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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Using a pastry brush, brush simple syrup on your cake layers or cupcakes
- 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.
- 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!