A Strawberry-Filled Christmas in Japan


Why are Japanese Christmas cakes made with strawberries?

The prototype was Fujiya’s shortcake.

In 1920, Christmas cake started to be sold in Japan.
Sold since 1922, the shortcake was made with fruit juice or fruit in syrup. This shortcake is said to be the prototype for the strawberry cake that has become the Christmas cake.

Red and white are festive colors

The combination of red and white is traditionally used for celebratory occasions in Japan. It is said that red and white were used to color the cake to celebrate Christmas.

The image of Santa Claus and white snow

Some people believe that the red strawberries represent Santa Claus and the pure white whipped cream represents a snowy landscape.

Improvement of strawberry cultivation techniques

Originally, strawberries were in season in early summer, but greenhouse cultivation has made it possible to grow strawberries all year round. Strawberry farmers want their customers to enjoy strawberries in winter as well.

The History of Christmas Cake in Japan

The existing “Fujiya” sweets shop opened a confectionery in Yokohama in 1910, and began selling Christmas cakes in December of that year, which was the beginning of the Christmas cake in Japan.
The base was a fruitcake baked with plenty of dried fruit and Western liquor. It is then covered with a sugar coating and decorated with arazan. No whipped cream was used.

Reproduction of the original Fujiya Christmas cake when it was first released
Photo by Fujiya

There were no fridges in Japan at that time. It could not be preserved and was very expensive, so the cake was reportedly made special with plenty of sweetness.

In 1922, the company began selling shortcakes. By this time, Christmas cakes had become popular among the common people. Butter cream was the mainstream, but it was arranged in many ways with fruit juices, chocolate flavored cream, fruits and fruits in syrup.

There is no record of when Fujiya started using strawberries in its cakes, but they were already on sale in 1933.

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