Get into a slightly different Christmas spirit this year with a Japanese Christmas cake. Utterly distinct from the fruity, boozey density of British Christmas cake, Japanese Christmas cake, or ‘kurisumasu keki,’ is a light sponge cake, covered in a layer of whipped cream and decorated with ripe strawberries. A delicious alternative dessert to serve up on Christmas day, and so easy to make as well.
First preheat the oven to 175°C and butter an 8-inch round cake tin.
This recipe uses a double boiler technique to ensure the cake has wonderful lightness, so first fill up a bowl with warm water and set aside. Crack the eggs into another bowl. Whisk (preferably with an electric hand whisk if you have one to hand) the eggs, gradually adding the sugar until combined and dissolved. Place this mixture over the warm water and continue to whisk thoroughly, until the mixture becomes almost white.
Put the milk in a microwavable bowl and warm in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir in the honey and whisk into the egg mixture. At this point, sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl with the egg mixture, making sure to hold the sieve far above the bowl. Gently mix with a wooden spoon. When all elements are mixed, you’re ready to bake.
Pop the cake mix into the buttered cake tin and level out the mixture using a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, test that the cake is baked by sticking a knife in. If there’s no residue, it’s all good. Allow to cool on a wire rack and move on to the creamy topping.
Add the double cream and sugar to a mixing bowl. Whip the cream vigorously until the mixture thickens to stiff peaks. At this point, separate the cream mixture into two bowls, half and half. One will be for the filling and the other for covering the cake.
Cut half the strawberries into thin slices and add to one of the bowls of cream mixture. Return to the cooled sponge cake and cut it in half horizontally. Spread the strawberry and cream mixture on top of one one of the sponge halves, then place the other on top like a glorious Christmas sandwich.
Use the other half of the cream to spread around the rest of the cake. Use a spatula to create beautiful peaks on top of your cake, or a pastry bag if available. Decorate with rest of the strawberries. Et voilà, Christmas Japanese style.