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How to Make a Christmas Sushi Cake

Updated on November 17, 2013
christmas sushi
christmas sushi

Christmas in Japan

Around the end of November, I set a day aside to decorate my home for the holidays. I make myself a big mug of hot chocolate and get to work on decorating my fake tree. I always look forward to the holiday season and although it's not celebrated in the same way as other Western countries, it's still one of the most beautiful times of the year. Many stores, restaurants and sometimes entire streets are decorated for the winter season. Many restaurants start to offer holiday-themed dishes and department stores start taking reservations for high-end Christmas cakes with some of the more famous ones selling out in just a couple of days. In the evening, the city twinkles even more brightly with special Christmas illumination all over town. By the way, Christmas is not considered a national holiday here in Japan so if it happens to fall on a weekday, it's work as usual for the majority of people.

Chirashi-Sushi or Scattered Sushi

To most people in Japan, a Christmas dinner consists of chicken ( rotisserie chicken, chicken leg or a bucket of KFC ) and a Christmas cake ( usually strawberry shortcake ). But there are some families who prefer sushi over chicken and my family was one of them. When I was a kid my mom used to make us a chirashi-sushi for Christmas dinner every year. Chirashi means "scatter" so it's basically sushi rice with the fresh ingredients such as the fish scattered on the top either in a random or decorative fashion. So I've kept the tradition alive and well and continue to make this chirashi-sushi in my home for Christmas Day.

I made a Christmas Chirashi-Sushi Cake!

Yes, you heard right. A cake made out of sushi ingredients! If you are a sushi fan, you're going to love this cake. The most difficult part is making sure to make a good sushi rice and this involves using short-grain rice which is stickier than long-grain types. In America it's sometimes called Calrose and that works perfectly for this sushi recipe. Please make sure to use only the freshest ingredients available. As you can see in the picture, I've decorated the cake using a variety of ingredients. This is what I used to decorate my cake.

  • Tobikko (flying fish roe) on the side of the cake
  • Salmon shaped like flowers with more fish roe in the middle
  • Red bell pepper cut out into stars
  • Baby tomates
  • Chopped cucumbers
  • Strips of egg omelette
  • Broccoli "trees"
  • Cucumber swirl
  • Santa Claus figurine

Some things to remember

  • Rice cooker works best but if you don't have one, you can use a saucepan to cook the rice.
  • Use the freshest sushi-grade fish
  • Use ingredients that add Christmas colors such as green and red.
  • Have fun with it!

By changing up the ingredients and decorations, this sushi cake can be served for other holidays as well as birthdays.

*Photo taken by myself

  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 6

Ingredients

  • SUSHI RICE
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • SUSHI INGREDIENTS
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup imitation crab shredded
  • 1 avocado mashed
  • 1/2 cup raw sushi-grade tuna chopped
  • DECORATIONS-optional
  • raw sushi-grade salmon or smoked salmon sliced
  • broccoli florets (cooked)
  • cucumber
  • red bell pepper shaped into stars
  • tobikko ( flying fish roe )
  • ikura ( salmon roe )

Instructions

  1. First you'll need to cook the rice. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear ( about 5 times ) and drain in colander.
  2. Cook the rice in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can cook the rice in a medium saucepan by combining the rice with 2 cups cold water and bringing to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until ingredients are dissolved.
  4. Transfer the cooked rice to a very large bowl. Sprinkle the seasoned vinegar evenly over the rice. Use a slicing motion with a spatula to carefully separate the rice grains while mixing the seasonings in. Set aside.
  5. Combine 1 egg, pinch salt and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and mix well. Make a very thin omelette with this mixture, It should turn out something like a crepe. Once it's cool enough to touch, cut into thin strips and set aside.
  6. Scoop out half the sushi rice into a round pan ( a cake pan works fine ) to make your first layer. Make sure to press down on the rice so it sticks to each other creating a firm base. Flatten the top of the rice.
  7. Spread 2/3 of the sliced omelette evenly on the top of the rice layer.
  8. Add a layer of mashed avocado on the egg layer.
  9. Add a layer of chopped raw tuna on the avocado layer.
  10. Carefully add the other half of the sushi rice on top of the ingredients inside the cake pan or mold making sure to press down making sure all ingredients are stuck together. (Just make sure not to press TOO hard! You don't want a mushy creation!)
  11. You should now have a flat top surface of sushi rice. Carefully remove the sushi from the mold or cake pan and place it on a serving plate.
  12. Decorate with salmon, broccoli florets, cucumbers, red bell pepper stars, the remaining egg strips and fish roe. Feel free to get creative and add other sushi ingredients if you care to.
  13. Cut into wedges to serve. Eat with a small dish of soy sauce and wasabi.
Cuisinart AMB-9SP 9-Inch Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware Springform Pan, Silver
Cuisinart AMB-9SP 9-Inch Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware Springform Pan, Silver

I use this springform pan for all my baking needs including this sushi cake. The non-stick surface and the clasp helps make releasing items so much easier.

 
Sushi: Taste and Techniques
Sushi: Taste and Techniques

I like this book because it not only includes most of the available sushi types, but also teaches you how to look for the freshest fish as well as how to eat sushi the proper way.

 
Sushi Making at Home
Sushi Making at Home

This is a great book that not only includes recipes but shows you neat decorating tricks. It also includes a recipe on how to create a sushi cake!

 

What did you think of my sushi cake? Feel free to leave your comments!

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    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @lesliesinclair: I think so too. I'll be making this again for a friend's birthday this coming weekend.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      This looks elegant and unusual and would be a real conversation getter.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Minoru10: Thanks Minoru.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @WriterJanis2: I was actually quite proud I made this. :)

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Mmmm, I wish I could try that, I have never had it before , looks too beautiful to eat.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Elyn MacInnis: Thanks so much. I hope you get a chance to try this.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @RinchenChodron: Thank\ you!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Mary Crowther: Thanks Maree for visiting. :)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @DawnRae64: Haha. I like making things that are out of the ordinary.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @GrammieOlivia: Please let me know how it turns out!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: Aww what a shame. You could try making these with vegetables only. That might be fun!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: haha. You'll love this one Vinn that's for sure.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      What a novel idea. I've never seen one of these before.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      What a fantastic idea. The funny part is that when we hear the word "cake" we think of sweet. Then when we think of sushi, we think of fish, soy sauce and wasabi horseradish. Put together it sounds so funny. But I had a careful look at your ingredients, and think it sounds lovely. What a fun, festive dish!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Another great Japanese flavor lens! Well done.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 4 years ago from Havre de Grace

      So fun (and tasty)!

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Are you serious?!?!?! yum. Now i'm craving sushi and the best place is an hour away. Thank you for continuing to share these wonderful peeks into life in Japan.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      Sousababy, you are so right, I love sushi and I'm from Toronto, and this is something that I will definitely try to make. My family is going to be surprised for sure!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      I'm allergic to fish - so this would kill me (not so gently) too. However, I know lots of folks in Toronto who love sushi. Thanks for a fabulous recipe - love the Santa figurine.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 4 years ago

      What the... hell!? What a crazy idea? I love it!!!!! I'm a huge fan of sushi, this would kill me gently!