15 Japanese Desserts to Celebrate the Seasons

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  • Holiday baking is now in full swing. There will be pies, tarts, cookies, breads and sweets of all sorts.  If you are looking to change things up a little or sneak in some surprises to the usual repertoire this year, you’re in luck!

    Matcha Swiss Roll Cake with fork and cup of tea.

    We came up with some really festive Japanese desserts, from most popular Japanese desserts to wagashi (Japanese confectionery) that will impress your guests without stressing you out. Some of the recipes freeze well and can be make-ahead for your gift-giving throughout the month.  There’s no better time to give these celebratory desserts!

    15 Japanese Desserts to Celebrate the Seasons

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    Sesame Cookies on Japanese plate and red small flower in the back.

    1. Sesame Cookies 黒ゴマクッキー

    Give your icebox cookies a Japanese spin with this Sesame Cookies. Flavored with black sesame, the cookies are sweet yet nutty and savory the same time. They will stand out amongst the rest of your holiday sweets and baked goods.

    Sliced Japanese Cheesecake on blue plate with gold fork and tea cup on the back.

    2. Japanese Cheesecake スフレチーズケーキ

    If you show up at someone’s door with this melt-in-mouth Japanese Cheesecake, you can almost expect the biggest smile and some bonus warm hugs!  The combination of creamy cheesecake and cotton-soft soufflé is what makes this cheesecake insanely good.

    A slice of matcha swiss roll on the white plates with uncut roll cake on the back.

    3. Matcha Swiss Roll 抹茶ロールケーキ

    Fluffy sponge cake rolled up with fresh matcha cream in the middle, this Matcha Swiss Roll will be an instant favorite this holiday season! If your guests have a soft spot for anything matcha (green tea), I am pretty sure they are going to be as obsessed with this cake as I am.

    Sliced Castella on the Japanese dish with wooden fork.

    4. Castella Cake Recipe カステラ

    Made with only 4 ingredients, this Japanese Castella Cake is a very popular confectionary in Japan. It’s super moist with a hint of sweetness from honey. A perfect holiday or hostess gift for someone who has tried the sponge cake in Japan.

    Butter Cookies on wooden plate with Japanese paper.

    5. Butter Cookies 鳩サブレー

    Hato Sabure (鳩サブレー) is a brand of butter cookies sold at Toshimaya in Kamakura (鎌倉) near Yokohama.  These cookies go all the way back to 1887 (during Meiji Era).  They come in beautiful shape of dove and requires only 5 ingredients – flour, sugar, butter, egg, and baking powder.  To make the dove pattern, you can download the outline from the recipe post and trace it with parchment paper.

    Kabocha Squash Pie (かぼちゃパイ) with whipped cream on plate.

    6. Kabocha Squash Pie かぼちゃパイ

    Try something different for the holiday this year with this rich and creamy Kabocha Squash Pie with a hint of rum. A dollop of freshly whipped cream is optional, but absolutely encouraged.

    Chocolate Gateau with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar on top.

    7. Chocolate Gateau (Chocolate Cake) ガトーショコラ

    A rich and decadent chocolate cake is always a classic dessert to bake come holiday season. Moist, dark, and crumbly, this Chocolate Gateau will make everyone happy. If you prefer a more chocolatey flavor, you can slather it with fudgy frosting or chocolate ganache. Or keep it simple with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar on top. It’s utterly divine.

    Green Tea Cookies on the black plate and cup of tea.

    8. Green Tea Cookies 抹茶クッキー

    Nothing is more festive than these matcha green tea cookies. The unique, earthy flavor of matcha matches the rich, buttery taste.  Make a big batch for your cookie exchange and save some for afternoon tea.

    Chocolate, Corn, Cheese Steamed Cakes (Mushi-pan) on a rack.

    9. Steamed Cake (Mushi-pan) 蒸しパン

    For those who prefer healthier and lighter sweet baked goods, these Japanese steamed cake (Mushi-pan) is something you can’t get enough of.

    Daifuku Mochi on Japanese red plate.

    10. Daifuku 大福

    A popular Japanese sweet, Daifuku is a small round mochi stuffed with sweet red bean paste. It is believed to bring you good luck to enjoy sweets with auspicious names and shapes like Daifuku. To celebrate the holiday cheers, make this delicious snack at home and share them with friends and family.

    A slice of matcha mille crepe on a Royal Copenhagen plate with fresh whipped cream on side.

    11. Matcha Mille Crepe Cake 抹茶ミルクレープケーキ

    Matcha Mille Crepe Cake is made of thin layers of green tea crepes stacked together with fresh whipped cream in-between.  This elegant and decadent cake will wow your guests when they see the rich green layers!

    Mizu Yokan (Red Bean Jelly) on Japanese plate with wooden fork and cup of green tea.

    12. Mizu Yokan 水羊羹

    Sometimes we just want a light dessert after feasting on a heavy holiday meal. This traditional Japanese sweet, Mizu Yokan (Chilled red bean jelly with chestnut) is a delightful change to the usual rich desserts. The golden chestnuts add a celebratory flair to the jelly. Enjoy with matcha!

    Nama Chocolate on decorated plate and pink roses in the back.

    13. Nama Chocolate 生チョコレート

    Rich and smooth homemade Nama Chocolate made with chocolate and fresh cream, this ROYCE’s copycat chocolate is a truly special treat. It’s one of the most popular gifts from Japan, but you can easily make the chocolate at home to share the holiday spirit.

    Japanese Pudding with caramel sauce on top.

    14. Japanese Pudding (Purin) プリン

    Looking for a no-bake dessert? Try this easy Japanese Pudding (Purin) recipe. A custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, the pudding is silky, creamy and rich.

    Matcha Tiramisu in clear glasses. Raspberries are decorated on top.

    15. Matcha Tiramisu 抹茶ティラミス

    Creamy, rich, and bursting with bold matcha flavors, this irresistible Matcha Tiramisu consists matcha soaked ladyfingers layered with a light and airy mascarpone custard filling. It’s a classic tiramisu dessert with Japanese twist!

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    More Recipes for Japanese Desserts?

    Check out this link and browse more recipes!

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