I have been eating this type of cake for years without knowing exactly what it is. My go-to favorite cake has always been a lighter, less sweet version of the popular July 4th favorite, strawberry shortcake. But only recently did I learn of this lovely cake’s true origin. This strawberry shortcake is similar to a sponge saeng cream cake (생크림 케이크), otherwise known as a Korean fresh cream cake and for those who’ve never had it, it’s AMAZING.
This popular Asian bakery-style birthday cake has soft and fluffy layers of cake, wrapped in light fresh unstabilized whipped cream frosting, which is then studded with plenty of fresh seasonal berries. The takeaway is the perfect cake for those who don’t have a huge sweet tooth but still want to enjoy a little dessert.
Truthfully speaking, I’m what I’ve coined cake select. I love cake, but not all cakes equally. Because I’m more of a savory person, when I have cake, I want that cake to be great. And let’s face it, not all cakes are worth the calories. This, I can assure you, is a great cake.
When you think about it, in the cake universe, there are almost too many choices. My biggest complaint is how overly sweet most cakes seem to be. So sweet in fact, that you can feel the sugar in your mouth when you eat it. I’m not a fan of that at all. Despite what many people think, cakes can be too sweet. And so can frosting… Don’t let the title fool you, this simple strawberry shortcake is one you will think you’ve had before, but chances are, you haven’t.
This light fluffy sponge cake is airy, yet flavorful without clawing sweetness. The simple syrup keeps the cake layers moist but not soggy. Can I get a hallelujah?!?!?! The fresh berries, at peak berry season, shine by themselves and the simple, slightly sweetened whipped cream frosting, is fresh and irresistible.
This lovely strawberry shortcake, or Korean fresh cream-style cake if you will, is a true keeper, even if you’re not an avid baker. An elegant and rather easy layer cake to pull together, that’s both forgiving and has fantastic curb appeal. What’s not to love? Trust me, this beauty will shine on holiday or not. So in the cake department, I’m going to rate this one close to perfect, the only downside is you need strawberry season to make it. But that said, it’s almost July, and this cake is exactly what I’ll be making for the fourth.
1 hour, 15 minutes
For the Sponge Cake:
- 2 cups cake flour, loosely packed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs, room temperature, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
For the Whipped Cream:
- 4 cups cold whipping cream
- 3/4 cup confectioner sugar
For the Filling:
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced with 3 left whole (for garnish)
- 1/4 cup fresh blackberries (for garnish)
- 1/4 cup fresh raspberries (for garnish)
- For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and place near your workstation.
- In a small bowl, add the egg yolks, and 1/4 cup of the sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a kitchen mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add the egg whites and beat on high until you see foam start to form. With the mixer running slowly pour in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue mixing on high speed until you see stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-mix. Place near your workstation. Using a large rubber spatula mix in the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture in three parts until smooth Gently fold in the egg whites into the mixture until well incorporated, without overmixing.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans. Place the cakes in the oven and bake, rotating once, until set and a cake tester comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven. Carefully run a paring knife around the edges of the can and invert the cakes cake onto wire cooling racks to cool completely.
- For the Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan add the sugar and water, place over a high heat, and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved, and let it cool. Set aside.
- For the Whipped Cream: Clean the kitchen mixer bowl out from earlier and fit it with the whisk attachment. Add the whipping cream and beat on high until soft peaks begin to form. Reduce the speed slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until the cream becomes thick and almost stiff peaks form. Be very careful not to overwhip the cream or it will break.
- Assembling the Cake: Once the cakes have cooled, place them on a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice each cake layer lengthwise in half so you now have 4 layers in total. Carefully trim away the hard brown edges of the cake sides only.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter with the cut surface facing up. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush with the simple syrup. Using an offset spatula, frost with about 3/4 cup of whipped cream. Arrange some strawberries on top of the whipped cream and cover with another cake slice. Repeat this step with two more layers. When you get to the last layer, brush lightly with simple syrup and top with whipped cream but do add sliced berries. Continue to frost the cake until all the sides are frosted. Garnish with berries. Refrigerate until serving.