Cupcakes · Korean food · Recipes

Treat Day: Korean Saeng Cream Cake

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This cake has so many names but at the same time, no name at all. Most people I know call it Saeng Cream Cake (Korean for fresh cream) or if you are in the Ha family, you call it H-Mart cake. Because we buy it at H-Mart. However, it seems like every Asian culture has a different version or name for this light and fluffy slice of heaven. This cake is definitely what my family considers a “special occasion” dessert because it is super expensive at the Asian bakeries! Usually a cake that serves about 8 will run about $30-35!!! Which is why I decided that I would master this delightfully spongey, moist, and light cake. AND I HAVE. Thanks to three hours straight of googling recipes and techniques, I feel confident in posting this recipe to my blog! It was really hard to google because people call this cake so many different things. It’s not like Red Velvet or Hummingbird cake, where it has an official title. However, the components are quite simple. Sponge cake, fruit, and whipped cream (sort of, but more on this later). I thought that this cake was so expensive because it was difficult to make but the fact that it came out perfect on my first try says we have been overpaying for YEARS.

The reason that this cake is such a big deal is because it is not very sweet. I know, that’s not usually the reason someone likes a cake. Hear me out. Asians are kinda weird about sugary sweets. Desserts are not exactly a thing in Korea. Their idea of “sweet” is fruit, red bean paste, and rice cakes. So think of a real Korean person trying a piece of Safeway white dense cake with an inch of fake buttercream frosting. They don’t convert easy. So this cake is just not like American bakery cakes. It is a classic sponge cake that you invert after baking so it has almost an angel food cake like quality, but less sticky. Then you have the fresh fruit, usually strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, and mandarin oranges. Then you have the sweetened whipped cream.

The recipe I used is from EatNowCryLater. Best recipe for this cake I have found and she is the one who discovered the secret behind the whipped cream. Um, can we talk about her blog name for a second? It really works well with the fact that my blog is mostly about healthy living, but that I am posting a cake recipe… So in my defense, sometimes you just need cake. Also, I made this into cupcakes for a friend’s birthday party and a mini 6inch cake for my uncle’s welcome dinner. He is spending three weeks with us here in Washington before going back to Peru where he lives with his family. So I had a couple compelling reasons to bake this weekend and one must sample when trying a new recipe on others!

Also, I just can’t resist posting this recipe and my interpretation of it, as it is incredible and I feel bad for anyone who has not gotten to try Korean Saeng Cream/H-Mart cake.

So lets talk about the frosting for a whole minute/paragraph. I knew going into this that the frosting would be the most difficult aspect to imitate. I have had this cake from a Korean bakery, a Filipino bakery, and a Chinese bakery. The whipped cream is always EXACTLY the same. Perfectly whipped, perfectly smooth, and consistently the taste is identical to the last. Strange right? Nope, they buy it like that. Until I found EatNowCryLater’s blog, I had my suspicions that this frosting was either pre-made or a secret recipe. She confirms on her blog that this sweetened, smooth whipped cream comes in a box, frozen, ready to thaw, and ready to whip. It is basically Cool Whip that you whip yourself. And yeah, the taste is amazing. Not too sweet and pipes super well. It is called Pastry Pride and it is a non-dairy whipped topping that is widely used in bakeries. Please please please don’t ask me what the ingredients are in this stuff. It will ruin it for you. They say you can find it in restaurant supply stores, but the only place I can guarantee is Cash and Carry, as that is where I purchased 3 cartons of it. It keeps in the freezer and you put it in the fridge the day before you want to whip it up. Again, like Cool Whip! It is even in the same aisle 🙂

And yes, of course you could just use heavy whipping cream to make a lightly sweetened, fresh, and natural whipped cream. However, you just aren’t really eating the advertised cake!

This cake will keep for a couple days at least. I actually liked the cake better on the second day. The first day it was super spongey and light, but the second day, it seemed a tiny bit denser. Also, although I prefer cupcakes mainly for comfort of serving, I think the cake version is the way to go as you can’t get as much fruit on the whipped topping of a cupcake without it falling over. If you do not have any aluminium pans though, using cupcake wrappers achieves the same effect as the paper allows the sides of the sponge cake to grip it, achieving max height.

Making this cake also gave me some insight into why Koreans like this cake. There is no waste. The cake bakes flat so there is no slicing off the top dome. My husband didn’t like this so much though. He is used to eating the domed part of my cakes.

