Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Monday, 9 December 2013

Japanese strawberry shortcake is a layered sponge cake filled and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. It is what I call a ménage à trois made in heaven, because each party brings out the best in the other two.

The red and white cake is very popular in Japan, especially for Christmas. I guess having the same colour scheme as Santa Claus wins a lot of votes during the Yuletide season.

There're a few ways to make a sponge cake. Some people make a dry cake, then spray/brush/drizzle it with a syrup. Others try to make a moist cake by using oil or butter, and water or milk.

I find the syrup option a bit tricky because it's a fine line between moist and soggy. Adding a non-fat liquid isn't ideal either because water, and milk, dilutes the fragrance of the eggs and oil/butter. It also makes the cake shrink more after cooling down.

My sponge cake has lots of oil, more than most other recipes. And there's liquid glucose, my "secret ingredient", to make it really fluffy, moist and fragrant.

Liquid glucose helps make sponge cake moist because it's hygroscopic, i.e. it absorbs and holds water. How does it make the cake soft and fluffy? By helping the cake rise. The higher the cake rises, the softer and fluffier it is. How does glucose help make the cake fragrant? By doing away with the need for any water or milk. Glucose itself is quite tasteless.

If I had a recipe for boiling water, some readers would say, "I don't have water. Can I use something else?" So someone is bound to ask if glucose may be replaced with sugar, or golden syrup, or something, or other. Here's the answer:



If you want to try my sponge cake recipe, be warned that it's quite princessy. This is a recipe you'd want to follow to a T. If you don't – or think you have but actually haven't – you may have a few problems, such as (but definitely not restricted to):

If the batter is very bubbly after oil is added, that's a very, very bad sign. Something is measured wrongly, or the eggs are underwhisked, or the flour isn't thoroughly mixed, or all of the above. The cake likely will not rise well.

If the batter is lumpy, you'll find lumps of flour sitting in the bottom of the cake. (These lumps are very evil. They group themselves together to make sure you see them and taste them.)

If there's too much egg white, the cake will look like an award-winning Shar-Pei (although this is a good thing if you're making a cake that looks like a Shar-Pei, award-winning or otherwise).

If the oven is too hot, the cake won't rise well. If the oven isn't hot enough, the cake won't rise well either. Yup, this cake is as fussy as Goldilocks.

Of course, don't let my warning scare you. At the end of the day, how difficult can baking a cake be, right?

Once you've got the sponge cake nailed, the rest is easy. If, like me, you don't know how to ice the sides of the cake nicely, then don't. The cake looks prettier anyway with the sides cut off. Icing the top is like spreading butter on toast, so that shouldn't be a problem.



My sponge cake is delicious plain but it's at its best embellished with whipped cream and strawberries. 1 + 1 + 1 = >3 and all that jazz, you know? Japanese strawberry shortcake isn't only good for Christmas. I reckon the classic is good whenever strawberries are in season. And since strawberries are never out of season nowadays, the red and white cake is good all year round.

JAPANESE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE)
(Makes one 20 x 12 cm cake)

10 g glucose
150 g eggs
60 g castor sugar
60 g cake flour
1/16 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
45 g corn oil

200 g fresh dairy cream, ≈35% fat, cold
1 tbsp castor sugar
1/3 tsp vanilla extract

100 g large strawberries
hull, rinse and dry with paper towels; slice 3 mm thick
4 small strawberries with green leaves
rinse and dry with paper towels; cut into 2 halves

Place bowl for whipping cream in fridge. Preheat oven to 185°C. Line bottom of 20 x 12 x 5 cm cake pan with parchment paper.

To make sponge cake, beat glucose, eggs and sugar till ribbon stage. Sift flour into mixture in 3-4 batches, adding salt along with the last batch. Mix gently with whisk after each addition, stirring just top half of batter, till there're no lumps at all. Drizzle with vanilla extract and oil. Mix with whisk, again stirring just top half of batter, till you don't see streaks of vanilla extract or oil. Fold with spatula till just evenly mixed, banging mixing bowl against worktop a few times.

