She's three years my senior and we first got to know each other when we attended the same part-time degree course at a local institution. I could still remember I was one of the few students who had arrived late on the first day of class and there were two or few empty seats left, and I made my choice to take the seat next to her. We were both "shy" and didn't speak to each other until break-time, and she was the first to initiate the conversation. But what we didn't know until (days, or maybe weeks) later was, we were actually from the same secondary school (some call it high school) after we bumped into a mutual friend. We were both extremely surprised as we had no impression of each other back then. And since then, we had endless topics to talk about and conversations seemed to flow like old friends catching up. Perhaps this is what fate is all about. To date, we have known each other for about seven years and still counting. Looking back, it was a tough time coping with studies while working full-time. But I could imagine it would have been tougher if I didn't have her with me during the two years of the course. ^_^ Reminiscing our good old times would make this blog post lengthier than the combined blog posts I have written to date. Just want to say a big thank you to her for being a friend more than anyone could ask for. *_*
And coincidentally, today happens to be the birthday of a new (local) friend I got acquainted in this foreign country. She has been rendering me her companion in many of our social activities and I thought I could make her a cake as a surprise since I'm sure she would be missing the blast celebration with her family and friends had she not been away from home. It was a risky surprise though because this baking experiment was my maiden attempt. But yes, the surprise pulled off successfully and the cake was not a disappointment at all. Although this bake wasn't made specially for my bestie (as she wouldn't get to savour it anyway), I would also like to dedicate this cake to her on this special day and to let her know that I will definitely make her one someday! ^_^
|Strawberry Shortcake (Shotokeki)|
Strawberry Shortcake (Shotokeki)
Recipe referenced and modified from: Ochikeron
Yields one 9-inch round cake
3 eggs, at room temperature
90 grams granulated sugar
90 grams cake flour
30 grams unsalted butter, melted
20 ml hot water
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
300 ml heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, sliced and whole, for garnishing
9-inch round cake pan
- Line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper around the sides should extend above the cake pan (for easy removal after the cake is baked).
- Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F (or 170 degrees C).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk.
- Mix in sugar and place the bowl over a hot water bath to melt the sugar and warm up the mixture to body temperature (the mixture should feel warm, not hot, when touched using a finger).
- Remove the bowl from the hot water bath and beat the egg mixture using an electric hand mixer on high speed until white and fluffy. Then beat on low speed for about a minute to set the texture (this also helps to eliminate large air bubbles).
- Sift in cake flour, little by little, and gently cut through the mixture with a wire whisk until somewhat combined. Repeat with the rest of the flour and mix until evenly combined.
- Using a spatula, sprinkle melted butter over the batter. Quickly lift up the batter using the spatula to mix in the melted butter until evenly combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan like a ribbon from a height of about 30-cm. Pour the remaining batter at the edge of the cake pan (I suppose this is to allow the cake layer to bake and form an even layer and not bulge in the centre).
- Drop the pan lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the batter.
- Place the round cake pan on a baking sheet and bake at the lower rack of the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes (baking time varies across different oven).
- Once baked, remove the parchment paper on the side. Place the cake pan upside down over a wire rack laid with a cutting board with paper towel and cool with the cake pan on top.
- When the cake is completely cooled (remove the parchment paper at the bottom of the cake), wrap the cake with plastic cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours (the cake can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days and assembled when needed).
- In a small bowl, mix hot water and sugar until well dissolved.
- In a large bowl, combine whipping cream with sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Place the bowl over a cold water bath and whisk the cream to soft peak form.
- If not using the cream frosting immediately, cover with cling wrap and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Assembling the cake
- Slice the cake into half crosswise using a serrated knife.
- Gently brush the top surface of the sponge cake with sugar syrup (this helps to keep the cake moist).
- Coat the top surface with the cream frosting and lay strawberries (sliced into half lengthwise) on top of the cream frosting. Coat again with the cream frosting.
- Brush the other layer (sliced side) of the cake with sugar syrup and place the syrup coated side down over the bottom layer of the cake.
- Frost the top (and sides) of the cake with the remaining cream frosting as desired. Garnish with more strawberries.
- Refrigerate the cake for 1 to 2 hours before serving (this helps to cut into the cake easily).
The Dream Baker's Experiment
- The quantities of the ingredients used for the sponge cake in my above recipe is 1.5 times of the original sourced recipe, which is just nice for a 9-inch round cake pan and yields an approximately 1-inch thick cake layer. The original sourced recipe makes an 18-cm (7.1-inch) cake.
- The original sourced recipe suggested 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of rum for the sugar syrup and cream frosting recipes respectively, which I have omitted in my above recipe as I didn't have it.
- I used large eggs weighing approximately 57 grams each (with shell on) for the sponge cake.
- I beat the eggs on speed 4 of my electric hand mixer (which has 5 speed variations) for approximately 15 minutes to achieve the white and fluffy texture.
- I sift in the flour in 3 additions, mixing in a folding fashion until somewhat combined during the first two additions and until well combined after adding the last third of the flour.
- I checked for the doneness of the cake after 20 minutes into the baking time by inserting a toothpick and I removed the cake from the oven immediately thereafter as the toothpick came out clean and the surface of the cake was firm when touched.
This is the bottom layer of the cake (above picture). Trying my best to "squeeze" in as many strawberries as I can so that there will be enough strawberries for every bite! Instead of slicing the cake layer into half crosswise, I baked two 9-inch cakes to form my whole cake as I wanted to have an "exposed" final cake presentation and I felt that a "thicker" cake layer would make the entire cake look "prettier" and more "appetising". Here's a rustically-decorated yet elegantly-presented Strawberry Shortcake (below picture).
I am sharing this post with the event, Little Thumbs Up (June 2014: Butter) organised by Bake For Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY hosted by Jozelyn of Spice Up My Kitchen.
I would also like to share this post with the summer event of Four Seasons Food (June 2014: The Colour Red) organised by Louisa of Eat Your Veg and Anneli of Delicieux hosted by Tina of The Spicy Pear.
Last but not least, I am also sharing this post with the event, Made with Love Mondays, Always fresh, Always from scratch organised by Javelin Warrior of Cookin' w/ Luv .