Saeng cream cake (생크림 케이크) means fresh cream cake in Korean. It’s layers of sponge cake wrapped in layers of whipped cream frosting and fruit and topped with more frosting and fruit. This style of cake is ubiquitous throughout Korea, Japan and China. If you google the term “Chinese Bakery Cake,” you’ll see what I mean.
I used approximately 3 oz. of Vanilla extract in this recipe. If you don’t like vanilla, you can replace it with almond, orange, lemon, or rose water.
There are three parts to this recipe: simple syrup, cake batter and frosting.
First, make the simple syrup, which is simple to make yet has complex flavor.
Simple sugar syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 of a lemon
1 oz. (standard shot glass) of Madagascar vanilla extract (added separately)
- Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon (remove the seeds) in a saucepan.
- Heat to boiling.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Stir in Madagascar vanilla extract and set aside.
Second, bake your sponge cake. (Or buy one at the store. After all, most Koreans buy their sponge cakes at the store too. But if you want to bake your own, here’s a recipe for butter sponge cake to try. I ended up baking two so I’d have a two layer cake.
Butter sponge cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk, scalded
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add butter and vanilla to scalded milk and keep hot.
- Beat egg yolks till thick and lemon colored; gradually beat in sugar.
- Quickly add flour mixture; stir just till mixed.
- Gently stir in the hot milk mixture.
- Bake in a greased 9-inch-square, 2-inch-high pan in a moderate-heat oven (350 degrees F) for 30 to 35 minutes or till done.
- Cool thoroughly. (Do not invert the pan.)
Third, make the frosting.
Whipped cream frosting
3 cups (750 cc) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (250 cc) granulated sugar (optional)
Madagascar vanilla extract to taste (approximately 2 ounces)
- In a chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream on high speed with an electric mixer using a whisk attachment.
- When cream begins to thicken, add vanilla extract and the optional 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar if desired.
- Continue to beat on high speed until fully whipped.
Fourth, assemble the cake.
- Trim off any brown bits from the sponge cake.
- Slice the cake into three layers with a serrated knife.
- Remove the two top layers and set them aside
- Brush the surface of the bottom layer with the sugar syrup. This is for flavor and a little moisture. Do not make it sopping wet.
- Frost the layer with some whipped topping and add a layer of your favorite fruit. (I used strawberries because they’re in season.)
- Put the second layer on and brush it with the syrup, frosting and fruit.
- Set the last layer at the top, brush it with the syrup then coat it with the frosting.
- Frost around the edges of the cake to cover up those layers and any imperfections in baking or layer-cutting.
- Top the cake with the remaining fruit.
- Put the remaining frosting into a pastry bag (or a zip-seal bag with the corner snipped off) and decorate the cake with a flourish. Or you can do what I did and simply smear the frosting on the sides and cover it all the way around with diced fruit.
A video of the recipe is available here. Don’t mind the Korean; you will pick up the gist of it by watching closely. The saeng cream cake is the second half of the video; the first half shows how to make pecan pie. Think of it as “two for the price of one.”
Posted by Tammy
Editor’s note: I double checked, and there are two ways to spell saeng 생 in hangeul. The most common form is “생,” or “saeng,” but it can also be spelled “쌩,” or “ssaeng.” But that latter spelling also means “whistling.”