Chirashi Sushi Cake and Temari Sushi ちらし寿司ケーキと手まり寿司

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Chirashi Sushi Cake Recipe |

I get sometimes asked by readers on how I take pictures and how I learned to take food photography.  To sum it up, I’ve only been taking food pictures since January 2011 but I haven’t had any proper training or lessons on taking food pictures.  What might also surprise you is I also haven’t read the camera manuals…

To help improve my photography skill, I recently started to read a food photography book called Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young, but I’m a pretty slow reader that it’s taking me a long time to finish it.  My husband who reads the manuals and photography books taught me the basics on how to take pictures in manual mode, but I learned a lot last summer when my blogger friend Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets wrote a great post about food styling and photography.

When I read Xiaolu’s post, I was still pretty inexperienced on taking pictures with my DSLR and was eager to learn and improve my photography every possible way (and still am!).  Her detailed post gave me a great starting point on the food photography journey.  Not only did she generously shared her tips on the post, she also personally replied to me with my questions and help guided me to become a better photographer.  To this date, I cannot thank her enough for her generous gesture and advice she gave me.

So you can imagine my delight when Xiaolu invited me to guest blog on her blog.  I cannot express how thrilled I was and what it meant to me.  Her blog has endless pictures of both delicious baked goods and savory dishes.  Oh, if you live in D.C. area, she’s offering home-baked goods for sale, too.  Please click HERE to read my guest postat her blog.

Chirashi Sushi Cake II

This past Saturday was a special day for young girls in Japan.  Every March 3rd the Japanese celebrate The Doll Festival called Hinamatsuri.  For the festival many families with daughters display colorful Hina Ningyo, a set of the traditional Emperor and Empress dolls dressed in kimono, and celebrate this day to pray for the girls’ growth and happiness.  Chirashi Sushi is often cooked on this day as a part of feast.

Quick & Easy Chirashi Sushi

I usually serve Chirashi Sushi in a bowl (see above), but this year I made it a little more special for my soon-to-be 4 year old daughter who loves anything pretty (who doesn’t?).  I made a sushi cake out of Chirashi Sushi thanks to my Japanese mommy friend who gave me this idea, and with leftover ingredients I made Temari Sushi using thin egg crepes (see my other examples of Temari Sushi here).

Chirashi Sushi Cake IIII

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Chirashi Sushi Cake and Temari Sushi
Prep time
Total time
Serves: About 2 Chirashi Sushi Cake and 2 Temari Sushi
For Decoration:
  • 10-12 pieces of salmon sashimi
  • 12 boiled shrimp
  • ⅓-1/2 cup ikura (salmon roe)
  • A couple of blanched snow pea, cut diagonally
To Make Chirashi Sushi
  1. When rice is cooked, take out some rice into a small bowl, and mix with Sakura Denbu to make pink colored rice.
  2. Place the rest of rice into a large bowl and add one packet of Chirashi Sushi Mix while the rice is still hot. Fold everything together with the rice using a rice paddle. Gently slice through the rice to separate the grains. Cover with moist towel so it will not dry out.
  3. Make thin egg crepe & shredded egg crepe garnish. Save 1 egg crepe for Temari Sushi (to make 2 Temari Sushi) and cut into thin julienne strips.
To Assemble Chirashi Sushi Cake & Temari Sushi
  1. For Chirashi Sushi Cake, prepare a container of your choice (round/square, small/big). First place shredded egg crepe garnish on the bottom. Make sure there is no space between. Then add ½ inch layer of pink rice, then finally put Chirashi Sushi on top. Between rice and container, place the sliced cucumber around the bowl so when you flip upside down it will nicely decorate the bottom trim.
  2. Flip on a plate and decorate as you wish. To make sashimi rose, you overlap half a piece of sashimi with the next one and roll them up.
  3. For Temari Sushi, cut the thin egg crepe into half and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Put about 1-2 Tbsp. of Chirashi Sushi on top of the egg crepe and wrap it tightly. Keep it wrapped until you are ready to serve.
  4. When you are ready to serve, unwrap the Temari Sushi and place it on a plate. Garnish with snow pea, half of sliced shrimp, and ikura on top.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


Now you must be ready to hear the winners of my WAFU® Japanese Vinaigrette Giveaway.  As usual, I’m too nervous to pick the winners, so I asked my son to click the mouse to pick our winners for me. 😉  So the winners are:

Set 1: Original (Light) & Ginger Carrot

Congrats, Georgia!

Set 2: Original (Light) & Wasabi Edamame

Congrats, Raymund!

I hope you two will enjoy the dressing and I’ll be contacting you soon.  Thank you everyone for participating this giveaway!

