Japanese strawberry shortcake

Got a sweet tooth but don’t like them too sweet? I’ve got you covered with this Japanese strawberry shortcake. It’s not too sweet but still light and airy like a cloud. It’s also filled with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

It’s pretty obvious that I have a sweet tooth. I’m pretty sure that I inherited that from my dad, who’s been a sweets fan for as long as he can remember. In fact, he shared a funny story with us about his childhood that always makes me laugh.

As a child, my dad loved to eat candy. Every evening, a man pushing a candy cart would come by his street. My dad would try to do anything for some of the candy. One day, as my dad heard the candy cart rolling through, he ran to the bathroom. He got his family’s only tube of toothpaste (this was back when the tubes were made from a recyclable material), squeezed out every last drop of toothpaste, and traded the empty tube for some candy.

He came back to the house a happy camper. Until, that is, he met the wrath of my grandmother. She punished him so badly that he didn’t dare pull the stunt again. Fast forward to his adult years, and although my dad still loves sweets, he likes them slightly less sweet than before. He prefers cakes that aren’t toothache-y sweet, which is why I made him this cake. My parents have always preferred Asian bakery cakes (like this one), so I this is just another version of a less sweet birthday cake.

Happy belated birthday, Daddy!

Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5

Japanese strawberry shortcake

This Japanese strawberry shortcake is perfect for those of you who like desserts that aren't too sweet. It's soft, and fluffy and features homemade whipped cream.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Asian, Cake
Servings: 10 12
Author: Eva Bakes


Sponge cake

  • 3 Tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 millileters) whole milk
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (120 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (120 grams) cake flour


  • 2 Tablespoons (30 millileters) water
  • 3 Tablespoons (38 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon liquor of choice optional

Whipped cream

  • 2 cups (473 milileters) heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons (38 milligrams) granulated sugar

Decorations (optional)

  • 1 pound (450 grams) strawberries cleaned
  • blueberries rinsed and dried


Bake the cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease or line an 8" round cake pan and set aside (I put parchment paper at the bottom of my pan and greased the sides).
  • In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Allow it to cool slightly and then whisk in the milk. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk together the 4 eggs using a hand whisk. Add the sugar and mix well. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the stand mixer bowl does not touch the water. Essentially, we are creating a double boiler and heating up the eggs and sugar together without overcooking them. Keep whisking and heating until the mixture reaches 104°F (60°C).
  • Set the bowl into your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer and whisk vigorously. Your batter should be thick yet glossy.
  • Keep whisking until your batter has approximately tripled in volume. Your batter should be a pale yellow color. Turn the mixer down to low and continue mixing for a few more seconds.
  • Turn off the mixer and fold in half of the flour. Gently fold it into your batter. Add the remaining flour and gently fold again.
  • Remove about scoop of the batter and fold it into your reserved milk and butter mixture. Then fold this back into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter to your prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake the cake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Drop the cake on the counter a few times to release it from the pan. Then run a knife around the edges to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Flip the cake over onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper, and then flip it back over so the flat side is down. Let the cake cool.

Prepare the strawberries

  • While the cake is baking and cooling, you can prepare the strawberries. Separate the strawberries into two piles. For the first pile, remove the stems and slice them. For the second pile, remove the stems and cut them in half. Set aside.

Make the syrup

  • In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar and liquor (if using). Microwave for about 1 minute. Stir and allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Set aside.

Make the whipped cream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk the heavy cream and sugar on high speed until you achieve soft peaks. Set aside.

Assemble the cake

  • Once the cake has cooled completely, slice it in half horizontally. Place one half of the cake, flat side down, on a cake plate or cake stand.
  • Brush the top and sides of the cake layer with the syrup. Spread a layer of cream on top, spreading al the way to the edges of the cake.
  • Add a layer of the sliced strawberries on top, making sure no strawberries overlap so the cake doesn't slide around and is easier to cut. Add another layer of whipped cream on top.
  • Top with the other half of the cake, with the flat side facing up. Brush the top and sides with the remaining syrup.
  • Frost the top and the sides with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Decorate with additional whipped cream rosettes, and the reserved halved strawberries and any additional fruit as desired.
  • Slice and enjoy!


Leftover cake should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will last about 2 days.
Source: Just One Cookbook


  1. monika
    January 6, 2021 / 9:48 am

    3 Tablespoons (38 milligrams) granulated sugar
    3T of granulation sugar = 39 GRAMS not milligrams

    • evabakes
      January 6, 2021 / 12:21 pm

      Great catch – thank you, Monika! I’ve corrected it so that it’s GRAMS. 🙂

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