Moist and luscious Japanese strawberry shortcake
There are two types of strawberry shortcake - the American one which is two shortbread biscuits/scones sandwiched together with lightly whipped cream and fresh strawberries and the Japanese one, which consists of layers of sponge cake with a strawberry and whipped cream filling, and whipped cream frosting. The one which I like better is the Japanese version. Apparently, this is a very popular Christmas treat in Japan.
I used this recipe from La Fuji Mama which also came with helpful step-by-step photo instructions. The resulting cake was delicious, though not quite as light as the ones from Canele and St Leaven Bakery. This strawberry shortcake was presented to my children as an early "shared" birthday cake last year, which they love.
A word of warning... this cake is so good (and very light) that you'll risk going back for seconds and thirds!
Perfect celebration cake
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Recipe adapted from here
Preparation time: 40 - 50 minutes
Cooking time: 25- 30 minutes
Makes one 7 or 8-inch layered cake
For the sponge cake
4 large eggs, separated
120g caster sugar, sifted once
3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120g cake flour, sifted 3 times
22g butter, melted
For the stabilized whipped cream frosting
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 tsp cold water
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the simple syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
250g fresh strawberries, preferably Korean
To make the sponge cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Line a 7 or 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, or grease the cake pan with butter, then lightly coat the pan with flour.
2. Add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.
3. Add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, and gently whisk until the yolks are incorporated.
4. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and flour (in that order) to the batter and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter until it is well combined.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and get rid of any air bubbles in the batter by dropping the pan on a counter once or twice. Bake the cake for 25 - 30 minutes or until it springs back when pressed lightly. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Run a blade around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and remove.
To make the stabilized whipped cream frosting:
1. Put the cold water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes (do not stir). Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat until slightly thickened. Then, while beating slowly, gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture. Then whip the mixture at high speed until stiff.
To make the simple syrup:
1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and water. Bring the water to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To assemble the cake:
1. Reserve 6 to 10 strawberries for decorating the cake. Slice the remaining strawberries into thin slices (about 4 slices per strawberry).
2. Slice the sponge cake horizontally into 2 layers.
3. Place one sponge layer cut-side up on a cake board or serving plate and lightly brush the surface with the simple syrup. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake layer and arrange the strawberry slices over the surface.
4. Spread an additional layer of whipped cream over the strawberries. Brush the cut-side of the second layer with the simple syrup and place it over the first layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired and garnish with the reserved strawberries.