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  1. Congrats to both the winners!
    Nami, Your Chirashi Sushi Cake looks stunning. the egg shreds and salmon sashimi makes it look more gorgeous.
    I am not a baker either but loves to eat baked goods so disaster happens in my kitchen. One of them can be seen in today’s post.

  2. OMG it’s been over an hour since I first read this post. It has taken me to your guest post then reading her blog and photo tips, to those that she recommended and now I’m back. WOW so much to absorb. I need to finish more of this later.

    At any rate regarding your posts, Nami this is all so wonderful. I teach tamari sushi in my classes but only using the rice. I love it with the egg crepe. Also for the Chirashi Sushi Cake I’m shocked that it all comes out so easily when turned upside down. I would have put plastic wrap down first that way when I turned it over I wouldn’t have to worry that it wouldn’t come out but obviously it’s not needed.

    As always your dishes are so beautiful. Thank you for taking me on this adventure of reading various blogs. I’ve enjoyed it. Now I need to rest my eyes.

  3. I agree. You must have natural talent to be able to capture such gorgeous and beautiful photos. Better than professional!

    Maybe it’s also time I get a DSLR…still using point-and-shoot dummy camera over here :O

  4. Can’t wait to see the recipe. Heading to her site now! Your photography is beautiful, Nami! I love that bloggers are so willing to share knowledge with others, including about photography!

  5. Hi Nami – These photos are amazing! You’ve become an expert in that short period time. Thanks for introducing your friend. I am in the DC area, so I will definitely check her out. Also, thanks for all the information on the food photography. I seriously need all the help I can get.

  6. Beautiful photos of your Chirashi Sushi Cake, I’m very impressed that you’ve taught yourself how to take these photos for your blog;-)

  7. Wow, this is a stunner. Hard to believe you haven’t had any formal training in food styling and photography. I would love to eat this sushi cake so healthy looking and lots of wonderful flavor. Thanks so much for the sweet comment about my friend passing. It’s been tough but she is not in pain anymore which gives me great comfort.

  8. Nami, this is the most beautiful sushi display I have ever seen! I would be impressed if someone served me that at a michelin starred restaurant! Absolutely gorgeous. It looks so tasty too. I definitely am always looking for more photography tips. I will check out Xiaolu’s blog. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lucas @

    That cake looks amazing, but the idea of me making it is a terrifying prospect.

    And photos only for a year? Wow!

  10. Wow a sushi cake :) I don’t think I’ve seen or had any before! You really take fantastic photos Nami! I’ve read Xiaolu’s article too ~ it’s very good but i’m still learning…I really hope I can take better photos soon ~ Thanks for sharing!

    Gotta go check out the recipe over at now :)

  11. Gorgeous cake and beautiful pictures! The cake looks scrumptious and your presentation is stunning as usual. Those pictures would fit into any reputed food magazine.

  12. I think that you have a talent that’s why you know how to take pictures :) they all are amazing :)

    And this sushi cake is so beautifully decorated that I’m speechless :)

  13. Sweet Mother of Pearl, these pics are gorgeous. No one would ever know that you are not a professional photographer and food stylist. You ate amazing Nami!

  14. Nami, I haven’t read my manual either, but my photos cannot compare to yours. Thanks for the links! These photos are extraordinary and the best example of what I will never achieve. Congratulations for the guest post! Looking forward to read the recipe!

  15. I am going to love going over to the photography post and check it out. I am so eager to learn more and more about taking my food photos! Nami, your pictures are truly wonderful!! Well done. :)

  16. Eri

    Oh come on!!!! What a magnificent piece of art is this Nami!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing “secrets” about photography!

  17. Nami, your photos are some of the most beautiful food photos I’ve seen anywhere. This just looks too gorgeous to eat…but I think I could give it a try :) Thank you so much for posting the links to the book and the post by 6 Bittersweets. This looks like fantastic information and I can’t wait to sit and go through it all.

  18. Wow, Nami. Look at these shots. Oh and the dish sounds yummy too – but these are fabulous. I’ll need to head over to Xiaolu’s page to read all about the photography. But if you’re a slow reader, just imagine me -10 when it comes to understanding photography. I’m a snapper and so will need time to digest it. Well done, Nami!

  19. That cake looks like a beautiful work of art, Nami! I love the soft lighting on the cake and the colours – they really pop. I just bought Nicole’s book based on your recommendation. I can’t wait to get in in the mail!

