A Takamatsu cake maker hopes that its micro-organism packed sponge cake will be a hit with increasingly health-conscious Japanese. Euglena, a single-celled freshwater organism, sometimes referred to as algae, is the key ingredient of a new variation of kasutera, a Japanese sponge cake.
Jointly developed by the University of Tokyo’s Euglena Co. and the confectioner Soke Kutsuwado, in hopes of enticing a growing segment of Japanese health nuts, the cake is purportedly chock-full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and other goodies.
The companies told the Japan Times that each slice of 2.5-cm-thick (1 inch) cake contains about 220 million euglena, and that it has high hopes for the product in light of an increasing level of health awareness both in Japan and globally.
According to Euglena Co.’s website, as euglena can photosynthesize with limited resources, scientists have designated it as a possible producer of food in space. The site also features a full line of functional foods and cosmetics containing the tiny critters, from beverages, cookies and noodles to soap, lotion and supplements.
The concept is actually not as novel as it sounds — spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, has enjoyed massive popularity as a health supplement in the United States, and is offered at many a smoothie bar, including popular chains like Jamba Juice and Smoothie King, and also as a featured ingredient in bottled natural juice drinks.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.