Week 44: Japanese strawberry shortcake

My last strawberry shortcake attempt was not very successful, seeing I still have 5 of the 6 slices sitting in my freezer. So, when a friend asked me to help make a strawberry shortcake for his wife’s birthday, I was a little reluctant. But, he seemed quite set on it. So I promised I would do some research and make a good one this time.

I thought my biggest problem with the last cake was that the cake turned out kind of dry. And it was entirely my fault that I forgot the syrup. Which made it worse. But, the saving grace was the whipped cream. That was delicious. So, that stays. Finally, I decided to use the cake recipe from the tiramisu cake I made, omitting the almond extract, as I was not sure how well that would go with the strawberries.

Makes 1 6-inch round cake


For the strawberries

350g strawberries, cut into 1/2 cm slices

2 tbsp sugar

For cake layers

2 eggs, separated

1 tbsp cold water

100g golden granulated sugar

¼ cup boiling water

63g cake flour, sifted

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp vanilla

For the lemon syrup

¼ cup water

50g sugar

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

For the whipped cream

2 tsp gelatine powder

2 tbsp + 2 tsp cold water

2 cups heavy cream

60g powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract


1) Start by macerating the strawberries, as this needs to be left overnight in the refrigerator. Add the sugar to the sliced strawberries and cover with cling wrap.

2) To make the cake layers, preheat oven to 160C.

3) Lightly grease and flour 2 6-inch cake pan (or spray with non-stick cooking spray).  Set aside.

4) In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, on low speed beat egg yolks and cold water until light yellow in color.  Slowly add sugar and continue beating until thick ribbons form.  While the mixer is still running, slowly add boiling water.

5) Sift the flour once again over the egg yolk mixture and gently fold in.  Set aside.

6) In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until firm peaks form.

7) Fold half of the egg white mixture into the flour and egg yolk mixture.  Gently fold in the egg whites with an under and over motion.

8) Fold in remaining egg whites and the vanilla extract.  Once again gently folding in with an under and over motion.  Do not beat or whisk in the egg whites.  You want to keep the batter light and the air bubbles intact.

9) Pour into prepared pans and place in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from oven.  Turn cakes out onto a cooling rack and cook completely.

10) To make the lemon syrup, add sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until it boils and all sugar has dissolved.

11) Add lemon juice to the sugar solution and leave to cool.

12) For the whipped cream, sprinkle the gelatine powder in the cold water and set aside for a few minutes to bloom.

13) Sift powdered sugar into heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until cream begins to thicken.

14) Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in the gelatine. Then switch back to high speed and whisk until firm peaks form.

15) Fold in the vanilla extract and leave to cool in the refrigerator.

16) To assemble, slice each cake into 2. Top each slice with a generous amount of lemon syrup and allow to soak through. Then, with apply a layer of whipped cream before arranging a layer of macerated strawberries. Rinse and repeat. Then, cover the rest of the cake in whipped cream.

I was intending to make a 4 layer cake, but, since the box I have can barely fit 3 layers, I had to leave it at that. And ended up with at least ½ cup of whipped cream left, despite the generous amount of cream I slathered on the cake.

Unfortunately, my whipped cream turned out to be a little lumpy, mostly due to the gelatine powder. Next time, I think I will melt it in a Bain-Marie before adding it to the heavy cream mixture.

Since I had a slice of cake left, I managed to have a taste test, with the lemon syrup and whipped cream. And I am glad to say, this is a nice improvement from my past attempt. That’s another cake I managed to tick off.


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