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Recipes

Simple Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe

23 November 2023

You might be familiar with traditional British Christmas cake, but the Japanese version is something different altogether.

Made with a light sponge and covered in cream and fresh fruit, Japanese Christmas cake is just as special as our usual festive treat but is the perfect alternative for those that aren’t fans of rich fruit cake. 

You’ll also need far fewer ingredients to whip up this deceptively straightforward bake at home when compared to a fruity Christmas cake. Don’t just take our word for it; give our recipe a go to see for yourself! 

You might be familiar with traditional British Christmas cake, but the Japanese version is something different altogether. Made with a light sponge and covered in cream and fresh fruit, Japanese Christmas cake is just as special as our usual festive treat but is the perfect alternative for those that aren’t fans of rich fruit cake. You’ll also need far fewer ingredients to whip up this deceptively straightforward bake at home when compared to a fruity Christmas cake. Don’t just take our word for it; give our recipe a go to see for yourself!

What is Japanese Christmas Cake?

What makes Japanese Christmas cake, or ‘Kurisumasu Kek’, so distinct? Like numerous other Japanese cuisines, this cake has a very precise aesthetic with perfectly smooth whipped cream frosting and whole strawberries as decoration. The cake itself is a very light sponge, akin to Victoria sponge cake, which complements the elegant visuals sublimely. It is a beloved treat that celebrates the season, despite the limited Christian population in Japan. During December, you will often see impressive displays of these cakes in bakery windows.

The Origins of Japanese Christmas Cake

While we may call it a ‘Christmas’ cake, the cake has become a symbol of prosperity due to its historical roots in the rebuilding of post-war Japan and an American influence of commercialisation. Originally the cake was the height of luxury, with only the elite being able to afford it, but as Japan’s economy began to recover after the War, the ingredients became more readily available. Thus, the cake became a symbol that reflects the once struggling nation’s rise to prosperity and wealth! Although Christmas itself isn’t celebrated as a national holiday, the Japanese Christmas cake is an important cultural phenomenon – here we teach you how to make it at home!

Japanese Christmas Cake Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 1½ tbsp butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 85g sugar
  • 100g plain flour

For the topping:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • Around 20 fresh strawberries

How to Make Japanese Christmas Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two small round cake tins.
  2. For the cake, crack the eggs into a large bowl and gradually add the sugar, whisking until the mixture has a pale and fluffy appearance.
  3. Sift the flour into the same bowl, mixing gently until smooth.
  4. Pour the milk into a pan and heat slowly, not letting it boil. Add the butter to the pan and stir until it melts.
  5. Mix the liquid mixture with the other ingredients until everything is combined.
  6. Distribute the cake batter between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden.
  7. When baked, turn the cakes out onto wire racks to cool.
  8. For the topping, whisk the double cream and sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Spread half of the cream over the top of one of the cakes when it is stone cold.
  10. Slice some of the strawberries and arrange over the cream. Sandwich the two cakes together, with the cream and strawberries in the middle.
  11. Spread the remaining cream over the outside of the entire cake. Use a spatula to get a smooth finish.
  12. Decorate the top of the cake with the rest of the whole strawberries.

Have we tempted you to try something new this festive period? If you’re craving something slightly different from the classic Western Christmas treats this year, our Japanese grocery store is the perfect place for you.

While we don't stock any tasty Japanese strawberry cake, we do have plenty of delightful strawberry-flavoured snacks to beat your cravings – see some of our top picks below.

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