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Simple & Honest: That’s What Makes Them Lovely. Island’s Sweets by [TOUCA BAKE SHOP] (Naha)
post : 2020.12.21 07:00
There’s a small baked goods shop located just 10 minutes on foot from the Shureimon gate at Shurijo Castle that’s bustling with regular customers. The name of the shop? It’s called [TOUCA BAKE SHOP].
The shop is run by Hitomi and Ryochi Takemoto who relocated to Okinawa from Tokyo in 2005, after leaving their jobs at a well-known company in the music industry. Even before they moved here, the two always dreamt of “owning our own shop someday”.
“Rather than special cakes for special occasions, we make sweets that people would want to enjoy every day.” So, they do everything they can to get the best ingredients, and offer their baked goods at prices that are affordable. The cakes and muffins at TOUCA BAKE SHOP are baked with care and can easily fit into the comfortable flow of time for any lifestyle, and they certainly can make your day a little more special.
My recommendations are their Carrot Cake, German Cake, and Crumble Cake. I’m sure other people have other recommendations from their lineup of delicious goods, but frankly, they’re all so good and I always have a hard time deciding. But these three choices are must-haves for me.
Let me first introduce their Carrot Cake. Carrot cakes are originally from England and became popular in the States in the 60s. During that time, Okinawa was under the administration of the United States, and arrived here with a splash. It’s still one of the popular cakes on Okinawa today.
The Carrot Cake offered at TOUCA BAKE SHOP are made with generous amounts of carrots. The cake is delightfully moist and contains raisins and walnuts that add great texture, topped with a nice thick layer of cheese frosting.
Next, the German Cake. This is also another popular and familiar cake among the Okinawan people. The cocoa flavored sponge cake is wonderfully fluffy. It’s not just topped with a delicious coconut filling, but right underneath it and between the layers of the sponge cake is a rich layer of ganache. You can’t tell at first glance, but with the first bite, you’ll taste the great care that went into the preparation of this awesome cake, and you’ll be saying to yourself, “I see, no wonder this is so delicious!”
Next is their Crumble Cake that’s crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. In the photo shown above, the Crumble Cake has berries in it, but the fruits change according to season. Like pears and strawberries, or in the summer, they use dragon fruits, pineapples, and other Okinawan fruits. I definitely want to try them all throughout the year.
Yes, and I can’t forget. The Victoria Sandwich Cake shown above is also another selection that you “really, REALLY!” have to try. Also known as Victoria sponge cake, this cake is named after Queen Victoria and is a long-cherished cake in England. Hitomi-san makes jam or paste from fresh seasonal fruits and spreads them on top of the cream cheese frosting in between the layers of sponge cake. In the fall, she uses roselle, and chestnuts and mascarpone. In the summers, she uses passionfruit.
Every time I visit the shop, I look at all the baked goods that line the counters and can’t decide what to get, thinking, “I want that! I also want this, too!” Hitomi-san acquired baking experience while working at the Hamabe-no Chaya (teahouse on the beach) and Yama-no Chaya (teahouse in the mountains) in Nanjo City, then honed her skills independently and expanded her repertoire. Since the very beginning of TOUCA BAKE SHOP, she has always been very particular about the ingredients she uses.
For example, the basic ingredient for all baked goods is flour, and at TOUCA BAKE SHOP, they use Okinawan whole wheat flour from wheat grown on Ie Island or flour made in Hokkaido. As for butter and cream, they’re from Kyushu, and for eggs, they use fertilized eggs from free range chicken at Miyagi Farms in Nanjo City. For the fruits and vegetables required for cakes and muffins, they try to get those produced in Okinawa as much as possible. For sugar, they use cane sugar, and salt is natural sea salt made in Okinawa.
At the new location that was completed in June 2020, they increased their lineup of beverages and added an eat-in area within the shop. They use coffee beans from Kimameya in Shuri for their cold brew coffee, and for their drip coffee, the beans are roasted coffee beans from [rokkan COFFEE CREATORS] located in Higawa, Naha City. You can also enjoy tea by Mariage Freres, as well as juices made with red perilla, plum, passion fruit or other homemade syrups.
To take away as a treat for yourself or for a friend, pick up their shortbreads or maple biscuits made with Okinawan ingredients like whole wheat flour from Ie Island. I also recommend their British Flapjacks that are packed with organic oatmeal. They last for two to three weeks, so they’re great to have around.
The interior of the shop was done by their neighbor, Uenoida-san. They grow chemical-free vegetables and hold various workshops and are active in creating things based on the concept of ‘making’ and ‘nurturing’. Ryochi-san shares, “The electric work and even the plumbing was done by the local people. This shop was born thanks to the help and support of the people in Shuri.”
The open entrance that lets natural light pour into the shop was also done by a local resident, Chinen-san, from Chinen Panels. Igarashi-san from CONTE_ who runs an establishment nearby that serves tasty dishes made with Okinawan ingredients, was the one who informed the Takemotos of the vacant tenancy.
TOUCA BAKE SHOP got its name from their concept of “sweets (Ca) made with ingredients of the island (TOU)”. Although TOUCA BAKE SHOP is a tiny shop, actually no, perhaps it’s because it’s a tiny shop, you can enjoy the wonderful pastries made with the warm intentions of Okinawan hospitality.
TOUCA BAKE SHOP
Address: 1-6 Shuri Akata-cho, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (or when sold out)
Closed: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda