Sweets & Desserts

Strawberry shortcake, Japanese style

When Sam asked me to make a strawberry shortcake, I had a dilemma. Would I make it using a traditional shortcake which is a cross between a biscuit and a scone? Or would I make the strawberry shortcake Japanese style which uses a sponge cake? After a few minutes of mental deliberation, I chose the Japanese strawberry shortcake knowing how my daughters prefer soft and airy cakes to the more dense varieties.

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I made the right choice. My girls — and Speedy — loved the cake.

Japanese style strawberry shortcake is, strictly speaking, not a shortcake. It is an adaptation of the strawberry shortcake and, like the cake from which it was adapted, it has a cream and strawberry filling. From what I’ve read, the Japanese strawberry shortcake is popular for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas.

Makes a two-layer eight-inch round cake.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, separated
    1/8 tsp. of baking soda
    1/8 tsp. of salt
    1/2 c. of white sugar
    1/4 c. (or one-fourth of a 225 g. block) of butter, melted and cooled
    1/2 c. of all-purpose flour
    200 to 250 g. of fresh strawberries
    2 c. of whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

    Sift the flour.

    With an electric mixer, over medium speed, beat the egg whites, baking soda and salt until soft peaks form.

    Lower the speed of the mixer and add the egg yolks and sugar. Continue mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds.

    Add the butter, folding it in (I used a spatula). Then, mix in the flour in three or four batches, mixing by hand (carefully, so as not to break the precious air bubbles that will add volume to the cupcakes) until the mixture is well blended.

    Pour into an eight-inch round pan (I used a silicone pan — if using a regular pan, you may have to grease and line it).

    Bake in a 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer poked at the center of the cake comes out clean.

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    Cool the cake for a couple of minutes in the pan, invert and re-invert onto a rack. Cool completely.

    Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.

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    Hull and slice the strawberries (reserve four to five of the best ones for the topping). Place the sliced strawberries a bowl with about six tablespoonfuls of sugar. Toss. Leave to macerate.

    Whip the cream. I had to use whipped cream from a canister because it turned out that we didn’t have whipping cream in the fridge.

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    Split the cake. I used toothpicks as a guide. I inserted the toothpicks around the cake…

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    Then cut the cake into two layers using a serrated knife.

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    Take the lower layer of the cake and arrange on a pretty plate — the plate you intend to serve the cake on. If I had a cake stand, I’d use it but I don’t have a cake stand so I close the prettiest plate I have.

    Place about three-quarters of the whipped cream on the cake. Spread to make an even layer of cream.

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    Scatter the macerated strawberries over the cream.

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    Carefully cover the strawberries and cream with the top layer of the cake.

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    Pile on the remaining cream at the center of the cake. Decorate with the reserved strawberries. Serve the cake at once or chill until needed.

Cooking time (duration): about 2 hours, including cooling time for the cake

Number of servings (yield): one two-layer cake, 8-1/2 inches

Meal type: dessert

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