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Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop

A Japantown legend lives up to the hype.

 

Long a staple of various “Best of San Francisco” lists, the coffee crunch cake at Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop is a rarity among the city’s iconic foods, in the sense that a surprising number of sweets-loving folks in the Bay Area still haven’t tried it—perhaps because they aren’t Japantown regulars, or because slices of the cake tend to sell out by early afternoon. A recent milestone birthday celebration finally prompted me to rectify that gap by ordering a whole 8-inch cake ($38)—a faithful recreation of a specialty of the long-closed Blum’s pastry shops—which I picked up on a Saturday morning with a slew of urgent instructions: Put the cake into the freezer as quickly as possible, and don’t move it to the fridge until four hours prior to when I’m ready to eat it, and, really, shouldn’t I have thought to bring a cooler with me to keep the thing from getting soggy during the car ride home? When the lucky birthday girl blew out the candles and we finally cut into cake, I understood the fuss. The cake is textural perfection: alternating layers of soft, delicate sponge cake and not-too-sweet vanilla cream, all topped with that namesake coffee crunch—chunks of toffeelike candy that add an audible, deliciously smoky and caramel-y accent to every bite. 1790 Sutter St. (at Buchanan Street), 415.931.8165

 

Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco 

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