Japanese Strawberry Shortcake – Tried & Tested Recipe!

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Japanese strawberry shortcake is an ethereally light and creamy dessert made of deliciously moist and fluffy sponge cake layers, filled with sliced strawberries in Chantilly cream. Decorate with luscious whole strawberries and cream – and – for that extra special yummm, sprinkle lavishly with white chocolate curls!

A Japanese strawberry shortcake frosted with Chantilly cream and topped with fresh whole strawberries

Hi you all, I’m really excited to share with you an amazing recipe for this gorgeous Japanese strawberry shortcake. I was in Japan for 15 glorious days for the better part of May, and what an unforgettable trip I had!

I’ve returned feeling invigorated and so tremendously inspired by all the Japanese culinary creations of traditional and Western-inspired sweet treats, cakes and desserts. It was mind-blowing!

What is Japanese strawberry shortcake?

Essentially, Japanese strawberry shortcake is a vanilla sponge cake that’s layered and filled with Chantilly cream and sliced strawberries.

This cake looks so fresh and pretty when frosted and decorated with shiny, glazed whole strawberries. It’s sure to bring pleasure to everyone who sets eyes on it!

A Japanese strawberry shortcake frosted with Chantilly cream and topped with fresh whole strawberries

Japanese strawberry shortcake is ethereally light and creamy, and none too sweet, which makes it perfect for tea, any occasion or no occasion at all.

What makes the Japanese version of strawberry shortcake extraordinarily delicious is the incredibly soft and tender sponge cake, and sweeter-than-sweet Japanese-grown strawberries.

I’m about to show you how Japanese strawberry shortcake is surprisingly simple and quick to make from scratch. Here’s what you need:

  • Vanilla sponge cake – Follow my recipe for a super soft, moist and fluffy sponge cake, or you can use your own go-to sponge cake recipe.
  • Sweet and juicy strawberries – Try to get the sweetest variety you can – it will make all the difference!
  • Chantilly cream – This is basically your standard whipped cream lightly sweetened,  by a fancy name!

How to make Japanese strawberry shortcake

When it comes to Japanese strawberry shortcake, I think the sponge cake can either make or break the cake. Seriously, guys, it’s all about the sponge!

Which is why I’ve tried and tested many recipes to get the sponge cake texture just like the strawberry shortcake slices I tasted in Japan.

Can I just say, this is the best sponge cake I’ve ever made? I’ve now made this many times over, and it’s an absolute winner!

It’s incredibly soft, moist and velvety smooth with just the perfect level of sweetness, in my opinion.

The key to this sponge cake’s super soft and tender texture are these two types of flour used – Optima flour and Hong Kong flour.

If you can’t get these, you can use cake or pastry flour in place of both flours. You’ll still get a tender and moist sponge cake, but the texture won’t be as fine or smooth.

Also, you’ll need to add a little more sugar in the recipe if you’re substituting with cake flour. Because Optima flour, being a sponge cake mix, has had sugar added into the flour.

Step-by-step: How to make the vanilla sponge cake

Once out of the oven, set the pan on a cooling rack. When the cake has cooled, remove from the pan. Slice into three equal layers. It’s now ready to be filled and frosted.

Next, fill and frost the cake

On the base or bottom layer, spread a thin layer of whipped cream . Arrange sliced strawberries over the cream, and not too close to the edges. Cover the strawberries with another thinly spread layer of whipped cream.

Place the second sponge cake layer on top, aligning it perfectly with the bottom layer. Spread a layer of whipped cream, arrange the strawberry slices, and cover with whipped cream, as before.

Finally, place the last sponge cake layer on top. With the remaining whipped cream, frost the top and all around the cake. Smoothen as best you can. Decorate with whole or strawberry halves, as desired.

Lastly, let the cake sit overnight in the refrigerator – it will taste amazing the day after!

Japanese strawberry shortcake always tastes better the day after it’s filled and frosted. Overnight chilling allows the flavours of the cake to come together beautifully.