SAENG CREAM CAKE/H-MART CAKE/ASIAN FRUIT SPONGE CAKE

Adapted from EatNowCryLater

FOR THE SPONGE CAKE:

  • 8 eggs separated plus 2 more egg whites (8 egg yolks plus 10 egg whites total) Separate the eggs when they are cold and then bring them to room temp.
  • 1 cup plus 2 T. of cake flour (122.5 grams of cake flour)
  • 1 cup of caster sugar (see instructions for using granulated to make caster sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 2 T of orange juice (no pulp and not from concentrate) plus 3/4 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (no substitutions)
  • 2 UNGREASED aluminum layer cake pans (8 or 9 in springform is best) OR 1 UNGREASED (2 piece) aluminum tube pan or 36 CUPCAKE LINERS

For the simple syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

For the frosting:

Either whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tsps of vanilla OR thaw Pastry Pride in your fridge for about 24 hours. Then whip it like you would heavy whipping cream until it is at a consistency that will hold for piping.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Separate your egg whites and yolks and set whites aside until they are about room temperature. I cheated a little and set the bowl inside another bowl of warm water.

2. Pour 1 cup of sugar into food processor and let it run for 30 seconds to create a fine granulated sugar (caster sugar). I used my Magic Bullet. This should become powdery and very fine. Set aside.

3. Take your cake flour and salt and sift over a large piece of parchment paper. Then, lift the parchment paper and pour it back into a sieve fitted over a large mixing bowl and sift again. The paper makes it easy to move the flour back into the bowl. Continue process 3 more times! This should be 6 total as you will sift over the paper and then sift back into the bowl. Set aside.

4. Mix your 1/2 cup of oil, 2 TB of water, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 TB of orange juice together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

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5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Beat your egg yolks with the caster sugar until it’s pale yellow. Thick ribbon like streaks should be falling off of the beater back into your bowl. Set aside.

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7. Beat your egg whites until foamy. Add in your cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks. Switch to a balloon wire whisk and whisk by hand until stiff peaks. This is important. It is more work but overwhipping can happen in seconds with an electric beater.

8. Take your reserved oil mixture, give it a little stir, and then add it into your EGG YOLKS MIXTURE. Once mixed in, whisk in your flour mixture, a little at a time.

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9. Once the egg yolks and flour are fully incorporated, take your wire whisk and CAREFULLY fold in a little bit of your beaten egg whites and continue this with the rest of the egg whites. Work quickly and use as little strokes as possible. It’s okay if you see tiny streaks of white. Don’t waste too much time on that.

10. Pour the batter into UNGREASED layer cake pans or tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. An aluminum springform pan really works best as it can be difficult to get the bottom of the cake out. For cupcakes, bake for 15 minutes. My 6 inch cake took about 30 minutes as I only baked it as one layer. 

11. Once done, run a sharp paring knife around the rim of the cake layers and then remove and invert cakes upside down to cool down on cooling racks IMMEDIATELY and as quickly as you can. The tops of the cupcakes might stick a little bit to the rack, but as they cool, there was no problem with them coming right off completely intact.

SIMPLE SYRUP: In a small saucepan over medium high heat, boil 1/2 of water with 1/2 of sugar until it reduces to about half. It will start to thicken up slightly and it will change color. Pour mixture into a bowl over an ice bath and stir until thickened like syrup. The longer you leave it on there, the thicker it will get. Once to your liking, remove from ice bath and set in fridge until ready to use.

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING: Whip up Pastry Pride and refrigerate until ready to use. Pastry Pride, once liquiefied cannot be re-frozen, but you can freeze it whipped up. I was worried about the cupcakes I made not holding for transportation to the birthday party so I frosted them, then popped them in the freezer so they would freeze a little. They thawed beautifully on the way to the party in the cooler in my trunk. 

Decorating: 

  1. Using a pastry brush, brush simple syrup on your cake layers or cupcakes
  2. Slice up fruit so that you can arrange them on top and between the cake layers. I prefer to spread whipped cream on the layer, then arrange strawberry slices onto it before adding the next cake layer.
  3. Once your cakes have cooled, take a serrated knife and cut lengthwise into each one. Take your fruit filling and begin to assemble your cakes, one layer at a time. Frost the tops and sides and decorate with fresh fruit/berries of your choice. Drizzle the tops of the fruit with the simple syrup. Place in fridge until ready to indulge!

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15 thoughts on “Treat Day: Korean Saeng Cream Cake

  1. I have such a new perspective and respect on H Mart cake. When you blog, I see my life flash before me. I see vivid memories of H Mart cake and I can see your little brain working out all the details! And your cake was seriously just as amazing as H Mart cake. Prob better bc it was cheaper 🙂

  2. Aw thanks sis 🙂 and yes it was like 20 bucks cheaper: so we are never buying it again in other words.
    Koreans ripping Koreans off… What a scary world it is becoming

  3. Hi! I just made this cake and it turned out perfect! But did you have any problems with getting the cake out of the pan? It was very hard! How long did you have it upside down? It was the perfect texture though! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello! I am so glad you made this 🙂 I am itching to make it for another special occasion. Yes it is tough because the whole point of the pan is that it sticks to the batter! I really felt like I needed to “cut” it out of the pan with a small sharp paring knife. I figured that since I was going to slather it in whipped cream, that as long as it stayed in one piece, I was happy. I left it upside down until it was completely cooled. About an hour I think! Thanks for making and commenting here. It is really nice to know that people might benefit from a post I share!