Pour batter into cake pan, slowly and from about 30 cm high. Tap pan against worktop a few times. Place pan in bottom of oven. Place baking tray in top of oven. Bake till batter doesn't move when gently jiggled, 15-20 minutes. Remove baking tray. Continue baking till cake is nicely browned and springs back slightly when pressed gently, another 10-15 minutes.

Remove cake to wire rack. Leave till pan is just cool enough to handle, 10 minutes or so. Run knife along sides of cake. Flip cake onto wood surface. Remove pan. Place cake on wire rack, right way up. Leave till completely cool.

To make whipped cream, place cold cream in thoroughly chilled bowl along with sugar. Whisk till cream is stiff. Add vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

To assemble, remove parchment paper from cake. Slice cake horizontally with serrated knife or cake slicer into 2 equal halves. Spread 1/3 of cream on bottom half, evenly. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of cream. Spread with more cream. Place remaining cake on cream, cut side up. Spread with last 1/3 of cream. Place cake in freezer till cream is very firm, 10-15 minutes. Level and smooth top cream layer. Trim edges with serrated knife, wiping knife after each cut. Arrange strawberry halves on cake. Chill till ready to serve, covered if keeping overnight or longer. Meanwhile, tuck into bits trimmed off.

Image The amount of cream and strawberries in the recipe is just enough for the decoration shown. I suggest you have more served on the side. Why not just heap it all on the cake? Because the additional weight would flatten the bottom sponge layer. (If it doesn't, then the sponge cake has failed.)

100 comments:

Victoria Bakes said...

what a beautifully decorated cake

Tori said...

Where do you buy your baking pans?

Janine @ Un Pastiche said...

your cake is so neat and beautiful!

Huyen said...

Thank you for the instruction.

Millie said...

Wow, the crumb looks perfect. I can't wait to try this. Thanks, KT!

Abid Nor Eepain said...

Wow.. it look so yummy. . May I ask why do u put the pan at the bottom of the oven n not the middle? N do u on both top n bottom grill or just the bottom? Thank you in advance. ♥

kt said...

Gim Hin Lee.

kt said...

To help the cake rise. Both.

Min Min said...

Are the eggshell counted in the weight ?

rubyruby said...

hi, wanted to ask what brand & model of hand mixer r u using?

Joyce said...

Hi..that's a very neat cake and it looks delicious. I made my Japanese strawberry shortcake from littleteochew blog which is very similar to your recipe.

MijaresProPhoto said...

tell me what music is this?

KT said...

Instead of asking for a fish, why not learn how to fish? Here's how:

1. Calculate volume of pan used in the recipe:
pi x r x r x h (all measurements in cm) = 1,527 cubic cm = 1,527 ml.

2. Since you want to double the recipe, you need the pan size doubled:
1,527 x 2 = 3,054 ml.



3. Calculate volume of pan you want to use with the formula in point 1. If your pan is square or rectangular, the formula is l x b x h. If you get an answer around 3,000, the pan is good.



It's primary school arithmetic, not rocket science.

Anibal Hernandez said...

By Liquid glucose you mean corn syrup? please let me know.

Eyeore said...

Tried the recipe today. Cake taste great, although looks-wise can be improved. Guess i over-stirred the meringue when mixed into the batter, and the cake tin that i used was too small! Cake raise while baking, resembling "huat kuey" :-)Thanks goodness it shrank while cooling down, making the cake look decent.

onncheng said...

Hi KT,

I have tried your recipe and the cake really fluffy!!! Thanks!

May I know if the glucose can apply to all kind of cakes?

Mohaiyedin Idris said...

Great cake thank the perfect recipies...

Mohaiyedin Idris said...

May i know the mixer machine you use...it attract me..

Fion See said...

Hi KT, is me, Fion again. Please take a look of my cake, from taste to texture are all perfect but the top always crack. Already adjusted the temperature to 160C, further reduce to 130C after 25-30. Cover top with aluminum foil, bake at lower rack, only operate the lower heat mode… I really don't know what's the problem. Only if I can improve the look, it will perfect to give to friends. Hope to get your opinion. Thanks

Ipin said...

Could you make Karukan cake? and share it with us :)

KimGiang said...

Why I ct see how much milk?

A said...

Hi KT,
Thank you for sharing this recipe, I've just made this cake and it's amazing!
Do you have Instagram where your blog followers can share pictures of what they've baked with you?

