Japanese pastries are fascinating in that most of them have roots traceable to European cakes and bread, but Japan has made them undeniably their own. Nowadays, you’ll have an easier time finding a wider variety of certain pastries in Japan than in their native countries.
In the case of Baumkuchen, for example, you’d have an easier time finding it in Japan, period! While in its native Germany, Baumkuchen remains a regional treat mainly found in specialized bakeries, in Japan, Baumkuchen has been a staple cake since the 1920s and can be found everywhere from convenience stores to high-end bakeries.
Japan is also very fond of custard-filled pastries, like French eclairs and cream puffs. Japanese are also fond of chestnut Mont Blanc dessert, which they’ve turned into a cake by adding a sponge base.
If you’re looking for more traditionally Japanese pastries, then take a look at Castella cake, a Japanese sponge cake with roots in the 16th century, or Dorayaki, a filled Japanese-style pancake that’s particularly popular due to its association with the famous anime character Doraemon.