I challenged myself to make a sushi cake version of the checkerboard cake called Saint Sebastian. It's decorated with a cute ribbon and flowers. (Translator's note: the "Damie" in the title refers to a checkered pattern used by Louis Vuitton!)
as needed (enough to color the rice a very dark pink. If it's too light colored the check pattern won't show properly)
Ham or fish sausage
5-6 slices or 1 sausage
Shiso leaves etc.
Empty milk carton
Make the patterns and molds Cut the milk cartons into 4.5cm wide strips.
Form the Step 1 strips into circles, and fix them with staples to make 15, 10 and 5 cm diameter circular molds.
Wrap the part with the staple in plastic wrap.
Make the base Mix 440 g of sushi rice with with the sakura denbu. Divide into two 30 g portions, one 100g portion, and two 140 g portions.
Divide the remaining white uncolored rice in to one 30 g portion, two 100 g portions and one 140 g portion. Moisten the circular molds quickly with water.
Place the 5 cm mold in the center of a plate, fill with 30 g of pink sushi rice and press down evenly.
Add 30 g of white sushi rice on top of Step 6, and press down evenly. Add another 30 g layer of pink sushi rice and press down evenly. Remove the mold.
Place the 10 cm circular mold around the Step 7 rice.
Fill with 100 g of white sushi rice and press down evenly. Add 100 g of pink rice, then 100 g of white rice, pressing down evenly each time. Remove the mold.
Place the 15 cm mold around the Step 9 rice.
Add 140 g of pink rice, 140 g of white rice and 140 g of pink rice in that order, pressing down evenly each time. Remove the mold.
When removing the mold, hold down the edges of the sushi rice with a spoon or your hands, and lift the mold up gently from the bottom little by little.
Make and add the decorations. Crush the hanpen in a food processor.
Coat the Step 11 rice base all over with the crumbled hanpen from Step 11.
Cut the ham (or if using fish sausage, use a vegetable peeler to slice it) into strips, form a ribbon, and secure on top of the Step 14 cake with a short piece of pasta.
Wrap the smoked salmon slices to form roses. Fix on top of the cake with shiso leaves, next to the Step 15 ribbon.
Slice the cake Moisten your knife before slicing. The cake is quite thick, so you will need to insert your knife 4-5 times per slice. Moisten the blade each time.
It's difficult and time consuming to slice the cake nicely, so I recommend slicing it first and bringing it to the table already sliced.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make a San Sebastian checkerboard cake with sushi rice. It's difficult to slice or mold sushi rice like a cake, so it took a lot of effort to come up with this method.
The most difficult part is slicing the cake. If you press too hard with the knife or go back and forth with it like a saw, the two colors of rice get mixed together and you lose the checkerboard pattern. So put the blade in 4-5 times per slice and cut carefully. Put the knife in the far side and draw it towards you gently. Wipe and moisten the blade between each cut.