Monday, December 26, 2011

Japanese Christmas Cake

If you don't like fruitcake, try making a Japanese Christmas Cake.  
A light, fluffy sponge with fresh cream and strawberries.  
Japanese christmas cake is usually a gateau, but I will never forget the dome cake we had 
for my first Christmas in Japan eight years ago.  
I was living in Fukushima City with a friend and it was the most beautiful white Christmas eve when we arrived home and found that a dear friend of ours had bought a Christmas cake for us!  
I had never thought of having anything other than fruitcake for Christmas so it was my first time to discover Japanese Christmas cake.
It was one of these dome cakes, from a patisserie and made absolutely perfectly.
So this Christmas I have tried to the best of my memory to re-create that cake we had on my first Christmas in Japan.
Slice open your dome cake and inside the sponge igloo is a centre of fresh cream and whole strawberries. 
The original cake had a diameter of about 15 cm, for about 4-5 slices.  This time my sister and her family have joined us for Christmas so I made a cake with a diameter about 22 cm.  This serves about 10-12, however I've never seen a large one like this in Japan.
The cake we had in Japan had no chocolate, however this time I have piped dark chocolate onto baking paper for the writing and hearts.
How to make a Dome-shaped Japanese Christmas Cake:
  • 1 plain round sponge cake, about 1/4 or 1/3 larger diameter than the bowl
  • 300-600mL (10-20oz) firmly whipped cream
  • 100-200mL (3-6oz) softly whipped cream
  • 250g-500g (8-16oz) fresh strawberries
  • A round bowl

  1. Slice a round sponge cake in half, with slices being about 2cm thick.  (About 2cm(3/4inch) for the dome, and bottom slice 2-3cm (3/4-1inch) for the base.
  2. Line a round noodle bowl or small mixing bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Place the bowl up-side down on the bottom slice and cut around it to get the right size for the base of the dome.  
  4. Cut 4 thin wedges from the edge of the top slice, cutting about 1/3 to 2/5 of the way into the cake.  Line the bowl with this top slice, using any scraps to fill in any gaps if necessary.  (You may need to adapt this step depending on the exact size and shape of your bowl.)
  5. Place several spoonfuls of firmly whipped cream into the centre, half-way up the sponge.  Place whole strawberries, pointy end down, into the cream.  As you press the strawberries in, the cream will rise up to fill the sponge.  (you may need to add more fresh cream and strawberries to fill to the level of the top of the sponge, if necessary)
  6. Place the base on top.  Refrigerate for about an hour before spreading more firmly whipped cream on the outside, followed by a thin layer of softly whipped cream for a perfect smooth finish.  Decorate with fresh strawberries.
I will re-post these instructions with photographs before next Christmas if I can (^_^)
Also the recipe for light and fluffy sponge cake.

Two things I forgot to do on this Christmas cake (sorry):
  1. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on top of the strawberries, to give it a snowed-on appearance.
  2. Cut the brown edge of the sponge cake from the dome piece, to give a seamless look so you can't see brown joints in the sponge as you see here.


  1. I just stumbled across your blog while looking for a gyudon recipe, but I wanted to comment on this cake.

    When I was a teenager growing up in Southern California, the Chinese owned bakeries made cakes similar to the Japanese Christmas cakes, year round. They were very popular for birthday parties. My grandmother, who is Japanese (from Kyoto) always had my mom pick one up for family birthday parties.

    Like you I'm half Japanese, although my father was American rather than Australian. I'm married to an American born Japanese (4th generation), so Japanese food is very prominent in our home and celebrations.

    1. Hi Nerd Mom! Nice to meet a fellow hafu, with kuota (quarter) children!♡ Your Grandmother sounds kind, I would have loved to try those cakes! I guess they came with various fruits on top, not just strawberries? Sounds like what I saw in Japan.

  2. I live in japan(Okinawa) since 2011 and I am in love with the Japaneses pastries. i have been trying to make the whipping cream recipe, but i do not know where to buy it, or what is the name to look for in the grocery stores, please Any idea?, Recipe? how can i make it stable to decorated a cake with??? please help

  3. Hi! There are two kinds of whipping cream that you can buy in Japan. One is Nama-cream 生クリーム、the other is "whip" ホイップ。Nama-cream is real fresh cream, whereas "whip" is an artificial cream, however it is much cheaper. Both are sold in small 150ml cartons in the supermarket. To turn the runny liquid into whipped cream, use an electric beater or a whisk, however it may take some patience with a whisk!

  4. Hello!
    I am new to your site but I will definitely continue to visit to keep up with all of your creations!
    I especially want to try making this cake but I'm not exactly sure how to make the dome. If you ever get the chance, would you please post pictures with your instructions?
    Thanks very much!

    1. Some pictures of how you make the dome would be great.

  5. This cakes looks absolutely delicious!! Thank you for the recipe. This will definitely be a Christmas dessert this year ^_^ THANK YOU!!

  6. Hi guys. Where to buy high-quality chocolate as a gift for your wife?

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