The cream frosting and fillings will have firmed up nicely, and the strawberries will have softened and taste even sweeter. Just take the cake out of the chiller about 15 to 20 minutes before the time you wish to serve it.

The best creams for frosting and filling a Japanese strawberry shortcake

The Japanese do love their cream desserts! So it’s no surprise that Japanese strawberry shortcake is traditionally filled and frosted with Chantilly cream.

Remember, Chantilly is just a name for whipped dairy cream lightly sweetened with sugar.

Dairy whipping cream

If you prefer dairy whipping cream (which contains 30-35% dairy fat), you will need to add some sugar. I’ve suggested the amount of sugar in the recipe for this. So, go with dairy whipping cream if you like your frosting and fillings rich and super creamy.

Avoid using heavy cream (which contains 36-38% dairy fat) or heavy double cream (48% dairy fat). These dairy creams are too heavy and dense. Heavy creams are not ideal for Japanese strawberry shortcake.

Non-dairy whipping cream

Recently, I’ve begun switching to non-dairy whipping creams. I find that it isn’t as rich or heavy as dairy whipping creams.

Non-dairy whipped cream is light and airy, which also makes it the perfect type of cream to fill and dress up this light strawberry shortcake.

In Singapore, we also have a type of non-dairy whipping cream called whip topping cream. These are slightly sweetened (eg. RED MAN brand), so you need not add sugar. This is the non-dairy cream I used here for Japanese strawberry shortcake.

That’s all there is to it! Hope you’ll give this a try and leave me your comments!

Do you love light desserts? Here are popular Asian treats you can easily bake from scratch :

Tried this recipe? I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.

Pin this Recipe!

A Japanese strawberry shortcake frosted with Chantilly cream and topped with fresh whole strawberries

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: 1 round cake (20-cm/8-inch) or 10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Try this easy and very delicious recipe for Japanese strawberry shortcake! Includes a recipe for the best sponge cake you'll ever need - super moist, light and cotton-fluffy - filled and frosted with Chantilly cream and freshly sliced (or whole) strawberries.

Ingredients

For the sponge cake:

  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 oz water
  • 2 1/2 oz vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp butter oil or vanilla extract
  • 4 oz optima sponge mix
  • 2 oz Hong Kong flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 1/4 oz caster sugar

For the Chantilly cream:

  • 600 g whip topping cream (or substitute with whipping cream)
  • 30 g caster sugar (only for whipping cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the strawberry filling and topping:

  • 16-18 whole strawberries, dry
  • 30 g white chocolate curls

Instructions

Make the Sponge Cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 165°C (330°F) with baking shelf placed on the lowest rack in the oven. Do NOT grease the cake pan.
  2. Into a medium mixing bowl, sift Hong Kong flour and baking soda together. Add Optima flour and stir with a whisk to combine well.
  3. In another mixing bowl, place egg yolks, water, vegetable oil, butter oil (or vanilla extract). Use a whisk to stir until well mixed. Sprinkle in flour-soda mixture from step (2), 1 to 2 tbsps at a time, stirring with a whisk to mix well, before adding more. Mix until mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a dry and grease-free mixer bowl. Using a hand-held or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip on high speed until egg whites turn frothy. Sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add one-third of the whipped egg white mixture to the wet flour mixture from step (3), fold gently by hand with a spatula. Then add all the remaining whipped egg whites and fold gently, moving always in one direction, until well mixed.
  6. Pour out into prepared cake pan and level the surface. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to eliminate air pockets. Bake at 165°C (330°F) for 50 to 60 minutes, or until done. To test: (a) Insert a skewer into the centre of the the cake, it is done when it emerges clean and free of sticky batter; AND/OR (b) press your fingers gently on the centre, the cake is done if it feels pillowy and springs back to the touch; AND/OR (c) insert an instant-read thermometer into the centre of the cake, the cake is done when it's internal temperature reaches 98°C (210°F).
  7. Once immediately out of the oven, invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack, and let it 'hang' for 15 minutes. Turn the cake pan back on its base, run a knife around the pan to loosen the sides and remove the cake. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Meanwhile, if you choose to wash your strawberries, make sure that they are patted very dry with paper towels. Choose 13 (more or less) of the nicest strawberries for decorating the top of the cake. Slice the rest for the filling.