- A

giulia said...

The cake turned out delicious. However, it is much more satisfying to read your responses to these wonderful queries.

fan said...

Look Yummi...:))) will give it a try and let you know Tigress :))) Thank you

Michelle Luo said...

Can a 9inch round springform cake tin be used to bake the cake?

Shirley said...

wow! You are a baking master. May I ask where to get glucose?

Shirley said...

Thanks KT!

Yun said...

Hi KT, if i want to use round pan what size should i use?

Elaine C said...

Tried your recipe today and it's wonderful! Just wondering if I can substitute the corn oil with melted butter? Thought it might taste good but worried it will affect the texture of the cake.

Angela said...

Hi KT, where do i buy glucose? And the brand of the glucose to be exact? Many thanks in advance! Cheers.

Lala said...

Hi all, her glucose are from redman bought from phoon huat. Just saw her video. Cheers.

Eleen said...

The weight stated is for eggs without shells.

Jasmine Riccardi said...

Hello KT, one week ago i tried your recipe, and to be honest, it didn't come out really good. I didn't throw it away just because i think it's a sin to waste food, and i saved it for the following day. Well, don't ask me why, the next day was better, not great, but good enough. I decided i had to try one more time your recipe, because i was sure i had made some mistakes. I watched your video plus the instructions one more time, and i realized i had messed up with the whisking i didn't whisk the eggs enough, they didn't thickened, plus, i kept whisking when i added the chocolate and the flour. So i tried it again and….. yes, it came out pretty good, maybe too good, i'm afraid i could become addicted. I just wanted to share with you my experience and give you a little suggestion: please specify in the video that it's going to take 10 or 15 minutes for the eggs to thicken. Anyway, thank you for your recipe and keep up the great work. ;-)

KT said...

Hi Jasmine, the eggs take 10-15 minutes at how many revolutions per minute? If I double or triple the recipe, is it still 10-15 minutes?

Jasmine Riccardi said...

Hello KT, first of all i am no expert, plus i haven't been cooking cakes for…. maybe 30 or 35 years, so please be patient. I don't know the revolutions per minute, but maybe the problem is that i started to low, at 2, and after 5 minutes i realized i had to increase, and so i slowly did, up to 5. Anyway it turned out really good, at least for me, maybe it wouldn't stand up to your standards, but for me it's really good. Have a nice day.

Siew Tin said...

OMG So easy to slice cake in 2 equal halves. Thanks for showing us :0))) Love your sense of humour! The shar pei and freezer bit... so funny :D Will try this recipe soon, I finally found liquid glucose in my local cake supplies shop.
For those of you who can't find it in stores, try the internet. eBay UK has some listed in 140g tubes.

enrique said...

Sincerely, your recipe instructions are difficult to follow. Spanish: Imposible de seguir

chloe said...

Quick (?) question: would a mixture of black cocoa (which is ultra dutched) + normal dutched process be better? Or should I just stick with the original recipe? I understand that black cocoa would give the cake a richer, darker color but am not sure about the 'science' part of it, since black cocoa is "ultra-dutched" as opposed to the regular dutch-processed cocoa.

Helena said...

Hi KT, I just tried this recipe and the cake turned out nice, not bad for a first attempt. The sponge cake had a lovely flavour. The only thing is my cake was much smaller 'cos I used a 20cm x 20cm square tin since I did not have a rectangular one. I had to cut it into half vertically instead of horizontally (too shallow to do that) but it still worked. Since I don't fancy fresh cream that much, can i make buttercream icing instead?

KT said...

Dear Helena


I'm afraid I can't take on the big responsibility of telling you what to put on your cake. I suggest you consult your parents/legal guardian instead.


Thank you for trying my recipe.

Lisda said...

hi KT, i want to ask you, if im not add the glucose what better ingredients to replace it?

Fardiana Walta said...

Hi KT, I've just made this cake, following every step of your recipe. And am I glad to do it, because the cake turns out great! Thanks so much also for the video.

Viv said...

Because you grease and line the aluminium cake pan, can a non-stick cake pan be used instead without the cake sinking unduly?

KT said...

