This adorable cake roll comes from the city of Matsuyama, located on the smallest of Japan’s main islands, Shikoku.
Matsuyama is a must-see city if you ever have the good fortunes of visiting Japan.
Originally, I traveled there for one reason, just to visit Dōgo Onsen, but ended up finding a lot more reasons to love the place!
Old fashioned trams, peaceful and lush public parks, an ancient castle atop a hill in the middle of the city, a sub-tropical climate, and easy to walk around!
Dōgo Onsen is the jewel of the city, though — it’s a 1000-year-old, traditional Japanese bathhouse (open to the public) and model on which the enchanted bathhouse in Spirited Away was designed.
You can just go to bathe in a get-in-and-get-out style, or you can get the Dōgo deluxe treatment: a special robe, a semi-private bath, and then a private room on the 2nd floor with tea and snacks afterwards.
There’s nothing quite like lying on cool tatami mats after a long soak, listening to the tropical rain pound on the cobblestone street outside, a steaming cup of tea within arm’s reach.
I miss that, and I miss the regional snack food, taruto: a spongy, white cake roll filled red bean and mandarin paste.
Adzuki-Mandarin Roll • タルト
*cake adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
*adzuki-mandarin filling by Christine
White Cake Roll
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon half & half cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- icing sugar, for dusting
- 1 can (400ml/14oz) adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup mandarin juice
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest from 2 large (satsuma) mandarins
White Cake Roll
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Prepare a smooth textured cotton towel for rolling: lay flat, dust one side generously with icing sugar and rub the icing sugar into the towel.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until they become pale, light, and soft in appearance — at least 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat another 2 minutes.
With the mixer still running, add the oil, cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Beat 1 minute more.
Slowly pour in the sifted flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and mixing until all the flour is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly.
Bake for 14 ~ 16 minutes, or until the edges just start to become golden.
Remove from the oven and immediately tip flat onto the sugar-coated towel. Peel away the parchment paper, and carefully roll the cake up as tightly as possible without delay.
Secure the ends with rubber bands to hold the roll in shape and place, seam-side down, on a cooling rack.
Place the beans, white sugar, mandarin juice, zest, orange liqueur, and vanilla extract a large sauce pan over medium-low heat.
Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Cook for at least 1 hour, adding a little water if necessary, until the beans are soft and falling apart.
Transfer the mandarin-soaked beans to a food processor and puree until very smooth.
Return the pureed red bean filling to the stove top and simmer off any excess moisture, until the filling has become very thick.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To assemble the cake roll, wait until both the cake and the filling have cooled.
Gently unfurl the wrapped cake and carefully peel away the towel.
Generously spread the adzuki-mandarin filling on the inside of the cake, then re-roll the cake.
Wipe away any filling that squishes out the seam or the ends before wrapping the cake in clingfilm and placing it in the fridge to set.
When ready to eat, dust the cake with icing sugar, trim off the ends to expose the rolled filling inside, then slice and serve.
Unfortunately, I only had two days in Matsuyama — it was definitely not enough!
The area is laid back and rich in history, so there’s a lot to do and see.
If I ever go back, though, I’m going to stay in one of the nice hotels next to Dōgo Onsen and just relax, soak up the culture, and eat a lot of taruto! Yum!