These gorgeous decorated roll cakes have been made famous by Japanese food blogger, Junko. I looked for a long time on line to find a recipe that wasn’t in the USA cup sizes, or was in fact, in English at all (lots of Japanese recipes out there). In the end, I gave up and ordered Junko’s book which has recently been translated into English – it’s on Amazon.com (the US version). I’ve made a few adaptations here and there so I thought it would be useful to give Junko’s version of how to make Kawaii Deco Roll Cake with my adaptations of more readily available ingredients.
The biggest problem was getting hold of Cake Flour (it’s lower in protein and gluten than regular flour) and while you can make your own adaptation of it (just Google for it), I wanted the real thing and found it easily on Ebay. Japanese Deco Roll Cakes are really, really fiddly to make so you need to be in a relaxed mood with plenty of time available.
Junko has her strawberry Japanese Deco Roll Cakes with 15 individual steps – I cut out the final three. She suggests that you put all ingredients ready measured into individual bowls and I’d highly recommend that you do although you will have bowls everywhere.
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4 Eggs (divide into 1 white in one bowl, three whites in one bowl and 3 yolks in another bowl – use the fourth yolk for something else)
65g of caster sugar
40ml vegetable oil (or 2 ¾ tablespoons) – I used sunflower
80g cake flour
½ teaspoon of cake flour kept separately
1 teaspoon cornflour
Start by whisking your 3 egg yolks with a beater and add in half the sugar. Wait til it turns a light colour and then add water, oil and vanilla (Junko is particular you do it in that order). Once it’s all mixed up, add the sifted flour.
Once you’ve done that, you need to focus on your pattern. I started by drawing strawberry shapes on baking parchment, on the non-slippy side. But, I wasn’t happy with the shapes, so I used the silicone sheet that I bought from Etsy (HERE) with Junko’s already printed designs. If you check on line, there are printable patterns that you can trace onto parchment.. it was a bit ambitious of me to think I could free-style it first time around… but if you can draw, you should have no problem with this.
Add one teaspoon of the egg yolk mix and stir in half a teaspoon of flour. Add your food colouring and put more than you think you need. During the bake, the colour fades so if you want nice, bright, jolly strawberries, you need to put in a slightly stronger colour.
Whisk one of the egg whites, and mix it in with your teaspoon of egg, and half teaspoon of flour. Don’t worry about keeping it meringue-y – it doesn’t need to be. At this stage, add a pinch of corn flour (I didn’t have any so I left this bit out and nothing terrible happened). I bought ready-made piping bags (from Sainsburys) where you just snip the end off. I’d recommend sitting down to pipe because you need to have a steady hand. Put your parchment into a shallow tin (they suggest 10 x 10 but they’re impossible to find so I used what I have which is roughly 10 x 12 tin) Create your pink blobs by outlining first and then filling in. They can be in a random pattern but if you’re using parchment paper, pipe on the slippy side (you have drawn on the non-slippy side, so flip the paper over) and before you do it, drop a little oil onto a piece of kitchen roll and wipe the slippy surface with it so are absolutely sure there is no sticking.
Your oven needs to be heated to 170C (or 340F). Once you’ve finished your piping, you pop the tin into the oven for one minute.
Take your strawberry blobs out. Whisk up the remaining 3 egg whites and add to the yolk mix, gently folding til there are no lumps of white showing. Pour this entire mix over the strawberry blobs and put back in the oven for 14 minutes. You don’t want it to be too brown, so if yours starts to brown, test it by putting the tip of a knife into the cake and if it comes out clean with no mix on it, it’s ready and you can take it out.
Once out of the oven, put a cake rack over the tin, flip the whole thing over so that the pattern side is on top on the rack. Peel off the parchment or silicone sheet and then immediately cover over with the parchment again to stop the roll cracking.
Wait ten minutes or so, and then flip the cake back over so that the decoration is on the underside. At this stage, I tidied up the cake by cutting away any wobbly edges so that I had a tidy rectangle. Whip up some whipping cream, and when it’s stiff, chuck in the rest of the caster sugar and beat it in. Turn it onto the cake and spread evenly. You can use any fruit – I used blackberries – but you need to line up the fruit in three rows evenly spaced and horizontally from end to end. Now, it’s time to roll! Using the parchment, roll the cake as tightly as you can. Immediately put it in the fridge, still in the parchment for about an hour.
You can now start to paint your blobs so they actually look like strawberries. Junko suggest using black cocoa powder and matcha tea to create the colours, but I used 1 teaspoon of granulated coffee with a tiny drop of boiled water to create a thick coffee paste, and then some green food colouring. Peel away the parchment and put the cake on a plate or board before you begin.
Using a cocktail stick dipped in the coffee mix, I randomly dabbed the little dark pips on, and then with a Barry M make-up angled lining brush (sorry, Barry M!), I used green food colouring gel to do the leaves. They’re not entirely accurate but did transform the blobs into something resembling strawberries.
Junko suggests making a sugar syrup with some Kirsch once it’s cooled and basting this over the cake but I didn’t bother. You might need to tidy up the ends using a sharp knife.
This recipe makes a very light cake.. it’s also very sweet with the sugared cream, but absolutely delicious. Although Junko suggests different recipes for different patterns, I will stick with this one for all decos I think. Double and treble layered designs are more complicated as each individual part of the pattern needs a seperate one minute bake. Til I’ve given that a go, you’re on your own there! I’m doing rabbits next.
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