Hi Fion, your baking method is completely different from mine. You were using someone else's recipe. Why do you ask me what went wrong with your cake?

KT said...

Yes.



But you may have other problems. Or maybe not.

Nomura Ricardo said...

First of all, a big T H A N K Y O U KT for sharing your art with us, I develop my own recipes and I know how hard it is to get this far and also know that many, MANY times you don't get the recognition you deserve for your hard work. Thank you!!!

I'm studding bakery, I've saw your recipe and I was dreaming to eat this delicate cake one more time, last time I've enjoyed a cake like this was back in 1995 in Japan.

I've followed the recipe step-by-step but it didn't rise right as it should have, you can see it here, sorry the lack of style, I'm not good at photography:
http://i.imgur.com/ERD3b0j.jpg

The main issue is related with the atmospheric pressure, as you know water boil at different temperatures in relation with sea level, for example 100ºC at sea level (14.7psi or 1 bar), 95ºC at 1,524m (12.3 psi or 0.8 bar) above see level and so on. This means the higher you go the quicker the water boils, in other words, the water evaporates faster, that's why the atmospheric pressure has to be taken in to consideration and adapt the original recipe for those that are having problems.

In my case I live above sea level 1,524m (5,000 feet), as you can see on the picture, the outer layer cooked too fast and too soon at 170ºC, when the inner side started to develop and to rise the outer side was already baked and prevented the cake to set (grow in size), if you look more closely the bubbles are irregular also caused by the lower atmospheric pressure and the cake structure.

To fix it I need to re-balance the cake structure like the tenderizers (oil, milk, sugar, etc), strengtheners (flour, egg, etc), leavening agents (baking soda) and to increase moisture loss (to add more liquid). The easy way to do this is to convert the original recipe in to percentage, now you calculate the difference between where you live with atmospheric pressure at sea level to get how much percent you might need to increase or decrease an ingredient. You have to test, like to increase liquid, reduce baking soda, sugar or flour, etc.

I hope this information help people that are having issues with this type of cake, for more information please read the links bellow.

Thank you.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/p41.html
http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/icooks/article-3-03.html
http://pt.slideshare.net/vanillagrrl/baking-at-high-altitude-its-all-about-atmospheric-pressure

Viv said...

Thanks KT. For anyone who's interested, there were no problems with the cake. The only difference is that I had to leave it in the oven slightly longer than recommended.

shann said...

hi, how do you measure 1/16 salt?

Serena said...

Hello KT!

Thank you very much for this recipe! Tried an adapted version a few days ago. Since I made a few substitutions (10g flour with wheat starch and oil with butter), it's most likely a fail compared to yours, but it still resulted in a super soft and light cake with very fine crumb. We all loved it with orange mousse.
Since it's the first cake of this sort (whisked whole eggs and fold-in liquid fat) that I succeeded with, I think it's your ratios that I have to credit (or the glucose/corn syrup, or both).

Thank you, too, for the detailed instructions and very helpful video. I've also never folded in flour with a whisk before, but it worked like a charm.
I'll definitely try more of your cake recipes, they're all a very intriguing read already.

Greetings from Europe,
Serena

tara said...

Hello. Im new to the baking world and I have seen some of your yummy videos. It may sound dumb but when you say 180g of anything, what is it in cups? Where can I learn these measurements so that I may too make wonderful yummy cake?

KT said...

Where? That depends on what planet you're from. What planet are you from?

karen yeo said...

I made the japanese strawberry shortcake for my daughter's playdate. Best sponge cake ive ever made. Ive been looking for a gd sponge cake revipe and I think this is tops! Ive been alsotrying to figure out Lana's choc sponge. I love your humour and straightforward style in your blog. Would like you to try out the mee siam from irene's peranakan recipes - have you heard of that book?

KT said...

I've not heard of Irene's Peranakan Recipes before but will check it out. Just read online what the author's daughters said about her mee siam, supposedly the signature dish of their late mum. I'm curious how Irene's recipe stacks up against Mrs Wee Kim Wee's.

Michelle said...

I made this cake after watching your video SO MANY TIMES! Followed it to a T. However I didn't have a neat cut like yours and towards the end the half cut was a little slanted.

Got to work on that!

