Japanese Wedding Cupcakes, #SundaySupper


“April showers bring May flowers,” was my grandmother Nona’s sing-song method of teaching me the months. I can still hear her voice all these decades later.

Embedded in my memory too is Nona’s moist chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting swirled on top. No wonder. Repeatedly I’d lift and close the freezer, staring at the dessert. Did you do that as a kid, too?

My grandmother, Nona, is in turquoise. 
A younger Ninja Baker looks forward to birthday presents.
My sister and Aunt Eddy are on either side.

Speaking of memories, Brandie of Home Cooking Memories is hosting this week’s April Showers #SundaySupper event at Twitter. (Click here to join the conversation around the table every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.) Brandie’s blog motto is “Cooking up new memories while preserving the old.”

This week’s #SundaySupper honors the tradition of April showers - the wedding and baby variety. I was in a bit of a quandary. Gifts for newlyweds and newborns are given in Japan. However, traditionally, showers are not – yet. (Recently some high-end Japanese hotels have picked up on the American, Australian, Canadian practice and have offered “shower parties.”)

However, In line with the western dowry system, when a young man goes with his diamond ring to propose to his beloved, he brings a “betrothal gift.” (??? yui-no-hin) Commonly known as cash which is stuffed in a fancy envelope. The money is not for the wedding. It’s so his lovely bride-to-be can buy kitchen tools, furniture and all the items needed to set up a comfy home for him. Oh! I mean them. Typically, there is a creature of longevity (crane, turtle or shrimp/lobster) in gold or red decorating the snow-white betrothal gift envelope. 

Betrothal Gift Envelope with a Crane Decoration

So, for #SundaySupper April Showers, I created Japanese wedding cupcakes. The cake and frosting are vanilla-orange. My husband drew origami cranes for my decorations. The images were taken to a local cake supply store where they were transformed into edible art. Basically, stickers for grownup bakers with the spirits of kids. (For the remaining, cupcakes I piped orange-tinted frosting for decorations.)

The Ninja Baker's Japanese Wedding Cupcakes
rest atop sake cups used for ceremonial occasions.


Japanese Wedding Cupcakes

Author: Kim Watkinson

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
½ an orange, zested
½ tsp. orange extract
1 cup milk
3 eggs

Combine the above ingredients except the eggs with a mixer. One at a time, add the eggs. With an ice cream scoop, divide the batter into cupcake cases. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes. (325 for dark pans)


Cool and frost with Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting from Ann Byrn’s Cake Mix Doctor. The blend of whipped cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and fresh orange juice and zest are delightful and delicious!

Top with edible images, flowers or any other decoration appropriate for your shower.

For more shower desserts and dishes, visit the sites of the food bloggers listed below.

Soups, Salads & Sandwiches

Main Dishes


Cookies, Brownies & Dessert Bars

Sweet Treats

Drink Recipes




Wishing you many reasons to celebrate in April and always.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.