Is it just me, or do desserts in Japanese anime/manga always look amazing? Whether it’s cake, pie or ice cream, everything is always so sparkly and elaborate, surprisingly realistic-looking, and just positively oozing with goodness. My stomach pretty much growls constantly when I’m reading food/dessert-themed manga. I’m a nerd, I know.
Anyway. I’d always assumed that the cakes in my mangas were completely made up and too elaborate to replicate in real life. Imagine my excitement when I saw a picture of Japanese-style strawberry shortcake on TasteSpotting last month that looked exactly like one of the cakes that always appears in food-themed mangas. Spoiler alert: I was super excited.
And, since it’s just a shortcake, this cake was actually really easy to make. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between this type of cake and regular American shortcake is that the cake itself is spongier, and the whipped cream is stabilized with gelatin to create a more frosting-like consistency. No real difference in taste — just the same ol’ delicious, berry/cream goodness. Doesn’t it look pretty, though?
Japanese-Style Strawberry Shortcake (Adapted from the Flour on Her Nose recipe)
– 3 large eggs, separate + 1 whole egg
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– Pinch of salt
– 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
– 2-1/2 tsp gelatin (1 packet)
– 1 tbsp cold water
– 1/2 cup sugar
(1) Preheat oven to 300.
(2) In a large bowl, beat egg whites + sugar until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside
(3) In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, whole egg, salt, flour, oil, and vanilla until well-combined. Batter will be very thick and yellow.
(4) Gently fold egg white mixture into the batter until the two are completely combined. The mixture should be smooth and uniform in color.
(5) Pour batter into a greased 8×8 square cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. While cake cools, get to work on the whipped topping.
(6) In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water. When gelatin powder is completely dissolved, microwave the bowl for about 15 seconds, until the mixture is liquid. Set aside to cool.
(7) In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until you see stiff peaks. With the mixer still going, add the liquid gelatin mix and keep whipping until the whipped cream will become noticeably stiffer and more frosting-like. (This happens quickly!)
(8) To assemble, level and split the cake into two equal layers. Spread a thin coat of whipped frosting on top of one of the cake layers.
(9) Make a ring around the edge of the cake with halved strawberries, cut-side out. Fill in the middle with whole strawberries, pointing up.
(10) Cover the strawberries completely with most of the remaining cream, so that there is about a centimeter of cream between the tops of the strawberries and the next layer of cake.
(11) Place the top layer of cake on top of the strawberries/cream. Spread with the remaining whipped cream topping.
(12) Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, then slice into rectangles and serve.
For other great dessert ideas, click here.