Japanese Food

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

A light and fluffy Japanese strawberry cake recipe for any occasion, made with lightly sweetened whipped cream, sponge cake and fresh strawberries in each layer.

Christmas is just around the corner! !! After all, the year 2020 ends in less than a month. I think it’s fair to say it’s been a tough year for most of us. It’s just a year of environmental anxiety with some changes to the routine we’ve built for ourselves because of the pandemic. But let’s end the year with some sweetness.

For me, Japanese strawberry cake is the perfect choice to celebrate. It’s nice to have a light dessert after Christmas dinner. The cake looks simple, but the combination of flavors is divine. The sponge cake layers are very light and fluffy, the cream is not that sweet, and the strawberry shortcake goes well with the rest of the cake.

What is Japanese strawberry pie?

Strawberry pie is probably one of the most popular pies in Japan. Apparently, it is also often sold as a Christmas cake and is often the cake of choice for birthdays and Christmas parties. In Japan, strawberry cake refers to a flaky sponge cake filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, as opposed to Western strawberry cake, which is usually made with a sweet sponge cake. As a result, the texture of Japanese strawberry cake is much softer and fluffier than the Western version.

History of the Japanese Christmas cake

When we talk about Christmas cake in Japan, we usually think of a sponge cake with whipped cream and decorated with strawberries. The history of Christmas cake in Japan began in the last days of the Meiji era. Founder Fuji began by making the very first Japanese Christmas cake, very similar to the one we have today. The base of the cake was a rich European-style fruitcake dipped in liqueur. Biscuits used to be used with buttercream because it didn’t need to be refrigerated. This cake spread among the posh Japanese citizens who could afford it.

After World War II, economic growth went hand in hand with western influence due to American occupation. The idea of celebrating Christmas originated in Japan in the 1950s, during a period of renewal and reconstruction. Christmas was stripped of its religious meaning, the cake was considered a festive moment, a food to be shared with the family in a festive and joyful moment.

Expensive sugar was readily available in Japan thanks to the world market, and Western sweets became accessible to all. In addition, most households began to own personal refrigerators. The cake started with fresh cream as a frosting. Strawberries were a rare and expensive product until after the war, when greenhouses and new farming techniques made them available even during the coldest winter months. Like cream and sugar, the strawberry symbolized economic progress.

The Christmas cake is part of this story. At the same time, some elements of the traditional Japanese dessert have been introduced, which people will get used to. The round shape and white color are reminiscent of mochi rice cakes, while the red color of strawberries is often used in ceremonial and festive dishes to ward off evil spirits.

But although the cake is firmly rooted in Japanese culture, Christmas itself is not a national holiday in Japan. In fact, this day is very similar to Valentine’s Day in America. On Christmas Eve, couples give each other gifts, go out to eat at nice restaurants and take a walk to admire the winter lights. According to several surveys, many Japanese are likely to consume special Christmas cakes and fried chicken, as well as champagne and sparkling wine.

Constituents of Japanese Shortcake

These are the four ingredients you need for the cake: Sponge cake, simple syrup, whipped cream and strawberries.

  • Sponge cake. Japanese biscuits are very moist, airy, light and not too sweet. For this recipe, I use a simple sponge cake. Beat all the eggs with the sugar until the sugar is no longer grainy and the mixture is light in color. Then add the melted butter for a softer, tastier crumb. It also makes the cake firmer and spicier, which is perfect for making layer cakes because it preserves the texture.
  • Simple syrup. It’s just a solution of sugar in water. Add it to the sponge cake to make the cake moist. You can also add a little liqueur, such as rum or brandy, for extra flavor.
  • Whipped cream. You can easily make whipped cream froth by whisking cold whipped cream with sugar until a stiff top forms. But living in a tropical country, I literally need something icy to survive the heat and humidity. So I add gelatin to the cream to make stabilized whipped cream.
  • Fresh strawberries. Of course, the cake needs fresh strawberries to live up to its name.

Okay, now we’re ready to assemble the cake. Remember to let the sponge cool completely after cooking. I also like to put the cake in the fridge for at least an hour to speed up the process. It is important to let the cake cool completely before starting the frosting, as the residual heat will melt the frosting.

More cake recipes

In case you didn’t already know, I have tons of pie recipes on my blog. Check them now!

Yield: 1 – 6 inch cake

Japanese Strawberry Pie

A light and fluffy Japanese strawberry cake recipe for any occasion, made with lightly sweetened whipped cream, sponge cake and fresh strawberries in each layer.

Cooking time
35 minutes

Total time
35 minutes


Simple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon liqueur (optional)

Stabilised cream

  • 2 1/2 cups cold cream (500 ml)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (30 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons water


Simple syrup

  1. In a small bowl, mix the hot water, sugar and liqueur (optional). Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Stabilised cream

  1. Put water in a heatproof bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin powder. Let me sit for five minutes. Heat in the microwave or on the stove until the gelatin has dissolved. Let it out.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer or mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat until mixture begins to thicken and form soft peaks, then turn mixer to low speed. While still warm, slowly pour in the gelatin mixture until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
  3. Place the cream in the refrigerator before use.


  1. Remove the cover from the spindle for filling the blades. Cut the strawberries in half. Let it out.
  2. Using a knife, cut the Genuacake horizontally into 3 equal layers.
  3. Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand or serving dish. Brush the surface with simple syrup. This will keep the cake moist.
  4. Spread the whipped cream thinly and evenly. Place half of the strawberries on the whipped cream. Pour more whipped cream over the strawberries. Smooth the surface with a spatula to make it uniform.
  5. Put the middle layer of cake on top. Brush it with syrup. Repeat the distribution of the whipped cream and strawberries as in the previous point.
  6. Place the top layer cake. Lightly brush the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of cream.
  7. Decorate the cake with the whipped cream and strawberries on top.
  8. Store the cake in the refrigerator and enjoy for 2 days.


I live in a tropical country where it is constantly hot, so I need stabilized whipped cream to make a cake. Stabilised cream keeps its shape better and more firmly than regular whipped cream. It is made by adding gelatin to the cream mixture while whisking. You can skip the gelatin if you live in a cooler climate.


Did you make this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments and tag section on Instagram. This gives me and other readers useful feedback. Have fun cooking!

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