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Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe

Updated on December 13, 2013

Japanese Christmas cakes are traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve in Japan. They are sponge cake, frosted with whipped cream and are often decorated with strawberry toppings or other seasonal fruits.

It is not difficult to buy a Christmas cake in Japan because this is a very basic cake for every bakeries. And if you want to bring a gift for someone you do not know their taste, just choose a Christmas cake, as it will surely please them.


Sponge Cake:

- 60g melted butter.

- 70g cake flour

- 1/4 tsp salt.

- 3 eggs.

- 100g sugar

- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.


- 500 ml whipping cream.

- 40-60g powdered sugar.

- 450g strawberries.

- 50g white sugar.


- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), line the bottom of the cake pan and the side with parchment paper.

- Fill a large bowl with hot water, set aside.

- Put the eggs in a large bowl and beat them with a hand mixer at low speed. Add the sugar and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.

- Place the bowl over the large bowl with hot water, continue to beat the eggs at high speed until it becomes light yellow, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

- Sift flour, holding the sieve nice and high above the bowl to get plenty of air into the flour as it goes down into the bowl, into the egg mixture. Use a whisk to gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.

- When all the flour is mixed in, pour the melted butter evenly over the batter. Continue to whisk gently until the batter is smooth.

- Pour the batter in lined pan and gently tap the pan to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 300° F and continue to bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

- Remove cake from oven and grasping the parchment on both sides of the pan and lift the cake out, carefully remove parchment and place on wire rack to cool.

- While the cake is cooling, prepare the soaking syrup. Dissolve the sugar in hot water and let it cool.

- Select 8 good-looking strawberries for toppings, remove the stem ends. Slice the rest of the strawberries into half inch slices.

- To prepare the whipped cream, add sugar to the whipping cream in a bowl. Dip the bowl in ice water and use a whisk to whip the cream. Whip until at soft peak.

- Slice the cake in half as evenly as possible, place the upper cake slice on a plate. Brush the bottom cake slice with soaking syrup. Repeat with the other half.

- Layer a very thin layer of whipped cream on top of the bottom cake slice. Cover the cream layer with the sliced strawberries. Place another layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries and spread evenly. Place the upper cake slice on top with the syrup-soaked side facing down.

- Brush the top of the sponge cake with soaking syrup. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream evenly on top of the sponge cake. Use the remaining cream to spread along the sides.

- Decorate the cake with strawberries and Christmas ornaments however you like. Store the cake in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours for best flavor and appearance.

Fun fact

In Japan, women had traditionally been expected to marry at a young age and those who were unmarried after the age of 25 were sometimes scornfully referred to as Christmas cakes (unsold after the 25th). The term first became popular during the 1980s but has since become passé because contemporary Japanese women often remain unmarried without stigmatization. (Source, Wikipedia.)

Where did Christmas Cake come from?

Nowadays, it is essential to have a Christmas Cake in Japan when it comes to Christmas. There is a very severe sales battle every year. However, A Christmas Cake became common for Japanese is thought to be after 1970’s.

It is thought that Hujiya made the first Christmas Cake in Japan. According to the website of Hujiya, the first one was simple and made in 1910. It was just a plum cake decorated with fondant and silver balls. Hujiya started selling a shortcake in 1922 and from this time, the Christmas Cake was gradually changing from a fruitcake to a shortcake.

Christmas became an event broadly cerebrated in Japan was around 1965 and from that time, Christmas Cake started showing up on a family dining table. However, it was still a little unusual for Japanese in those days so in fact it generalized after 1970.

At first, the main form of Christmas Cake was sponged with butter cream but there comes out more kinds of cakes rapidly such as with chocolate cream, fresh cream, or whole sponge covered with ice cream. There are more kinds in the shop nowadays. (Source, Japan-society.)

2.5 stars from 6 ratings of Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe


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    • profile image

      Takako 3 weeks ago

      This recipe did not work and is confusing.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Really love your photos! Cake looks delicious.