Plus I left the cake in the freezer for 10 mins and spread the cream for an even texture bit it wasn't as even as yours! (I might be too fussy)

I'll definitely do this cake Again and monitor the situation! Nevertheless I think I don't have to fork out 450 yen for a decadent slice of strawberry shortcake anymore!

KT said...

Did you use fresh or UHT cream? Fresh has a smoother texture. Your palette knife should be longer than the cake. Hold it with your forefinger resting on the blade. Sweep the knife from one end of the cake to the other, without the tip of the blade touching the cream.

To cut the cake neatly, put it on something that has good grip, such as a plastic chopping board or pastry mat. Your serrated knife should be longer than the cake. Position it on the cake, making sure it's absolutely horizontal/vertical. With your eyes on the blade (not the cake), cut the cake with the knife remaining absolutely horizontal/vertical.

Danny said...

Hello, Can I use other oil instead of corn oil because I cant find corn oil in the supermarket?

DuBois Evans said...

I just have a general question well 1st off all thank you for the tutorial and for sharing you were very exact in your demonstration I loved it and I will be trying this out soon. My question is say you have a recipe for your basic yellow/butter cake and you want to add the liquid glucose how much of that would you generally add to your recipe when it would require lets say 2 CUPS of white sugar do you cut the sugar down or just use the amount and add your liquid glucose? Thank You in advance.

rhy said...

I was wondering if you have this in cups measurement? Im not familiar with grams, unless I have to buy a weighing scale to measure each one?

SC said...

Lana's is a chocolate chiffon.

karen yeo said...

Hmm ok thank you. Ill search on choc chiffon. Not the chiffon chiffon cake type tho I dont think. Thanks!

karen yeo said...

I tried your choc sponge the other day too. Turnef out gd. You've gd recipes!

KT said...

Have you tried Mrs Ng's butter cake?
http://kitchentigress.blogspot.sg/2012/11/fluffy-butter-cake-video-recipe.html

Vivianne said...

I think that you should find a sponsor. I also think you should show yourself while cooking.It is more personnal. I like the music that you select, but you could try something else,,,,like "le petit pain au chocolat" Joe Dassin.

leslie said...

can i use this recipe for cupcakes?

KT said...

I will try to vary the music but can't just use anything I like because of copyrights.

Marina said...

Dear KT, I like the way you present the videos, I can clearly see what you are doiing, since I am living in Holland like the grams, no misunderstanding about anything since it is written while watching the video, no distractions because of loud music. Nice!! However I think the cakes are rather small eg for the chocolateckae (they loved it), I didn't even have pan that size. This weekend I will bake 2, make a filling so one can go on top. Great keep up the good work. PS not seeiing you makes you mysterious, probably chinese because of the chopsticks you use.

Sara said...

I totally agree i discovered the vlog 2 weeks ago and i love the recipes the way everything is presented it's so clear

jane said...

do you have recipe measurement in cups? not in grams? thank you!

Joanne Chua said...

KT, seriously, how did you managed to trim the cake so beautifully. I used a serrated knife but the strawberries didn't follow through. Argh...

KT said...

You want to measure strawberries with a cup? WHY?

KT said...

The cream must be whipped till stiff and it must be cold when you cut the cake. When it's firm, it "grips" the strawberries and stops them from moving around. The broader the strawberry slices are, the better the grip. You must dry the strawberries thoroughly or water would soften the cream.

If you use cream thickened with gelatine (Dairy Farmers or Bulla brand), let it rest overnight. This helps make the cream stiffer. The overnight rest may be before or after the cake is assembled. If the former, the cream must be placed in a porcelain bowl, not metal or melamine.

Joanne Chua said...

You are impressive, thank you!

Kate said...

Hi KT, would like to try baking this cake. I only have 8'' and 10'' round tin, may I know how to adjust accordingly?
Thanks

jane said...

i wanted to know how many cups in 60g? sorry im from states. can youmake a recipe for a round pan? thank you

KT said...

So do you want to measure strawberries with a cup?

KT said...

I will tell you how to "adjust accordingly" if you pay SGD10, or USD8 to my PayPal account. Alternatively, you could do the calculation yourself. Or learn how to do so from my post "Cake FAQ".

