A true Christmas showstopper made with layers of delicate sponge filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries – a Japanese favourite.
40g unsalted butter
30ml whole milk
4 large eggs
120g self-raising flour
30ml Honteri Mirin
750ml whipping cream
2 punnets strawberries
1. Prepare a 20cm cake tin by lining with paper and preheat your oven to 180ºC.
2. Prepare a bain-marie and place butter into the bowl and melt over bain-marie. When melted, whisk in the milk and put to one side.
3. In another bowl, break the eggs and beat together, then place over the bain-marie and whisk constantly so the eggs don’t become scrambled. Whisk until the mix is the same temperature as your finger then remove from the heat.
4. In a stand mixer a whisk attachment add the egg mix and whisk on high speed (level 10) until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. The batter should be loose yet thick and glossy, and when the batter is pale and fluffy and tripled in volume, slow down to low speed (level 4) for several seconds then stop.
5. Take out some of the mixture and then fold it back in – if the batter stays on top of the mixture you have reached the “ribbon stage”. Remove from the mixer.
6. Add half of the flour and fold gently but thoroughly. Do this by rotating your bowl slowly, and simultaneously moving your whisk in a downward-then-over motion. Add the rest of the flour and fold gently to make sure all the flour is incorporated quickly so your mixture doesn’t deflate.
7. Take out 1 scoop of the batter from the bowl and add to the butter & milk mixture, then mix very well. Add the mixture back to the batter by pouring over the silicon spatula – this prevents the mixture from deflating the batter. Gently fold in. When you lift the spatula, the batter should fold down like ribbon.
8. Now pour the batter into the centre of the cake pan, from right above the cake pan. You want to avoid introducing extra air into the batter at this point. Collect the leftover batter in the bowl and pour around the edges of the cake pan, not the centre. Tap the cake pan on the counter to release air bubbles .
9. In the preheated oven, bake at 180ºC (or for a convection oven 160ºC) for 20-25 minutes. Check if the sponge cake is done by inserting a skewer in the middle and it comes out clean. As soon as you take out the cake pan from the oven, tap it on the counter to shock the cake (so it stops shrinking).
10. Carefully remove and lay on a cooling rack and cover the cake with a damp towel until cooled to keep the cake moist.
11. Heat up the Honteri and then cover the bottom of the cake using a pastry brush – this will help the sponge retain moisture.
12. Now whip your cream, all of it, and prepare your strawberries, cutting 50% of them in half.
13. Cut your cake in half through the middle then arrange the half strawberries cut side down along the bottom half. Fill all the gaps with your whipped cream creating a level surface, then place the top half of the sponge on top and proceed to cover all sides and top with whipped cream. When done, smooth with a palette knife and refrigerate for 1 hour before adding the final strawberries and swirls of cream.
Ronald Laity is Mizkan’s Culinary Development Chef. A lifelong foodie, he has worked as a lobster fisherman, fishmonger, cheese maker and dairy hand, before finally falling in love with Japanese culture and cuisine, immersing himself in Japan for 6 years. Since being back, Ron has contributed to the UK Japanese Culinary scene, whether at Yakitoria, Samurai Sushi, Senkai, Feng Sushi, Bincho Yakitori and United Ramen, before joining Mizkan. Ron loves experimenting with authentic Japanese ingredients and developing new ways to bring those flavours to life.
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