Homemade birthday cake! (aka Japanese strawberry shortcake)

When I was last in Toronto, I visited a Chinese bakery. We actually do so every time we’re in Toronto, usually to pick up some buns for the road trip back home. This past visit, I saw the typical Chinese birthday cake in the display case: the chiffon cake with whipped cream filling and topping and a variety of fruit. It was around $20 for an 8″ cake and I swear, I was *this* close to buying it and driving it back to Ottawa because I love these cakes and there is no proper Chinese bakery in this city that sells a good cake. So ever since I saw that cake in the display case and didn’t get to eat it, I’ve been craving it. And that is how I came to search the internet for a recipe to make it myself.

I used this recipe as it was the only one that I could find that had normal measurements of ingredients. I figured that the key to this cake would be to make the meringue properly, beating the egg whites until truly stiff peaks formed, so I took 20 minutes to get stiff peaks and tried not to deflate the meringue by over mixing when it is added to the rest of the cake mixture.

The cake actually turned out pretty well. Because I only had a 10″ springform pan (instead of the 8″ the recipe calls for), I was worried that the cake would turn out too shallow…but it actually turned out just perfect. The wider diameter did make it more challenging to do the lateral slice to fill the cake with whipped cream and strawberries but once the whole thing is assembled and the outside is smothered in whipped cream, you can hardly tell that my lateral slice was lopsided. I’ll definitely have to work on getting a nice smooth spread of whipped cream on the outside of the cake; as my friend pointed out, the reasons why the bakeries have a smooth outside spread is because they use a lazy susan and an inch of whipped cream!

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Sliced cake

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So I’m still happy to pay $15-$20 to buy this cake pre-made at a good Chinese bakery, but I can actually make it myself now too! It probably took about 3 hours total (including baking time and assembly time), with 20 minutes going to whipping the meringue and another 15 minutes going to whipping the cream. A stand mixer would make things more efficient…as would buying whipped topping instead of 35%MF heavy whipping cream!

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