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.)
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!
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