Make Chantilly cream:

  1. Place the mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the chiller or freezer for at least 30 mins. Make sure whip topping cream (or substitute with whipping cream) is kept chilled until ready for whipping. When ready, place the whip topping cream (or substitute with whipping cream) and vanilla extract in the mixer bowl. (Note: Add sugar only if using whipping cream)
  2. Using a hand-held or electric mixer, whisk on high speed until the cream just starts to thicken - you will start to see the whisk lines faintly trailing in the cream as you whisk. Reduce to medium speed, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.Cover with cling wrap and keep chilled until ready to use. (Note: Be careful not to over-whip as whipped cream goes from soft to stiff very quickly – over-whipped cream will start to turn buttery. If this happens, you will have to start over with a fresh batch of cream).

Complete the cake:

  1. Slice the sponge cake into 3 layers. Spoon some Chantilly cream onto one layer and spread evenly. Arrange half of strawberry slices evenly over the cream,leaving the edge of the cake clear by half an inch (1-cm), and top with enough Chantilly cream to cover the slices.
  2. Place the second sponge layer on top. Spoon some Chantilly cream onto the second layer and spread evenly. Arrange the remaining strawberry slices evenly, leaving the edge of the cake clear by half an inch (1-cm). Top with enough cream to cover the slices.
  3. Finally, place the third layer on top. Spread enough Chantilly cream to cover the top and sides of the cake, reserving some for decorating.
  4. Transfer the remaining Chantilly cream to a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. Pipe a border all around on top. Decorate the bottom of the cake with a border of white chocolate curls, if desired.
  5. Chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. When ready to serve, arrange whole strawberries in the centre of the cake. Sprinkle remaining white chocolate curls over the strawberries, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g

All nutritional values are approximate only.

35 Comments

  1. Hi Emily, thanks for writing in! Usually, likely causes of cakes cracking are too hot an oven temperature, using a pan that’s slightly too small, or too much of raising or leavening agent. However, usually these cracks appear on the top. I’ve not had cracks in the side of the cake happen, lol! It’s hard to say without seeing a pic of it, wish I could be of more help, Emily.

  2. Hello…
    i tried the strawberry shortcake today but i realised there’s crack at the side of my cake.
    This means my oven heat cannot be set at 160deg as per your recipe right?
    Looking forward to your reply. 😊

  3. Hi Li Mei, I’m sorry to hear this happened. This has been my go-to sponge cake recipe all this while, and so far, the cakes have baked without any problems. If I may suggest, you could try baking the cake for a slightly longer time, additional 5 to 10 mins or so, as the wetness could be more a sign of underbaking. The cake should rise slowly but steadily, but it shouldn’t be removed from the oven at this stage. It will rise to a point where it won’t rise anymore, but actually lose some height. This is normal. Once the cake stops shrinking in height, it’s a sign that it is baked through. Tap the center of the cake lightly, if it springs back yo your touch, it is done baking. Just to be sure, do the skewer test. When you remove from the oven, you can try NOT inverting the cake. Let it cool in the pan, but don’t be alarmed if this cake shrinks away from the sides of the pan and loses a little height. This is perfectly alright too. Hope this helps! Hope you’ll let me know if it works out better.

  4. Hi Celia. I had so much hope that this recipe would work for me, like many of your other recipes have. I’m a fairly experienced Baker but I made this twice and both times it rose beautifully but when I turned it upside down, it would fall out and the bottom would sink and be quite dense. I wonder if it’s because there is too much water or oil? Thanks for your advice!

