Light and airy sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries, Japanese strawberry shortcake is the most popular cake in Japan!
This is the cake I grew up eating. I used to think that this was the cake everyone grew up eating, because, kids. That’s how they think. Turns out, most people haven’t actually had a good Japanese-style strawberry shortcake. Imagine that!
In Japan, strawberry shortcake is THE cake. Every cake shop sells it, and I’m guessing that at most of them, it’s their best seller. It’s just a classic. The flavors are SO simple, but soooooo good. It’s just sponge cake, strawberries, and whipped cream (with some simple syrup brushed on the layers if you’re wanting to take it up just a tiny notch).
When I learned how to cook (shortly after graduating from college), this was one of the first things my mom taught me how to make. Sponge cake. It can seem a little intimidating, because you whip the egg whites and fold it together with the yolks. And, well, yes. The first couple times I tried to make it, I don’t think it turned out as well. Still edible, mind you. Just maybe a little more… flat. Dense.
The key is to whip the egg whites nice and fluffy, and then be quick and gentle with your folding, so you don’t deflate them back down. When I’m folding mine together, I can never get all of the egg whites to completely combine with the yolks, meaning I have a few little pockets of it in the cake. But, the cake is light yellow, so you can barely tell. And taste/texture wise? No one will know, so don’t stress it too much!
Once you try this Japanese strawberry shortcake, you will never be able to go back to regular strawberry shortcake. It’s so light, fluffy, airy, yet moist… I think my favorite thing is that it’s not cloyingly sweet. Actually, if you like cloyingly sweet, you may not like this cake. Its sweetness is “Japanese” aka, less sweet than your average Western dessert. But the light sweetness with the slight tang from the strawberries, combined with the cool creaminess of the cream. YES. It’s good.
Oh and another note. Traditional Japanese strawberry shortcake usually has a bunch of piped cream on it. Like, fancy old school decorating. I’m really not very good at that style of decorating, so I kept it really simple with a ring of strawberries around the outside. Feel free to decorate yours however you like!
Check out my quick video below, and see how I make this cake, as well as my other recipes using strawberries!