Hello there, fellow non-existent readers! This is my first ever blog post, and trust me, I feel really odd. Also, I am not a professional photographer, but here’s the best photos I could produce.
Today I am going to share this recipe that I recently baked for someone’s birthday: Japanese strawberry shortcake. Japanese strawberry shortcake is essentially a spongecake with strawberries and whipped cream, making it simple, refreshing and most importantly, delicious!
I used vanilla beans in this recipe, because I love to see the little black dots of vanilla-goodness! If you don’t have vanilla beans, you can always substitute 1/2 a vanilla bean with 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Firstly, I like to rub in half of the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar to get a more enhanced vanilla taste (vanilla sugar~). Then, you have to whip the egg whites and vanilla sugar up to stiff and glossy peaks! Add the egg yolks…
Stir in milk, flour and melted butter.
Pour the cake batter into a greased and lined cake pan and bake it!
Now for the strawberries…
My mother tried to make this recipe, and we realized that it does NOT suit her (she likes to be practical with short-cuts, and this cake needs delicate care), as she made an underbaked cake with lumpy whipped cream. However, in my attempts to salvage this cake, I discovered something quite cute and yummy. Some sort of parfait thing! I crumbled up the baked cake parts, and layered the cake, cream and strawberry in a glass.
You can layer it in a jar as well. Makes cute gifts!
Sponge cake ingredients:
- 4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
- 120g granulated sugar
- 3 tbsps milk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
- 22g melted unsalted butter
- 120g cake flour, sifted two times (annoying, but makes the cake fluffier)
Whipped cream frosting ingredients:
- 1 1/2 tsps unflavoured gelatin
- 6 tsps cold water
- 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 6 tbsps icing sugar (also known as confectionery/powdered sugar)
- 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Simple syrup ingredients:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Grease and line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper
- If using vanilla bean, rub seeds into sugar, then beat the egg whites and vanilla sugar until stiff and glossy (if not using vanilla bean, just beat sugar with egg whites)
- Add egg yolks to the egg white mixture, beating slowly until incorporated
- Add and gently fold the milk, then the vanilla extract (if using), then the flour, and lastly the melted butter.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan, and drop the pan onto the table once/twice to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake cake for 25-30 minutes (mine took 28minutes, it really depends on your oven), and test with a toothpick inserted into the center, coming out clean.
- Cool the cake in the oven by leaving the oven door open ajar.
Whipped cream frosting:
- Put the cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle the gelatin onto the surface of the water. Leave it for 5 minutes (no stirring)
- Place the gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- In a mixing bowl, beat whipped cream, vanilla bean/extract and powdered sugar until it is slightly thickened
- Add the gelatin mixture while it’s beating
- Beat at high speed until stiff (desired consistency)
- In a saucepan, boil water with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
Assembling the cake
- Reserve 4 to 10 strawberries for decorating the cake. Glaze the skin of the strawberry with some simple syrup
- Slice the remaining strawberries as shown above
- Slice the sponge cake horizontally. To help, insert toothpicks into the sides of the cake to act as a guideline.
- Place one of the layers onto a serving plate (or cake board) and use a pastry brush to lightly brush the surface with the simple syrup.
- Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake layer.
- Scatter the strawberries onto the whipped cream, and cover it with another layer of whipped cream.
- Brush the cut-side of the other layer before placing it onto the cake
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with the rest of the frosting.
- Decorate the cake with the remaining strawberries