s is the letter of the day // strawberry shortcake

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 S is for…

strawberries

sunlight

sponge cake

sunday

sweet cream

spring.

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S is for the wholesome sweetness of in-season ruby strawberries.

 S is for the serenity that the soft rays of sunlight filtering through the window bring.

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S is also for my attempt at symmetry with the whole strawberry and whipped cream decoration situation, which could have been less gap-y in my opinion but all in all, a low effort high impact technique to keep in the books for sure. The sponge cake isn’t necessarily the softest, springiest recipe I’ve come across but it is definitely one of the more flavourful ones (if not the most) with the additions of honey, milk and butter. There’s also no need to brush the cake layers with syrup because the sponge retains sufficient moisture – always a huge plus.

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One last thing – I popped back in Singapore for a couple of weeks to soak up some of that beloved warmth and humidity, which I know sounds slightly sarcastic but winter in Tokyo this year showed no mercy. Below are the more photogenic highlights, cropped and gif-ed. The Gardens by the Bay area is so so stunning.

But you know, always great to be back in Tokyo.

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Strawberry Shortcake

makes a 7 inch round cake or 6 inch square cake

I didn’t have a square pan on the smaller side so I had to improvise by baking the batter in a 7 inch round cake pan and then trimming the sides to achieve a square shape (with one side being about 6 inches), which is essential for accentuating the pattern on top of the cake but only necessary if you choose to decorate in the way demonstrated.

For the sponge cake:

3 large eggs

75 grams sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon milk

85 grams cake flour, sifted

30 grams butter, melted and cooled

For the whipped cream:

300 ml whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon rum

To decorate:

8 large strawberries, left whole

8 large strawberries, sliced into halves

Make the sponge cake: Preheat oven to 170C. Line baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the eggs, sugar, and honey in a large, heatproof mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and continue to whisk until foamy. When the batter feels warm to touch (around 36 to 38 degrees), remove from the saucepan and continue to whisk until light and fluffy and also stiff enough to cling onto the whisk for a few seconds when lifted up before falling back into the bowl in thick ribbons.

Whisk the milk into the batter. Sift in the cake flour in two additions, thoroughly whisking in the first addition before adding the next. Using a spatula, continue mixing the batter until it becomes smooth. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix it into the batter until well incorporated.

Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the cream: Combine the cream, sugar, vanilla and rum into a bowl and whisk until stiff peaks.

Assemble the cake: Slice the cooled sponge cake into half lengthwise. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream onto the first half, arrange the strawberry halves on top, ensuring that the cut sides line up with the edges of the cake. Spread more whipped cream on top to cover the strawberries and place the second layer of cake on top. Spread a thin layer of cream to cover the surface of the sponge.

Transfer the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. First, arrange the whole strawberries on top of the cake, evenly spacing them apart. Fill in the gaps by piping in the cream to a height that’s about level with the tops of the strawberries.

Chill the cake in the fridge overnight or for a few hours before serving to allow the cream to set.

Note: sponge cake recipe adapted from タルトとケーキ by 福田淳子

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