Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

4 Serves

Ingredients

Sponge Cake
125g all-purpose flour sifted 3 times
100g sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
60g butter, melted
Butter and flour to coat inside the cake pan

Decoration
18 strawberries (mid-size)
300ml cream for whipping
10g sugar

Syrup (optional)
40ml water
10g 0.4oz sugar

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Coat the inside of an 18cm / 7″ cake tin with butter, dust with flour, then shake off the excess flour.

Put the egg yolks in a bowl, add 2/3 of the sugar and beat the egg yolks until they become whitish and thick. Draw a ribbon with the whisk and if the ribbon disappears slowly, it is ready.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg white. When the small bubbles form and the volume of the egg white doubles, add the remaining sugar in 2-3 batches and beat further to make meringue.

When the meringue becomes firm and it can form a peak when you lift the whisk (see the step-by-step photo in the post), it is ready.

Put the flour through the sifter and add to the egg yolk. Fold the batter with a spatula.

Transfer 1/3 of the meringue to the batter and mix with a whisk until the batter becomes smooth.
Add the remaining meringue to the batter in 2-3 batches and fold.

Pour the melted butter into the batter and fold several times. It’s OK even if the butter is not completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the cake tin. Drop the tin onto the workbench to settle the batter in the tin, then, cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Insert a thin bamboo skewer in the centre of the cake to see if the skewer comes out dry. If the skewer is a bit wet, cook further 5 minutes.

Take the tin out of the oven and drop the tin onto the workbench. Remove the cake from the tin and let it cool completely on a rack, upside down (bottom side up).

Decorating the cake (do the steps 1 and 2 while cooling the sponge cake)

Put the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat off.

Whip the cream until soft peak forms. Wipe the strawberries with wet kitchen paper, remove the stems and halve 10 strawberries.

Leave the sponge cake upside down as is and slice it horizontally in half, remove the top half and place it next to the bottom half of the cake, cut side up.

Using a brush, coat the cut surface of the two sponge cakes with the syrup gently.

Drop about 3 heaped tablespoons of the whipped cream on the bottom half of the sliced cake and spread it to cover the entire surface. Fill the surface with the halved strawberries, without a gap as much as possible.

Drop about 4 heaped tablespoons of the whipped cream on and spread it to cover the strawberries and the round edge.

Place the top half of the cake on it, syrup side down. Gently press down, making sure the top and bottom cakes are aligned. Fill the gap around the strawberry filling on the side with whipped cream.

(optional) Thinly coat the top and the side of the cake with whipped cream. It is OK not to completely cover the sponge. Leave the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Using a cake spatula or a long flat spatula, fully cover the top and the side of the cake with the remaining whipped cream, leaving some (about a minimum of 4-5 tablespoons) for piping.

Put the remaining cream in a piping bag with a round nozzle. Squeeze out the cream to make a mound of cream in 8 positions around the edge of the surface. Place a strawberry on each mound.

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