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Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe

Today, the Japanese have embraced the Christmas holiday whether or not it has religious significance to them. It is a relatively new custom and not nearly as revered as New Year’s Day, but most Japanese still enjoy Christmas as a day to lavish gifts upon loved ones and gather together to eat together.

This fruit-topped cake is a popular dessert choice for Christmas, perhaps because the colorful fruits look like the multi-colored sparkling holiday lights. This round sponge cake is slightly different from the Japanese Kasutera (Castella) sponge cake. The latter uses no fat or oil while this sponge cake has a bit of butter.

Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup cake flour

Topping and Filling:
2 pints heavy whipping cream
8 Tbsp. superfine sugar
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 Tbsp. water
Fresh fruits such as strawberries and raspberries
Canned fruits such as sliced peaches and mandarin oranges

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until light colored. Gradually add in sugar, salt, water and vanilla. Mix in flour until well combined.

Lighten the egg batter by adding a large scoopful of the whipped egg whites and stirring until blended. Then, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour this into an ungreased 9Etube pan and bake in 325 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.

Invert onto a bottle and cool completely before removing by running a knife around the perimeter.

For Topping and Filling: Chill beaters and bowl in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Place 4 Tbsp. of water in a small saucepan and sprinkle on 2 tsp. of unflavored gelatin. Allow the gelatin to absorb water for ten minutes. Then, stir this mixture over low heat until completely dissolved. Cool. Beat the heavy whipping cream with the superfine sugar until the mixture begins to have some body. Pour in the cooled but not hardened gelatin mixture and continue to beat until soft peaks form. This step will keep the whipped cream from “weepingEand melting off the cake.

To assemble the cake: Split the cake in half horizontally. Fill with sweetened whipped cream. Replace the top. Frost with remaining whipped cream. Then, artfully arrange the fruits on the top. Refrigerate until serving time.

Don’t forget to present your Japanese Christmas Cake with a cheery “Kurisumasu Omedeto!E

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