  5. Hi Rudolph, I’m not sure where you reside, but here in Singapore, we can get these readily available in most supermarkets. I’m afraid there really isn’t a substitute for Hong Kong flour, and the next best option I could think of is to use cake flour. I’m sorry if I can’t be more helpful.

  6. celia lim i have a question for you where can i purchase optima spounge mix and hong kong flour from i have a hard time finding these two items locally can you help me thank you.

  7. hello celia i want to try your cake recipe it sounds terrific i can’t wait to try it,celia I was wondering where can you find optima sponge mix from and hong kong flour may you help me with this I appreciate this very much and thank you so much.

  8. Hi Joanne, thank you so much for sharing! I’m so glad your cake was enjoyed so greatly. It sounds like the whipped cream may not have been whipped long enough to stiff peak consistency. You’ll need to whisk until the cream stays firm on the whisk, and the end does not droop back on itself. If you did whip the cream sufficiently, I think it helps to chill the frosted cake overnight in the refrigerator, to allow the whipped cream to set and firm up a little. In fact, I usually prepare and frost this cake at least a day before I intend to serve it. It will firm up nicely, the flavours will come together better, and it will slice neatly if it’s kept chilled right until the time you need to serve it. Hope this helps!

  9. Hi Celia, thank you for your wonderful recipe. My family enjoyed it greatly. However, the cream was not as firm as I like as it was quite messy slicing the cake. Perhaps I did not whisk it long enough? Can you please advise how long should I whisk it for.

  10. Hello Eileen, I’m so excited you’re thinking of giving this recipe a try! You can use vanilla extract instead of butter oil, butter oil is like an intense butter-flavoured extract. I really hope this one works out for you!?Happy baking!

  11. Hi Celia, chance upon your recipe while “mouring” over my failed attempt(2x) with other recipe. Will definitely try yours! Btw, what’s butter oil, can i substitute with vanilla extract or melted butter?

  12. Hi Forest, thank you so much for taking a chance with this cake recipe. I’m so very glad to hear of your success and that everyone liked it! Congratulations! Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. I tried this! I’m a noob in baking and glad I succeeded! Everyone says it’s good!
    Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  14. Hi Bel, exciting stuff! Just to be clear, are you thinking of baking one 11-inch sponge to slice into two layers, or two 11-inch sponge cakes to make a two-tier cake? If it’s just to make one 11-inch sponge, I’d recommend doubling the recipe only because it’s easier to work out the weights and measures, and in my humble opinion, better to have more cake to work with than less (plus,I usually have eager mouths to eat the extras in my home…heee).

  15. Hi Celia, im thinking to use this sponge cake recipe for a 11″ base as part of a 2 tiered birthday cake. Could you advise on the recipe needed and how do i increase it?

  16. Hello Denise, thank you so much for the glowing feedback on this strawberry shortcake recipe! It really makes my day whenever I hear from readers like you who try these recipes, and then take the effort to let me know how it turns out. I’m so thrilled you found me on my blog too!

    Ooooh… really rich chocolate cakes are my fave, believe it or not, and I’ve tried a couple of recipes that I really enjoyed but just haven’t gotten around to posting. I will surely try to get one or two of my favourite recipes up on the blog soon. Stay tuned, okay (better still, subscribe for free to get recipe updates whenever I post). Am definitely in with green tea cake suggestions too! I hope you’ll keep your comments coming whenever you try any other recipes here. I’d love to hear from you! Have a wonderful weekend ahead!

  17. Hi Celia,

    Chanced upon your website and I’m super happy that I did!! This is truly THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE RECIPE!! The sweetness is just right and the cake is so so soft! Best of all, it doesn’t have any egg smell (most sponge cakes do no matter how much vanilla essence I add)!

    Thank you so so much for sharing this recipe, I’ve tried so many before but none of them come close to being as good as this! I’ve made this at least 3 times and all my friends and family loved it!

