Valentine’s Day is here again and with it, another lovely video game recipe. I’ve had this one on the back burner for a long time, but unfortunately the conditions never seemed to be quite right to make it. What conditions you may ask? Why, the weather conditions of course! That’s right, this week I’m going to show you all how to cook with snow!
Well ok, maybe we’re not actually cooking with snow, but we’re definitely eating it!
I knew I wanted to make a Couple’s Cake for Valentine’s Day this year, but a few oddities sprang up once I began doing the research. First of all, the game sprite looks a little strange for something calling itself a cake. Honestly, the domed shape and presence of a dish always made it look much more like an ice cream sundae to me.
So, much like with the Old Gateau post I made last year, I decided to look up the item’s name in other languages for an insight into this discrepancy. Lo and behold the original Japanese name literally translates to “always together” (Itsumademo Futari de) and gives no description as to what kind of food it is. Indeed, none of the other translations mention anything about a cake at all! So all I can say is “what the heck, U.S. localizers!?”
With the “cake” parameter out of the way I felt like I was starting to make a little progress into what this Couple’s Cake actually was; the next step was to check out its ingredients. In Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Mario can have food (like the Couple’s Cake) made by bringing items to the Zess T., the resident toad chef of Rougueport, who will combine and transform them into new, energizing edibles. What’s great about a recipe system like this is it gives an insight into how the food items would be prepared in real life. However, the Couple’s Cake always stood out as strange in this regard as its in-game ingredients are a “snow bunny” and…. “spicy soup?”
Now I enjoy making these recipes as accurate to the game as possible, but I just could not find a way to incorporate the spicy soup into the final recipe haha. However, the Snow Bunny I could definitely work with. In fact, in Super Paper Mario, the Couple’s Cake recipe calls for a Snow Bunny and a Berry Snow bunny (omitting the spicy soup completely) so I decided to just run with that!
Interestingly enough, much like snow angels and snowmen here in America, making “Yuki Usagi,” or snow rabbits, is a popular winter pastime for Japanese children and the inspiration for the Snow Bunny items in Paper Mario. Having snow as an ingredient pretty much convinced me that the Couple’s Cake would actually be made of ice cream rather than cake, but when the idea came up to use actual snow in the recipe, I couldn’t resist!
I was born and raised in upstate New York, so I’m no stranger to dealing with the snow, but I really hadn’t considered its culinary applications until recently. To be honest, I was really skeptical (as I’m sure some of you are) that such a simple recipe could produce something I’d take more than few bites of, but it turned out so good we ended up eating the whole thing! If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with snow, do yourself a favor and try this out if you never have.
+ Snow Cream +
|Freshly Fallen Snow||~13 cups (700 g)|
|Sweetened Condensed Milk||1 can (14 oz)|
|Large Red Grapes||as needed for garnish|
- Large mixing bowls (chilled)
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
- Trifle bowl or other serving dishes (chilled)
1) Before you go out and harvest any snow, the fist thing you’re going to want to do is chill your mixing bowl(s.) Leave the bowl in your freezer for 10 minutes to help keep the snow from melting as quickly (this is especially important if you’re kitchen’s on the warmer side.) Once your bowl is cold you can go ahead and dump the snow right in. Open the can of sweetened condensed milk (SCM) and pour it over top along with a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp vanilla.
2) Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix all of these ingredients together. You’ll notice the SCM will begin to clump up and get chunky, but keep stirring and it’ll all even out. When you don’t see any stray patches of unmixed snow, you’re done! That was easy right? Now go out and impress your friends and family!
3) However, if you’re interested in constructing the Couple’s Cake as it appears in the game, then certainly keep reading. Add enough snow to fill a large serving dish and use your hands to press it down into a smooth(ish) dome. I’d recommend washing your hands before and after this or perhaps wearing gloves if you have them. Either was this stuff is COLD and you should prepare accordingly.
4) To garnish the cake, choose a handful of the nicest looking grapes from the bunch and use a toothpick to pin them to the snow cream as shown below.
At this point you can stick some spoons in it and call it a (Valentine’s) day, but there are a couple other Paper Mario items made with snow that would be a shame to pass up. Let’s HOP to it ;).
+ Snow Bunny & Berry Snow Bunny +
Traditionally, Yuki Usagi are made with the leaves and berries of the Nanten plant, but in the interest of availability I made some substitutions.
|Freshly Fallen Snow||~3 cups|
|Red Fruit Juice||4 tsp|
|Bay Leaves||as needed|
- Large mixing bow
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
1) Whereas the Couple’s Cake tastes like ice cream, these bunnies are more like snow cones. There’s really not much to them at all, but they are super adorable. To make the Berry Snow Bunny, mix the fruit juice (I used Cranberry Apple juice myself) with your fresh snow in a chilled bowl like before. Make sure you mix until the color is uniform and there aren’t any dark spots. Dump the contents of the bowl out on to a chilled plate and use your hands to mold it into a potato shape.
2) Two bay leaves for the ears and two cranberries for the eyes and that’s all there is to it! To make the regular snow bunny, just omit the juice. Cute!
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as some stuff from my real job as a pastry chef. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you soon with an all-new recipe!