  4. So my first attempt was to see if I could get the texture of the sponge cake down. And I really did have to rip that cake off the pan! Lol I’ll be making the cake and decorating it for my sisters bday Sunday! Thanks again for all your helpful tips. The bullet did the job for the sugar! Yay!

    1. Is it okay? Cause I went to the other website, eatnowcrylater, and it says to use an aluminum and make sure it isn’t a non stick….please help

      1. So if your only option is a non stick pan, I would not use any oil or anything on it before you pour in the batter! You risk the cake not rising beautifully though! My suggestion is to make cupcakes in paper liners instead! If you are determined to do a cake, I recommend baking the cake in several pans (like 3 9 in round pans). That way it doesn’t have to rise too much. Make sure to flip the pans over after baking to help them stay airy. You may have a hard time getting the cake out of the pan so a somewhat small piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, in the middle, would help with that.

  5. If I make cupcakes, how many could this batter make? And would the cream also match the amount of cupcakes?

    I have these http://mobile.kohls.com/product/prd-2320375/t-fal-3-pc-spring-form-cake-pan-set.jsp?ci_mcc=ci&utm_campaign=EC%20FOOD%20PREP&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=google&utm_product=30902324&CID=shopping15&gclid=CKbq1_G4ws4CFQYPaQodwIUNVA&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CMfUh_S4ws4CFZVFAQodx_kDig
    If I used the two smallest ones, cut the bigger one so it matches the size of the small one, would it work? It would be different widths, but I think I will be okay with it, as long as if it will be able to rise.

    Sorry, I have to make some soon for an occasion, but I don’t have the budget to get new materials, I’m still a teen 😅

    And when you blended the sugar, was it caster sugar to make it into granulated sugar?? I have the sugar cane granulated sugar, but it isn’t fine…

    And when you talked about the pan, not using oil on it before, does that mean not to put the oil in too? To the cake..

    Sorry for asking so many questions 😥

    Thank you so much!

    1. OH YEAH, I AM SO SORRY, but can I use a substitute for the cake flour?
      To make two cups of cake-and-pastry flour (cake flour), combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch; proceed with your recipe. The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tbsp of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with all-purpose flour and level top.
      I have the organic unbleaches all purpose flour…

  6. Hi! No problem, I don’t mind questions at all 🙂 But I am going to backtrack a little and change my mind now that I am really thinking about it!

    1. Instead of using different sized pans, since you are using springform, go ahead and put the entire batter into one. I suggest the 10 inch pan. Ignore what I said about using the other pans or putting parchment paper in. Since it is springform, you won’t have a huge problem getting the cake out so just pour the cake batter straight into the dry pan. Don’t oil the sides or bottom of the pan. Don’t take the oil out of the cake batter, it needs it. Not oiling the pan will allow the cake to cling to the sides better. You won’t get the same lift that an aluminum pan will give you though so be ready for that! The only concern is that when you go to flip the cake upside down, it will fall right out of the cake pan because it is nonstick. If this happens, just go ahead and leave the cake upside down until it cools.

    2. If you were to make all cupcakes, you should get about 36 cupcakes. This is the route I would recommend if I were you since you are more likely to get a successful rise. You should make about 2 cups (unwhipped) of the Pastry Pride so that you have enough frosting for the cupcakes. Same for heavy whipping cream, if that is what you are using.

    3. As for the sugar, you are taking granulated sugar and turning it into caster sugar. I think this is a pretty important step because the sugar becomes pretty fine, but NOT as powdery as confectioners/powdered sugar. If you have a blender or food processor that you can make it in, I highly recommend you try.

    4. Fahrenheit! Sorry, I always forget to include that 🙂

    5. Yes, go ahead and substitute for the cake flour with the AP flour/cornstarch mix. Make sure you measure the flour accurately, using the scoop and level method if you can’t measure in grams.

    Also, if you are looking for a cake recipe that is white, light and spongy and that is more suited to the materials you already have, Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake is one of my FAVORITE and most used recipes. http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/2093

    If you have any more questions, you can also email me directly at mmh407@gmail.com 🙂 I am more than happy to help!

    1. Okay, if i were able to buy a pan, what would you recommend? Something not really expensive?
      And I think I will only be able to cook one layer at a time if i buy a new cake pan…

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