Bright pink polka dots, zebra print, and purple stripes are printed on these oblong objects.  They look so showy and colorful, but what could they be?  A handkerchief?  A fancy sponge?

Believe it or not, these colorful circles are roll cakes (rolled sponge cake and cream filling), and yes, they are edible.  They’re so cute and tiny we could eat a hundred of them, but the sad realization that we can’t sit around all day snacking on these beautiful pastries without gaining some junk in the trunk has got us down.  At 271 yen (US $3.47) for one mini roll cake, these little guys will slim down your wallet while expanding your waist.

You can find these sweets at irina, a bakery that specializes in roll cakes.  Our reporter visited irina’s Ginza store to check out these amazing little pastries.

Even when examining the fluffy sponge cake up close, the colors and designs are delicate and beautiful.

The designs have been painstakingly painted onto the sponge cake; you can clearly see where the color and design changes and each color/design combo has a different flavor.  Our reporter decided to indulge in 7 of the 24 available flavors.

^from top right moving down: chocolate, caramel, yogurt, almond jelly, kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), rum raisin, lemon, and white chocolate.  Not shown: pistachio

To start off, our reporter chose to enjoy the pink polka dot almond jelly flavored roll cake.  After freeing the roll cake from its neatly packaged cellophane wrapper, our reporter held up her treat for a quick picture.  The cake was so fluffy that indents were left in the cake where it had been held.

Taking a bite, the roll cake smelled sweet, almost like a rose, and the taste of almond jelly was present without being too overpowering.  Our reporter has never tasted a roll cake this good.  Wonderful presentation with taste to match and ultra kawaii, the roll cakes at irina redefined what our reporter thinks about a roll cake.

Irina also sells a candy message plate for 201 yen (US $2.57) which our reporter also indulged in.  It was so cute, she didn’t care that she had no one to give it to.  Unlike most bakery name plates which are made out of chocolate, the ones at irina are crafted out of clear hard candy with colored sugar decorations.  There were so many cute designs, our reporter couldn’t choose.

Unable to hold back, our reporter also bought two bear macaroons.

The happy birthday name plate, bear macaroons, and mini rolls cakes would make an excellent substitute (or addition) to a birthday cake.  Delicious cake that’s interesting to look at; there’s nothing better than that.

It’s said that some foods look too good to eat…the candy name plate was too hard to eat in addition to looking good!  When our reporter bit into the clear candy, it was so hard that she could only make little dents in the sugar.  Wanting to bite off a piece to enjoy, our reporter soldiered on and continued (in vain) to break off a piece of the name plate.  It seems that the candy name plate is more of a decoration than a sweet to be enjoyed.

The bear macaroons are sold at irina for 241 yen (US $3.47).  There are a total of six bears to choose from, but our reporter chose a chocolate and raspberry flavored bear.  The raspberry bear macaroons are sweet and tangy like the namesake fruit, perfect for cleansing your palate after enjoying the roll cakes.

Which roll cake will you choose?  Our reporter was so impressed with the selection of sweets at irina, she hopes you all will visit the shop and enjoy some beautiful and delicious pastries.  Those who can’t make the trip to Tokyo are in luck!  Irina delivers to addresses in Japan.  Enjoy!

[ Read in Japanese ]