  20. Nami, this post brings me back to our conversation last week about photography. I’ve said it already but you take some amazing pictures–these ones of your chirashi sushi cake are just stunning. Will check out your guest post. :)

  21. Nami your pictures are always great! But I know how much effort you put into finding and shooting the right picture for your blog. I wish I was that patience. I normally shoot 1, 2, 3 at most and hope they turn out ok. Hopefully I can improve a little bit this year =)

  22. You are just a natural! Your photos have been great from day 1…but now they are consistently fabulous!!! Will check out your guest post~

  23. I’ve always admired your photography, Nami. That chirashi sushi cake speaks volumes of your natural talent! You’ve got an eye and a touch. :)

  24. Now we know the secret to your beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing. I am thoroughly enjoying reading Xiaolu’s post and learning more about photography all the time.

  25. pretty is the word! your daughter must have been thrilled! what alovely custom. I have always been fascinated by the traditional clothes your Royal family wears.

  26. Hi Nami,
    You are truly gifted and talented. Not only are you a fantastic cook but also you present the food so beautifully. And if that’s not enough you click the most gorgeous photographs. Beautiful!!!

  27. It is stunning, you might be a slow reader (like me) but you are a fast learner. It would be hard for me to eat this because I would be smiling the whole time! 😀 :) it’s so pretty! How nice for your guest post Nami, I will be sure to check it out.

  28. Congratulations to the winners, what a wonderful way of serving chirashi sushi. I’ve never heard of temari sushi before… sounds absolutely delicious and looks so fun to make!

  29. What a gorgeous picture!! I am in love with this dish right now! You’re such a great photographer because you really captured the beauty of this Japanese dish!!

  30. Mika

    寿司太郎使ってるの? なみちゃんだったら、使わないかと思ってたよ。うちも夏に寿司太郎使うよ。

  31. Great guest post, Nami! That looks really unique and delicious… I too am a follower of Xiaolu’s blog and have learnt a lot from her blog about food and photography! You have created a really beautiful post for her blog :) Just lovely!

    And congrats to the giveaway winners! :)

  32. Oh my, as usual, another mind-blowing dish and the photo just takes one’s breath away! Who cares about amateur photography skills when you have great photos like these? Trust me, you are definitely great in photography;)
    I love the sushi cake, it looks so cute and divine, and I like the sharing on the Japanese festival, love to learn about it 😀

  33. Hey, I’ve been thinking of making something like this for a long time, but didn’t get around to it. Is it similar to oshizushi? You’re such a pro at everything, from the food detailing to styling and photography and lighting etc. Even the shredded egg looks too perfect! Very nicely done Nami!

  34. Both the Chirashi Sushi Cake and Temari Sushi looks gorgeous and yummy!
    I really admire you for taking awesome pictures, Nami! I wish I have the patience and the time to focus more on photography.

  35. Nami-What an amazing and beautiful “work of art” food you featured. I must say, I would be afraid to eat this gorgeous sushi dish, and will not be making it any time soon, but it’s absolutely delicious looking and would not even be found at the most expensive Japanese menu!
    Have you thought about being a food stylist for Japanese foods, professionally?
    Also, I have a question that I already asked on my blog…how are you being able to copy and paste when you determine the winner at…I cannot, for the “life of me” copy and paste the entire widget to show the actual winning number, with the widget!
    Do you have to register, and sign in to Please advise me in e-mail when you get a chance. Thanks!
    [email protected]

  36. Jackie | Sweet and Salty SF

    Oh wow! Those cakes look wonderful (and much healthier than the traditional cake)! Thanks for the link about food styling and photography! I am very interested in it and need all the help I can get!

  37. Gorgeous! That looks super cute. Like I said in your the chirashi sushi post I’ve gotta try this soon. I’m not sure if I could make it as pretty as you did tho lol

  38. This is gorgeous, of course! You have such patience to decorate and style your food with such care to detail. You are an amazing student to have learned so much in such a short period of time, so give your own talent more credit!

  39. I’ve never heard of that festival but it sounds like such fun! It’s hard to believe you’ve been photographing food for such a short time – you have such natural talent! Off to check out your guest post :-)

  40. You have really nailed it with the ‘pretty’ in this post because that was exactly my first thought! Especially the salmon ‘rose’ is quite the eye-catcher!

    Your photography is always beautiful and looks very thought-out and professional.

    Having read the book you have mentioned myself, I don’t think there is a lot it can teach you except maybe remembering to keep a few things in mind you know already but are easy to forget. Xiaolu’s post however is AMAZING and worth reading again from time to time!


  41. Now, what little girl wouldn’t love a savory cake like that? This big girl would, too! LOL
    I bet it tastes even better than it looks — and that’s saying something.

  42. Nami this is truely a work of art!
    it looks amazing and your photography is really inspiring. I love coming here there is always great recipes, breath taking pictures and great tips
    Thank you for the link to Xioula’s blog