    Would be real great if you have any really decadent chocolate cake (with crunchy base) or green tea cake recipe to share! <3<3<3

  18. Hi Adeline, thank you for writing in! Apologies for the weights being in ounces. Here are the conversions to grams for the ingredient weights originally listed in ounces, as follows:-
    water – 56 gm; vegetable oil – 70 gm; sponge cake mix – 113 gm; Hong Kong flour – 56 gm; caster sugar – 64 gm.
    I’ve updated the recipe to list weight measurements in grams as well, but just in case you’re reading a cached copy of this post, I’m listing them in this reply.
    I’m so excited you’re baking this for your son, hope this turns out awesome! I’d love to know and please don’t hesitate to ask me anything about this recipe. Happy baking!

  19. Hi,
    I am thinking of baking this cake for my son’s 10th birthday as he simply loves Japanese Strawberry shortcake. Would it be possible for you to indicate grams next to the oz measurement please? I am not family using oz and thus afraid that the conversion will be inaccurate.

    Many thanks in advance!

  20. Hi Cy, the ounces are weight measurements. I’ll be sure to make that clarification in the post. Thanks for asking!

  21. Hi,

    Is the oz in volume or weight?
    Thanks

  22. Hi Shirleen, I usually finish this cake a day before and let it chill in a closed cake box or cake container in the fridge overnight so that the cream filling and frosting firm up nicely. How long the cream stays firm really depends on the environment, I’ve delivered this cake by car for 25 mins journey (air conditioned, of course?) and it held up well. I always make sure that when the cake reaches it’s destination, it goes into a chiller there until when needed. I’ve had friends take home slices in air tight containers by MRT for 45 mins journey and it was just getting soft, but not drippy. The key is have the cake chilled really well, for instance, my fridge temperature is usually 3 deg C. Hope this helps!?

  23. i was thinking the transporting the cake from 1 plae to another. will the cream start to melt fast n easily?

  24. Hi Bel, I’m so thrilled! You did it!???? thanks so much for giving it another try and for sharing!?? Glad to hear your family loves it!

  25. Hi Celia, i tried baking this cake and it turned out to be a success this time. My family loves it too ? the sponge cake was really good.

  26. Hi Bel, I’m so sorry to hear that, that’s not ever happened to me yet, so I’m trying to think what could have gone wrong?. I’m thankful that you want to give it another go (kudos to your perseverance!) because this is really a tested and reliable recipe and one of the best I’ve gotten hold of. The cake should be moist but not very damp. I’m assuming that if you’ve used exactly the same ingredients as stated in the recipe, then maybe you could try one of two (or both) things: reduce the amount of water by 1/4 ounce, or bake for 5 to 10 mins longer. The cake is done when the surface springs back when lightly pressed. Please do share how this works out. I really really want this to work out for you! I find slicing with a knife, preferably a serrated one, always gives you neater and clean slices, though it shouldn’t fall apart so easily. Cheers, Celia

  27. Hi, i tried your recipe and the cake turned out to be quite damp. When i tried using a cake slicer to slice the cake, the cake split apart so i couldnt use it. Is it supposed to be very damp and should i use a knife to slice instead? Will want to try it again.

  28. Hi Isabel, I used an 8-inch round cake pan. The Redman brand of whip topping cream is already sweetened, but as sweetness is a matter of personal taste, you can taste this cream before whipping it up, and decide if you’d like the cream a little sweeter before adding any sugar.☺

  29. What inch of cake pan did you use? If we use Redma. top whipping cream, dont need to add sugar?

  30. Thank you so much, glad to hear he enjoyed it!???

  31. My fussy husband has nothing but praises for your yummy cake …. which he seldom does. Hotel standard he says. Thanks again ?

  32. Thank you so much, Philyn, for your awesome comments! Glad you enjoyed it!????

  33. This is the best cake ever! Simply delicious! The cream is wonderfully light and sweetness is just right. The sponge texture is perfect too! Yummy!

  34. Thanks so much, Joan! Hope you do!??

  35. Your description makes me drool -will try it when I m back! Thanks for sharing.

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