Naked Gluten Free Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe

In Japan, on Christmas Eve, they traditionally serve Christmas cake, made of sponge cake, covered in whipped cream and topped with strawberries. Sometimes it was decorated with chocolate or Santa Clause. It was a symbol of Western modernity and a high social status as they were expensive. Since it’s inception, these cakes have become affordable. They are also available in multiple variations, not just whipped cream and strawberries. I knew nothing about this tradition until Julie asked me for a sponge cake recipe so that one of her sons could make a gluten free Japanese Christmas Cake covered in Cool Whip for school. I forwarded her my Recipe for Gluten Free Sponge Cake.

Julie was one of my recent gluten-free recipe testers for my upcoming cookbook, Carla’s 125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes. She has two high-functioning autistic sons. (Per Julie, it stands for, “Always Unique Totally Intelligent and Super Mysterious.)

Julie’s sons are both super fussy about what they eat. She said they would often only eat sweets, and even then it had to taste incredible. I can’t imagine how Julie does what she does. However, she said they began eating most of what she made during the recipe testing. They were extremely excited to be part of the testing and grading the recipes, but more importantly, ate them and raved about them. Her son, Chandler, is 10 years old and made the cake you see in the below photo. (I think it’s a single layer cake.)

Gluten Free Japanese Christmas Cake

Meanwhile, thanks to Chandler, I learned about a Japanese Christmas tradition. I had to bake one myself! However, I broke tradition, and made a naked cake (no frosting on the sides). Thank you, Chandler, for the inspiration! I learned something new!


Naked Gluten Free Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe


Yield: Serves 8 - 10

Naked Gluten Free Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe

A moist, gluten free Japanese Christmas cake made in its traditional style, filled with a thick layer of sturdy whipped cream, topped with strawberries.



  1. Follow the instructions in the above link to make 2 layers of sponge cake.
  2. While the cakes cool, make the sweetened whipped cream and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Place one cake layer, flat side up, on a plate. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream on top. Cover with another cake layer, flat side down. Top with a thin layer of whipped cream, and arrange sliced strawberries on top of the whipped cream.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (To prevent plastic wrap from touching the whipped cream, place toothpicks or skewers on poking out of the top before covering. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh mint or whatever you have on hand that is green. I've used basil when in a pinch.


*To use frozen strawberries, you'll need to coat the slices with strawberry gel. I found some at Raley's (my local chain grocery store). However, you can also warm a little jelly or jam and thin with a tiny bit of water (just enough to create a glaze coating). Allow to cool completely. Baste the strawberries with the gel or cool glaze.

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3 Replies to “Naked Gluten Free Japanese Christmas Cake Recipe”

  1. I should have doubled or tripled it, but I made one for a missions dinner at church. We had people who came home from serving in Tokyo. It was not nearly enough for the amount of people who were eating the meal. I would definitely make this again.

  2. The link to the sponge cake recipe states it’ll make one 10 inch round or 4 mini rounds. Do I need to double the recipe in order to make two 8 or 9 inch rounds for a double layer Japanese Christmas Cake?

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