All About Japan

Make Your Very Own Star Festival Raindrop Cake

| Sweets , Summer Festivals

Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, arrives on July 7, and this “how-to” video you can make your very own Raindrop Cake to celebrate!

The “How to make Star Festival Raindrop Cake” video comes with English subtitles and easy, step-by-step instructions, so you’ll be swallowing down delicious raindrops in no time.

All you need is a yellow peach, pearl agar, water, edible gold powder, a bamboo leaf, toasted soybean flour, brown sugar syrup, a microwave and a fridge. Okay, so some of these ingredients may be a little challenging to get your hands on if your’re not living in Japan, but it will be well worth the effort.

The significance of the raindrop cake for the Tanabata festival comes from an ancient Chinese legend. The story goes that Orihime (a beautiful princess) and Hikoboshi (a cow herder, also called Kengyu) fell deeply in love and neglected their duties. The Heaven God separated the two as punishment. They were only allowed to see each other once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month (hence Tanabata, 七夕, which means "the evening of the seventh"). However, if it rained, the river (representing the milky way) separating them would flood and they would not be able to see each other—so they prayed for good weather.

This is why people pray for clear skies on the night of Tanabata so that the two lovers can meet. If it rains, the raindrops are said to be the tears of Orihime and Hikoboshi. Tanabata festivals are held all over Japan in early July and August.

If you’ve ever thought about making Japanese cakes, or wagashi, the raindrop cake is the perfect place to start. It’s quite simple to make and, let’s face it, it looks so damn exquisite! And why not make a Tanabata bento while you're preparing this dessert for the summer festival?

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