Located in Hiroshima prefecture, Joge is a nice historical village that has seen the birth of an innovative cake: Kunihiroya’s yoshu cake. Definitely a must-try sweet during your stay in Hiroshima area.
Yoshu 洋酒 is composed of 2 kanjis. Yo 洋 meaning western and shu 酒 meaning alcohol. Yoshu cake (洋酒ケーキ) is then a “western liquor cake”.
The history of the factory
Kunihiroya’s Western liquor cake takes roots back to 1958. Its founder is Toshiyuki Sone. His inspiration comes from the French baked confectionery “Savarin”. Savarin is a cake, soaked in a rum syrup.
He made the recipe his own by improving it to meet with the rural people’s taste. He used as a base a castella recipe. Castella is a western-inspired Japanese confectionery. Its name comes from Portuguese Pao de Castella, meaning the bread from Castille. It is a soft sponge cake with a nice brown crust on top and at the bottom. Yoshu cake consists of castella cut in slices and soaked in a brandy and rum liquor syrup.
For local people, it was quite an unusual and modern taste at that time, when western confectioneries were not as common. But the delicacy soon became a hit and is still loved by Joge people.
Kunihiroya’s Yoshu cake now
This must-try sweet of Hiroshima prefecture almost disappeared from the map, when his creator, Sone-san, decided to retire. It was without counting on Maehara Koichi, who was running a grocery store next door.
In 2005, he heard the business was on the edge to close. He decided to take over. “I felt like it would have been a shame if such a delicious cake, loved by all around here, would have ceased to exist”.
Maehara-san had no experience in cake making. But, he was keen to learn. So before retiring, Sone-san taught him everything he needed to know to continue on making the delicious liquor cake while keeping the same taste.
Where to get this must-try Hiroshima prefecture sweet?
The best place to get it is, of course, directly at the factory, in Joge town. You can also get it at Joge station or Hiroshima station. And if you cannot wait to be in Japan to try it, get in now in our Travel to Joge box.