Life is fragile, but we are strong.
I'd been planning a Japanese themed blog post for about a month now, ever since I read this Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake post. And then of course the disaster struck Japan last week and now this has turned into a very different post altogether. I had so much that I was going to talk about, but it all seems so insignificant now. It's so scary to think that B and I would have been in Japan around the time of the earthquake had we gone ahead with our plan to visit Japan this year.
I've just come back from a little trip to Germany where I visited my Oma and had some much needed time off. Bizarrely enough though, she'd just experienced a magnitude 5 earthquake, something very unusual - almost unheard of - for the little town that she lives in. She was fine, but obviously very shaken and couldn't stop talking about it. So I can't even begin to imagine what the people of Japan are going through - tears well up every time I look at the news. It's something I just can't comprehend and my heart goes out to all the people suffering from this catastrophe.
There are so many ways you can help & donate to relief efforts. But the one I'd like to highlight is related to this blog post. Last year, I was lucky enough to be given a small bottle of sakura (cherry blossom) extract. I'd been planning to use it for a long time, and when I saw the cheesecake post above and read the original post it was adapted from, I knew it would be perfect in a buttercream frosting. Sakura extract is very hard to come by and you can't buy it in many places outside of Japan (not even in the Japan centre here in London - I checked!). So if you'd like a chance to win some extract, along with some other cherry blossom goodies, while helping Japan at the same time, Chika from She Who Eats is hosting a giveaway on her blog. All you have to do is make a donation which will go to the Japan Disaster Relief, and you will be entered into the giveaway.
As for this cotton soft cheesecake, it really does live up to it's name - it's so light and fluffy and soft, very much like a baked cheesecake, but much, much lighter. This recipe is very easy to follow and the results are easily replicable, but if you'd like to learn more and get this cake just right, Ju from The Little Teochew shares these tips & tricks. I thought these would make perfect cupcakes as they are so perfectly light and airy, and I also added some vanilla to it for extra flavour. Enjoy!
To all reading this, I hope you are healthy and safe no matter where you are.