All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Ichigo no shootokeeki / layered sponge cake with strawberries

A Japanese-style "strawberry shortcake" comes as either a double or triple layer of airy, delicate and somewhat moist sponge cake, with whole or sliced strawberries packed inside and more on top. The sponge and cream are equally soft and almost melt together in your mouth, yet you can still clearly sense the mellow aroma of sugar and fresh eggs of the sponge, the fresh silkiness of the cream and the sweet, subtly sour taste of strawberries. This is the most common Western-type cake in Japan, as it has been one of the preferred choices for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas for many years.

Whole cake: 
2,605 calories; 32.0 g protein; 185.5 g fat; 192.8 g carbohydrate; 187.3 g net carbs; 285 mg sodium; 1,002 mg cholesterol; 5.5 g fiber

1/8 slice: 
521 calories; 6.4 g protein; 37.1 g fat; 38.6 g carbohydrate; 37.5 g net carbs; 57 mg sodium; 200 mg cholesterol; 1.1 g fiber


(makes approx. 20 cm cake)

1 18 cm genoise sponge cake
   1 tsp sugar
   2 tsp water
   1 tsp kirschwasser cherry brandy

300 cc heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

200-300 g strawberries
1/2-1 tsp sugar (to marinate strawberries; optional, see notes)
1 tsp kirschwasser (to marinate strawberries; optional, see notes)


Mix sugar and water for syrup, microwave for 5+ seconds, and dissolve sugar.

Mix in kirschwasser, and set aside.


Select strawberries to top the cake.
Slice the other strawberries 4-5 mm thick.
Sprinkle sugar and kirschwasser on sliced strawberries, gently mix, and let sit for 10+ minutes.


Slice sponge cake by using a set of height guides.


Brush syrup on each slice surface (one side) of sponge slices.


While keeping the bowl in ice water, whip heavy cream with sugar, to very loose consistency.


Take 1/3-1/2 to another bowl, and continue to beat until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted.
Spread some cream on first sponge layer.


Pat off moisture of strawberry slices, and place in a single layer on top of cream.

Spread more cream.

(If cream runs out, take more from the first bowl, beat as necessary, and spread.)

Place another sponge, and repeat.


Beat remaining cream as needed (should be very loose without making any clear peak when whisk is lifted), and pour just enough to cover surface.


Decorate with remaining cream (whip to obtain firmer texture) and strawberries.
Keep refrigerated.

  • Tastes best after 1 hour or so, as the sponge and cream settle together.
  • Best on Day 1 and Day 2.
  • If your strawberries are sweet enough, they do not need to be marinated in sugar and kirschwasser.
  • The above nutrition figures are based on using 85% of 1 18-cm genoise sponge cake.
  • When kept after cutting, place foil or parchment paper on cut surface to prevent it from drying out.
  • The amount of cream was just enough to decorate the cake above (8 quenelles or rugby-ball shapes formed with two teaspoons).
  • This "shortcake" using soft sponge cake was introduced in the 1920s in Japan and became a popular dessert for families in the 1950s.  
  • To cut the cake without damaging the decoration, insert a knife (one with a sharp skinny blade is recommended) straight down to the center at the bottom, and move it up and down while tilting slightly each time. Always aim the knife tip at the center at the bottom. When the knife blade's position comes down about 20-30 degrees from the top, you should be able to move the knife at a wider angle. Do not push down on the knife until the blade almost reaches the bottom. You can also use a long slicer to divide the cake into two blocks, then slice each block into the desired number of pieces. For each slice, wipe off the blade to keep the decoration and cut surface looking neat.

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