jp.