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Cup Cakes

Japanese cupcakes

I can spend hours browsing through Japanese grocery stores since they always have some fun, interesting creation I’ve never seen before. I can’t read a word of Japanese, but luckily they often put large pictures on the package to tell you what’s inside. On a recent trip to the JAS Mart in the East Village, I was walking down the tea aisle and found a brightly colored row of boxes with little cup cakes on it. It literally showed a cake in a cup, and based on the picture directions on the back, it looked like you could make it in the microwave in less than two minutes.

Cupcake instructions (thank goodness there were pictures)

Unsure I was interpreting the picture directions correctly, I asked the clerk behind the counter to translate for me. Sure enough, you pour the mix in the cup, stir in one egg and microwave for 1 – 2 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. It came in several flavors like lemon, lime, vanilla and chocolate. Impressed by this nicely packaged, novel product, I paid the $2 and took the chocolate variety home with me.

By American standards my microwave is average strength (1200 watts) so I figured I would try microwaving it for 1.5 minutes, in the middle of the suggested time range. What I didn’t realize is that the times were given for 500w and 600w microwaves, so I would have been better off cooking it for one minute (or less). Even though I overcooked my cup cake, it was still moist and edible. It had the consistency of a sponge cake, very light and fluffy but difficult to cut with a fork. The chocolate flavor was subtle (the color was no where near as dark as the picture) and I had to fight my American instincts to pour chocolate syrup over it. It was a fun thing to try, but I think I’ll stick with the British cake-in-a-can if I want a good, microwavable cake in the future.

Microwavable Japanese Cup Cakes

JAS Mart
35 E. St. Marks Pl. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.)
New York, NY
(212) 420-6370
Hours: Sun-Thur 11:00am-11:00pm, Fri & Sat 11:00am-Midnight


Mariko says on May 31st, 2005 at 3:55 pm:

Ohmygod, I just bought the exact same thing a couple months ago! I have yet to try it, but now I will! Yummy.

Jacqueline says on May 31st, 2005 at 4:41 pm:

You can do the same thing with regular boxed cake mix (like duncan hines). Stir in an egg, flavorings (candied fruits, etc) and enough veggie oil to get the right consistency, and pour it in a microwave safe bowl lined with a coffee filter. You get a big cupcake that sort of tastes like sponge cake.

Jacqueline says on May 31st, 2005 at 7:24 pm:

I forgot to say microwave it at 30 second increments until it is done. :)

Robyn says on June 1st, 2005 at 1:46 am:

I’ve been intrigued by those cute little microwavable cupcakes (I’ve seen a few brands) but have never tried it. I think I’ll pass now, hehe. ;) But they ARE really cute…

Tracy says on June 1st, 2005 at 5:40 pm:

Well, at least you get a little cup. Not bad for $2.00. I have to see if they have it in my area.

keiko says on June 9th, 2005 at 12:05 pm:

Hi Kelli – how big is this place? We have some Japanese grocery shops in London too, but they are very expensive and have’t got much stuff (I gave up buying Japanese things here a long time ago…)

Kelli says on June 10th, 2005 at 8:35 am:

Hi Keiko — The JAS Mart is a decent size, and there’s an even bigger Japanese store just around the corner from it. New York has a pretty good selection of Japanese food, at pretty reasonable prices too.

AC says on April 7th, 2006 at 1:18 am:

Here is the CM for “Moko Moko” featuring Jpop duo “W (Double You)”


meemalee says on July 9th, 2006 at 5:26 am:

I live in London and I just bought two of these cupcake mixes yesterday from the Japan Centre on Piccadilly which is huge, has absolutely loads of stuff (kewpie mayo, naruto, mochi, okonomiyaki flour, shiso, menma, morinaga hi-chew, you name it) and is extremely cheap (compared to normal British supermarkets) so I don’t know where keiko has been shopping!

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Erica says on December 29th, 2006 at 11:46 am:


admiller says on April 26th, 2009 at 9:48 pm:

I have a local Japanese market that I like to go to as well. I haven’t seen these there so I decided to try my hand at microwaving my own cupcakes. I wrote about it at ehow.com. If interested, check it out:


susana says on October 22nd, 2009 at 6:39 pm:

hey i love those but do you know if you can buy them online

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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