Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Are you a fan of the Great British Bake Off? It is absolutely my favourite show to watch when I want to unwind and relax. One week's theme is ‘Japanese Week’ and I was so excited for it because I am a HUGE fan of Japanese desserts and baking. The showstopper challenge was ‘kawaii’ cakes or cute cakes and all the contestants did very well but some of the cakes are more western style cakes especially those using fondant. Japanese cakes are typically very light and airy, frosted using mainly whipped cream instead of buttercream.
When I think of Japanese cake, the first thing that comes to mind is the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake. I don’t think there is a more iconic cake than this. It features prominently in Japanese TV and Manga and when i first tasted this in Japan, I was blown away, so light and fluffy, lightly sweetened with fresh cream and strawberries. Unlike the western style shortcakes which is basically biscuits with cream and strawberries.
The Japanese version of shortcake was invented by the confectionary and restaurant chain, Fujiya (不二家) in the early 20th century.
Apparently the owner of Fujiya travelled to the US and encountered the US version of strawberry shortcakes. When he returned,, he replaced the biscuit in the US version with sponge cake.
Fujiya then sold it as a Christmas cake and encouraged people to eat it on Christmas day. This tradition continues even to this date. It is a very popular celebration cake.
I have refined the sponge cake recipes many times until I’m completely happy with the texture of the cake. It is actually a great base for you to modify to different flavours. To make it ‘cute’ I decorated it with some bear and bunny shortbread cookies and store bought sugar flowers.
This is still my favourite cake ever, I hope you try it too, please tag me on instagram if you do :)
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Egg yolk mixture:
- 4 large egg yolks at room temp
- 40 grams caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 46 grams milk at room temp
- 40 grams vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 80 grams cake flour (sub 60 self raising flour + 20 g corn flour sifted)
Egg white mixture:
- 4 large egg whites at room temp
- 50 grams caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- Strawberries for filling and decoration
Stabilised Whipped Cream
- 400 ml whipping cream
- 1 tbsp gelatine powder + 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar or to taste
- Preheat oven to 165C or 325F Grease and line two 6 inch cake tins in a bowl and using a hand whisk egg yolks and sugar until lighter in colour.
- Combine in the bowl salt, oil, vanilla and milk. Sift in cake flour and whisk until well incorporated and smooth. Set aside.
- ( I use a separate stand mixer for this step, if you are using the same mixer, wash thoroughly and dry before use. I also wipe my whisk and bowl with some vinegar to make sure there’s no grease ) in a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy, add lemon juice or vinegar, add sugar gradually and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold in the egg whites mixture into the egg yolk mixture. I fold in a little bit of the whites first to lighten the batter then gently fold the rest of the egg white mixture in. Do not over mix.
- Pour into cake tins, tap the tins on the countertop a few times to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake at 165 degrees Celsius for around 30 mins. Do not open the oven door before the 30-minute mark. I also use baking strips to make level tops.
- After taking them out of the oven, tap the tins on the countertop a few more times to prevent sinking.
- After cake is done and cooled, fill and decorate with stabilised whipped cream, strawberries and whatever you feel like. I used cute cookies and sugar flowers.
Stabilised whipped cream
- Combined gelatine powder with water, set aside until it’s fully absorbed.
- Microwave the gelatine/water mixture for about 5 seconds until the gelatine is melted.
- Whip the whipping cream with gelatine and about 2 tbsp (or to taste) of powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks
- Frost cake with whipped cream
- I strongly suggest using a weighing scale and getting the measurements as accurately as possible (using grams will help with this) because the ratio of ingredients is critical in achieving the right texture.