Interview: How Strawberry Shortcake was created
Interviewer: I wanted to talk to both of you guys about the strawberry shortcake. Why do you think the strawberry shortcake is the most popular menu item?
Chef Misuzu: I think it’s because of its color. People love anything with an awesome red and white like some kind of intuition. I think most of the cake’s colors are red and white. It’s always number one. So we showcase it in front.
Chef Mike: I think it’s a familiarity with it. Like a lot of people like Americans, Japanese and everybody kind of knows strawberries. It’s a familiar fruit, I know chocolates are pretty familiar as well, but there are a lot of people who just always think chocolate will be really heavy, you know, more about when it’s like a strawberry shortcake. You think of that’s a little bit lighter, but like the fruit fresher.
Interviewer: Excellent. What do you think makes your strawberry shortcake different from a typical strawberry shortcake?
Chef Mike: Especially from the American style perspective. It’s a lot lighter. Usually, we use more of a pound cake, a little bit heavier, like sweet frosting with various things, whereas we use a wider sponge and the wider whipped cream.
Interviewer: I like that. Can you go into a little bit of the differences? When you say lighter, what does that mean between what are you comparing it to? Like American style to Japanese style, or is it Japanese style and your own style that you’ve also added to it?
Chef Misuzu: I think that an American strawberry shortcake is usually either biscuit type cakes or pancake type cakes, which are more buttery and heavier, and it pictures the sweetness, not much air in it. I like that style too, but the cream is also an American style which is more like a buttercream, they use heavier buttercreams. Compared to them, we use fresher whipped cream, which makes it a lot lighter so that the buttercream will be very dense and buttery that matches the sour cream like whipped cream. So it has less fat which makes it fluffier. And I also like the contrast of strawberries’ sweetness. The cream is light, cold, and very easy to melt in your mouth. The sponge cake is sweet, so it’s like all the different things picturing the taste together in your mouth. In contrast, the American styles are, they are heavier and creamier.
Interviewer: That’s amazing. How did you develop the recipe for the strawberry shortcake?
Chef Misuzu: I think it started with one, I try many recipes that I could find, then try those mini recipes from other people. Then I kind of pick some points from each recipe that I liked and combine them. And trying to understand why I like these points. From there, I think I just keep making to realize what I like. Since I can only know what I like, I’m trying to get to the point that I like. For example, I don’t like this paste on the top, so I’ll have to get rid of it. And then I’ll try to decrease the amount of sugar or decrease fat. Sometimes it doesn’t work, so I would pause it. Finding out what doesn’t work. And then slowly, I adjust ingredients such as fat, sugar, flour, water contents. After you play so much with the same ingredients only for eggs, flour, sugar, and butter, that’s all for a cake. So these four key ingredients like the sponge cake make this fun strawberry cake. I find what I like or I hear lots of people’s opinions, people tell me what’s good and not really great so that I can improve.
Interviewer: Perfect. That’s amazing. Thank you so much. Okay. I think we’ve got enough content here. Thank you to both of you.