Some of S.’s colleagues recently gifted her a couple of attractive, packaged-for-gift-giving-purposes cakes they’d purchased while on holiday overseas.
One of the cakes featured a cherry blossom motif. It was made of yellow sponge cake to which red or pink food coloring had been added, had been sliced into thirds, and its top was covered with a butterfly-scale-thin layer of gold leaf. If you look closely, you can see discontinuities in the gold foil over each sub-cake.
The cake had been cut into thirds using, I suspect, a laser cutter. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of laser cutters being used to make inedible acrylic plastic cake “toppers” (decorations), but apparently only one of a laser cutter being used to cut a cake itself: What Happens When You Laser Cut A Cake? Laser Cutting Video , uploaded by Alfex CNC Australia, an Australian machine tool company that sells industrial laser cutters and engravers, CNC machines, and 3-d printers. There’s also a video of somebody laser-cutting gingerbread.
The same method had been employed to cleave shapes into the sub-cakes: a cherry blossom silhouette, a butterfly silhouette, and another cherry blossom. In the photo above, you can see one of the sub-cakes parted to reveal the flower-shaped hunk within. Gold leaf can be laser-cut and I’m guessing the cutting was done after the gold leaf was applied. Unbeknownst to me, a layer of some sort of waxed-paper baking sheet had been used and left on the browned bottom of the cake. The laser had cut through it as cleanly as it had through the cake itself and it was imperceptibly thin. Imperceptible to human touch, but chewy.
The second cake was, in fact, multiple small cakes shaped like upwards-facing cat’s paws and allegedly made with cheese (rather than being made of cream cheese, like a cheesecake) and depicted on the packaging as containing one dollop of creamy filling each.
The individually wrapped cakes sat in wells in a white plastic tray and the whole tray was contained in another clear, airtight plastic wrapper. Two sachets were laced atop the tray of cakes: a large ivory-colored packet sporting brown text, all in Japanese except for
DO NOT EAT (and, in smaller type,
DO NOT MICROWAVE and a telephone number), and a smaller white packet with green text and featuring a circular window displaying a solid pink indicator material.
The larger sachet was an oxygen scrubber and the smaller one was an oxygen exposure telltale. One side of latter is printed with four lines of Japanese text. The four lines on the other side read as follows:
DON’T EAT, and
Freund corp. The material inside the oxygen telltale packet turned from pink to a place blue or violet color shortly after we opened the outer layer of packaging.
Freund corp. was a reference to the smaller packet’s manufacturer. No company name appeared in English on the larger packet, but Google Translate produced
Freund Industry from the Japanese text on the larger packet, along with
ethanol oxygen absorber and the trademarked name
ネガモールド). A quick search didn’t turn up any results for a Nyoxal oxygen indicator on freund.co.jp, but a Web search on the text
ナイオキサル gets results pertaining to oxygen indication tech.