DuBois Evans said...

I just have a general question well 1st off all thank you for the tutorial and for sharing you were very exact in your demonstration I loved it and I will be trying this out soon. My question is say you have a recipe for your basic yellow/butter cake and you want to add the liquid glucose how much of that would you generally add to your recipe when it would require lets say 2 CUPS of white sugar do you cut the sugar down or just use the amount and add your liquid glucose? Thank You in advance.

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KT said...

"People who generalize are mentally ill.”
Milton Rokeach

DuBois Evans said...

What was the point in replying with such a foolish response? How rude of you. My question was respectful and mature and this what I get back from you! Karma shall visit you in return, good day sir.

KT said...

Since you ask, I'll tell you.

Point 1: To let you know you are mentally ill. If you were mentally sound, you wouldn't have asked your monumentally stupid question. How the hell would I know how much glucose to put in your cake when I have no idea what the ingredients are (other than two cups of sugar), what the mixing method is, and how your cake is baked? I don't even know why the hell you want to put glucose in your cake.

Point 2: To let you know I have seen your dumbass question, so you won't cut and paste and post it again, for the third time.

Wang Gawain said...

Hi there, i am new to baking i have some questions, i followed closely to the steps of your recipe however the outcome of the cake is that the sides and the btm seems to have a crust. but the sponginess is there! may i ask what is the cause of the browning? is it because i baked to long or? i only baked 185degress for 35mins

Leonardo said...

Oh my god! You are freaking rude! He asked politely and you as the admin of this blog should answered him! What the hell was the reason you to reply him this way?? If he had asked or said something bad you could just ignore, but for no freaking reason you were disrespectful and very unpleasant. I don't know what you had in mind, but read his question again and notice how rude you were.. And he said one thing right: "karma will come back to you."

barcode said...

...google it or use a calculator

Kari Ho said...

Anyone know where can i buy that glucose in canada, ontario near markham area?~ thanksssssssss

Lola said...

For anyone wondering about the pan size - a 9X5X3 inch load pan works as well. Her 20x12x7.5 cm cake pan was difficult for me to find even online but if you try a normal 9 by 5 inch loaf pan the measurments are almost similar. The loaf pan yields in cm (23 x 13 x 7) slightly larger than her 20 x 12 x 7.5 but it's probably a pan size you either already have or one that's easily accessible and purchasable for most people (especially in north America!). And for those you can't find liquid glucose you can substitute light corn syrup. It isn't exactly the same but it'll act the same chemically in the recipe.

KT said...

http://www.amazon.ca/Liquid-Glucose/dp/B007L5DEKA/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1403136543&sr=1-2&keywords=liquid+glucose

A Big Fan said...

Hi KT,


I followed your recipe exactly (same traditional uncoated aluminum cake pan, exact measurements....), but somehow the cake sinks in the middle when I take it out of the oven. Is it because I over whipped the eggs?


Thank you,
A big fan.

Addicted to Baking said...

That's hard to find. You could use light corn syrup as substitute.

Nomi said...

Just wanted to ask, why did you not use Baking power or other raising agent in your cake ?

snow said...

Hello, is the oven heat bottom only, upper only or both?

Siew said...

Thank you sooo much for this recipe! I have been testing many sponge cake recipes for quite awhile to find one that is fluffy and spongy like the ones at asian stores with no success. Just got this out of the oven and it is definitely a keeper!

Texaswomyn said...

Wilton, an American manufacturer of baking pans and related products, sells a tub of glucose on their website. Amazon.com also has suppliers.

Dan said...

I love your videos. Thanks for sharing all your tips.

Lutzy said...

I LOVE IT !
but, how many eggs have?!
just 3?!
and, if i want to make it for chocolate, can i just replease the bread?!

Nicole said...

Hi Kt. May I know where do you get your glucose water from? I tried looking for it in NTUC Parkway but they don't carry it. Thanks

Fatima said...

Hello!
I made it today it tastes so good and its so easy!!! Thank you so much

jan said...

You can buy it Phoon Huat.

jan said...

*at Phoon Huat

Nicole said...

Thank you Jan.

Irma Martinez said...

Wish they have the measurements and cups and teaspoons:(

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