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Light and fluffy Japanese strawberry shortcake, made with layers of fluffy genoise sponge cake and filled with light whipped cream. This simple yet elegant cake would be so perfect for celebrations as well as on festive season!
Why would this cake be called Japanese Strawberry Shortcake?
Strawberry shortcake is actually a very popular cake in Japan. Just like what we’d see in most Japanese bakeries, there will always be the Japanese strawberry shortcake in their display case.
This cake is one of the classic cake choice for birthday and Christmas celebrations in Japan!
How Does The Japanese Strawberry Shortcake Taste Like?
The classic Japanese strawberry shortcake features 2 to 3 layers of soft genoise sponge cake, brushed generously with syrup, and filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The cake is then frosted with more whipped cream and usually decorated with more strawberries on top of the cake.
The texture of this cake is light and not too sweet. You can easily enjoy 1 – 2 slices of this cake in one sitting!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Japanese Strawberry Shortcake?
- Eggs: We will be using egg yolks and egg whites separately. Use medium or large sized eggs.
- Caster Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Top Flour / Cake Flour: I usually use Prima’s top flour as most cake flour is bleached, and I prefer to use unbleached flour. However, you can use any type of low protein flour you prefer.
- Oil: You can use any type of neutral tasting cooking oil, such as rice bran oil, sunflower oil etc.
- Whole Milk: Use full cream milk, or milk that is not labelled as “skimmed” or “low fat”. You can use either fresh milk or UHT milk.
- Whipping Cream: I like to use Elle & Vire whipping cream because it whips up really well in our hot weather. If you are new to whipping cream, you may want to start with non-dairy whipping cream first.
- Fresh Strawberries: For a cuter look, I like to use Korean strawberries that are smaller in size. Korean strawberries are usually in season in Dec – Jan period.
- Sliced Almonds: I have also used toasted sliced almonds as part of the decorating, which is optional. You can omit this if preferred.
Is It Easy To Make This Cake?
Genoise Sponge Cake
Genoise sponge cake can be tricky to make, as it requires you to whip whole eggs to ribbon stage before folding in flour and melted butter. With this method, you can over-mix the batter easily, especially if you are not too experienced with genoise. Over-mixing can deflate the batter, resulting in a dense and flat cake.
So, for this recipe, I am using a simpler method: the separated egg method. We will beat the egg whites with sugar to soft peaks, before combining the egg yolks. Then, we will fold in sifted flour gently till no trace of flour is left.
The folding part is important because we have to avoid over-mixing the batter. While folding, just keep a close look on the batter. We will need to mix just until there is no trace of white flour left. You may see some “lumps” in the batter and that is okay – as long as it is not flour “floating” on the batter.
Once the flour is folded in well, we will take a portion of this batter to mix into the oil/milk mixture. Then, pour this back into the remaining portion of batter, and fold again.
The sponge cake will bake at 170C for about 30 mins. When the cake is done, bring it out from the oven and drop the cake pan against the counter top (1 – 2 times). Lift cake from the cake pan and cool completely on rack.
Whipped Cream Frosting
I am using dairy whipping cream for frosting. Dairy whipping cream can be slightly more difficult to whip up compared to non-dairy whipping cream.
If you are new to using whipped cream, then I would suggest for you to try non-dairy cream first, as the success rate is higher. Once you gain the confidence, you can move on to try using dairy whipping cream.
For frosting, we will whip the cream to soft or firm peaks before spreading on the cake layers. You will just need to whip the cream till it thickens, and as you lift the whisk, you will see the cream holding soft peaks before falling back into the cream again. If you whip the cream to stiff peaks, it can be difficult to spread smoothly on the cake.
Do not reduce the sugar for the cream as it is just mildly sweetened with icing sugar. I prefer to use icing sugar for whipped cream as I find that it helps stabilise the whipped cream better in our hot weather.
Assemble The Cake
Once the genoise sponge cake has cooled completely (you may also want to bake the cake 1 day in advance), prepare the whipped cream, syrup and sliced strawberries.
- Slice the sponge cake into 3 layers.
- For the bottom layer: Brush the cake generously with syrup. You can use a pastry brush or silicon brush to do that. Spread whipped cream on the cake and place the strawberries on it. Top the strawberries with a little more whipped cream and smooth with offset spatula.
- For the middle layer: Repeat the same as the bottom layer.
- For the top layer: Place the last cake layer on top. Make sure the sides of the cake align as neatly as possible. Brush the cake with syrup.
- Crumb coat the cake: Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on the top and side of cake.
Once the cake is crumb coated, let it set in the fridge for about 15 mins. This step is optional, but it helps to stabilise the cake so it will be easier to frost and decorate later.
Once 15 mins is up, cover the top and side of cake with whipped cream. Smooth with bench scraper or offset spatula. Place the cake into the fridge to chill briefly.
Now, we will whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks with handheld mixer or whisk. Fill the whipped cream into piping bag fitted with piping tip. You can use either closed / open star tip. I am using Wilton 1M. Decorate the cake with the whipped cream as you prefer.
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake Making Tips
- Genoise Sponge Cake: Bake the sponge cake 1 day in advance. Cling wrap the cake and chill in the fridge till ready to be frosted.
- Whipping Cream: If you are new to using whipping cream, you might want to use non-dairy whipping cream to try out first. While frosting the cake, place a few ice packs at the bottom of the bowl of whipping cream, so that it doesn’t melt too quickly.
- Chill the Cake: Always chill the cake for at least 2 – 3 hours before cutting and serving. I cut the cake 1 hour after chilling it because my kids couldn’t wait, and you can see that it wasn’t a nice cut, as the cream is still soft. For best taste, I would recommend chilling and setting the cake overnight.