This iconic dessert was once one the most-beloved by Japanese kids years ago. Made with spongecake and buttercream and often covered in chocolate, the name "Tanuki cake" would bring back fond childhood memories.
The Tanuki cake is named and patterned upon Japanese racoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinu).
In Japanese folkfore and legends, one type of Tanuki called bake-danuki, is often considered to be supernatural - being able to shapeshift into other animals and human beings and even possess human beings.
Nowadays, with the influx of modern desserts, only a few bakeries make them. I had a chance to go on a tour and visit one of them.
Their main factory located in Tokushima City.
One of their many pastry-making machines.
For ¥800 ($7), you get to go on tour around their facilities and make your own Tanuki cake to bring home!
It starts off as a sponge cake that you dip in a mixture of buttercream and one other ingredient which I actually forgot! Lol.
To make the head, cream is piped on top and then the whole thing is covered in melted chocolate. Yum!
After coating the cake with melted chocolate, you're supposed to pinch the head with your thumb and forefingers to make dents for its eyes with the pointy part becoming its nose. Two halved-almonds are then stuck on both sides to make its ears.
Here's mine looking kind-of weird without it's eyes yet.
To finish it off, cream is piped to make its eyes and dark melted chocolate are dotted on top.
Lastly, they give you foil to wrap the Tanuki cake and pack it in a box with a frozen gel pack ready for travelling. It was definitely an awesome experience for such an affordable price!