I’ve been itching to bake a classic Japanese strawberry shortcake for the longest time but did not quite find the courage to take on the challenge. I have an unexplained fear for anything that require too much whipping, whether it is meringue or cream. I am sure there are tons of other more difficult baking techniques out there that I had no idea of but to a novice home baker like me, light airy sponge cake comes a close second to chiffon cake in the difficulty department. Moreover, leavening agents are typically not used in a classic sponge cake recipe, so the rising depends entirely on how well you mastered the art of beating and folding. Now, I’ve tried making a roll cake that uses a similar sponge cake recipe once before while residing in Japan. It turned out way too hard for rolling and heck it wasn’t even nice eating on its own! Suffice to say, that was my one and last attempt at sponge cake of any sort.
Some 7 years and a second bump later–both times it happened so I am attributing this recent insatiable need for baking to my being pregnant–i finally plucked up the courage to give it a go. I scoured the Internet for recipes and watched this video countless times before getting started. Overall, for a first attempt, the sponge cake turned out relatively well though I suspect I might have over whipped the cream as it turned out “grainier” than I would have like. What I had not expected however was what a nightmare it was trying to frost a cake with fresh cream in our weather! Both cake and I were literally sweating as I hurried to lather on the cream. Halfway through I even had to pop a half frosted cake back into the fridge for a while to salvage a dire situation.
So yes, I can finally say I baked a strawberry shortcake from scratch. I will likely give it a second try but instead of using a 7″ cake tin and having to bake twice as it yielded a flatter sponge cake, I’d invest in a taller 6″ tin and slice the cake into half hence saving myself the extra step the next time.