My mom always made specially decorated cakes for my brother and me for our birthdays. That is one thing I wanted to learn and do for my kids as well. As I have gotten older, I have become less of a fan or your classic American birthday cake with either butter cream frosting or the Crisco based decorator’s frosting. They look cool, but I’m not the biggest fan of the frosting. But I have become a huge fan of Japanese cakes. They typically have less sugar and a gentler, milder taste. I first made the Japanese strawberry shortcake a few years ago for Chloe’s first birthday and have been enjoying experimenting with variations ever since.

Chloe’s Japanese preschool class was having an end-of-year ceremony luncheon. I thought this would be a great time to make the strawberry shortcake, but in the shape of Hello Kitty.

I have a Hello Kitty shaped cake pan which makes that part easy. For this cake I double the recipe for the cake, and triple the recipe for the frosting. The frosting is a simple homemade whipped cream frosting which makes it tricky to decorate with. This one uses unflavored gelatin as a stabilizer making it much easier to work with. If it starts to feel like it’s melting, I just put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it up.

I’ve also noticed that frosting with food coloring tends to bleed when it sits overnight. For this cake, I did all the white frosting the night before. In the morning I did the red bow, the yellow nose, and the black eyes and whiskers. That helped it look very sharp and crisp for the party.

Overall, it turned out great! I think I’ve become very consistent with the look of the cake over the past few years, but the cake itself has been a bit inconsistent. Sometimes it’s like a perfect cake from a Japanese bakery, and other times it’s a tad bit too dense. I’ve become friends with someone who works at a Japanese bakery and this summer she will teach me how to make a perfect Japanese cake.

RECIPE:

You can find the cake and frosting recipe and detailed directions from La Fuji Mama at the link below.

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

I doubled the recipe for the cake batter and tripled the recipe for the frosting.

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