This is a special cake made only in summer season.
Black sugar flavored red bean paste is wrapped by thin agar-jelly.
Actually, leopard flower and its leaves are not so famous even for Japanese people.
In ancient Japanese language, “Nuba” means black, and in fact this is the oldest expression of black color in recorded Japanese language. A ball is called “Tama,” so Nubatama means a black ball in ancient Japanese.
After flowering of leopard flower, a pale-green pod grows up keeping the young berries inside, and as they mature it peels back to reveal a cluster of ripe real black fruits Nubatama.
When ancient Japanese Waka poets described the blackness of a night, or a woman's voluptuous hair, they used this black berries as a beautiful image and put “Nubatama” as a introduction of those night blackness or hair blackness.
This is an example of Waka poem translated : Black berry like black nights will absorb my black hairs into their black world, and my heart will fly through it to my lover’s bed.”
The name of this Japanese cake Ubadama, came from this black berries Nubatama,
Isn’t it interesting to imagine about the ancient Japanese poet might surprise and appreciate to name this cake Nubatama with the highest praise?
“Kyo-gashi Tsukasa Kameya-Yoshinaga”