The French Cake That Inspired Starbucks Japan's Valentine's Day Frappuccino

Starbucks is well known for releasing special holiday drinks, with a focus on the festive spirit, indulgent ingredients, and elaborate designs. Valentine's Day is no different, and Japan takes the cake this year. Frappuccino fans get a deep dive into the world of chocolate in 2023, with not just one, but two, cake-inspired frosty drinks commemorating the holiday of love, notes Sora News 24.

The first one, which appeared on Starbucks Japan menus on January 18, celebrates the soft-centered chocolate fondant cake, per Japan Today – but it's the second one, set to debut on February 3, that could forever raise the bar for chocolate in a cup. Like the already released Fondant Chocolat Frappuccino, the next-up frosty Valentine's Day indulgence from Starbucks Japan nods to French baking expertise and sophisticated presentation.

But Starbucks digs deeper into French gastronomy with this Frappuccino, basing it on a beloved cake from French pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillon, who reportedly created the cake at Paris's renowned Dalloyau bakery in 1955, according to The Good Life France. Here's how Starbucks has re-created that famous French cake for Valentine's Day in Japan.

Song in a cup

If chocolate could sing, the Japanese Valentine's Day Frappuccino might make a career of it, especially when named for one of the most famous chocolate cakes and singing styles in the world. The Opera Frappuccino debuts in Starbucks venues across Japan on February 3, reveals Sora News 24, which calls it "a drinkable French opera cake."

Like its namesake dessert, whose moniker honors the French Opera House, the Opera Frappuccino features decadent layers of chocolate, sponge cake, and cream. While French opera cake recipes commonly include some form of coffee syrup or coffee-flavored buttercream, this Valentine's Day Frappuccino gets a dose of real coffee, along with almond milk, chocolate chips, and dark chocolate powder, creating an evolving sensory experience as you dig deeper into the cup.

The topping on Starbucks drinks has always been important to the overall experience, but the Opera Frappuccino takes that to new levels. A crowning layer of smooth cream serves as a base for the showcase chocolate glacage sauce and a dusting of glittering powdered gold dust. Entabe describes the drink as "three-dimensional deliciousness," similar to the construction of a French opera cake. For those who prefer a hot drink to warm their hearts, the Fondant drink comes in an incarnation called the Fondant Chocolat Almond Milk Mocha. For non-edible Valentine's gifting, Starbucks Japan offers love-themed gift cards and heart-clad or pink mugs, coffee cups, tumblers, and thermos bottles.