Ichigo Daifuku Cake

“Ichi-go Ichi-e”

This Japanese phrase has grown to mean a lot to me.  It literally means “one time, one meeting.”  In other words, you don’t get moments back.  This chance is your chance… your chance to start a conversation, to ask a question, to pick up a lucky penny from the street, even though people are watching.  This is your chance to try that new recipe that you’ve been eyeing.  Who knows, maybe the moment will grow into something more.  In short, take all the chances that you encounter, and regret nothing.

Adding to my “punny” delight, the word ichigo in Japanese also means “strawberry.”  One strawberry, one meeting.  Words to live by; savor that strawberry!  Ichigo daifuku is a Japanese treat: a strawberry covered in red bean paste, with a thin outer layer of mochi.  It was one of my favorite snacks to pick up while I lived in Japan.  It’s healthy-ish!

This cake is inspired by ichigo daifuku.  It’s three layers of strawberry cake laden with strawberry puree, covered in whipped cream, with layers of red bean paste and mochi bits in between the cake.  The cake is decorated with strawberry cut-outs.  I made the mochi and purchased the ready-to-eat red bean paste.  Scroll down for the recipe!

Fun fact, this cake plummeted to the floor shortly after the conclusion of my photo shoot.  I guess that I got a little too confident carrying it to the fridge… what can I say, ichigo, ichie.  It was beautiful while it lasted!

in-between layer detail… spread on a thick layer of red bean paste.
Add bite-sized bits of homemade mochi for extra chewiness.


Strawberry Cake



  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cover inside of 5 inch baking pan with butter.
  2. Place 4 large strawberries into a blender, and blend until smooth.  For a smoother cake, strain out the seeds.  I chose to leave them in for more texture.  Set the puree aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the egg, white sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and strawberry puree until well combined.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and red food coloring (only if you want) to reach a desired shade of pink. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cake has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Allow cake to cool before frosting.  Torte the cake into three layers.

Whipped Cream (For Frosting)


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar


  1. Place mixing bowl in the freezer and allow to chill for ten minutes.  It is important for the bowl to be cold.
  2. Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla and confectioners sugar.
  3. Continue whipping just until incorporated, then stop. If you over-whip, the cream will develop a butter-like consistency.



  • 1 cup rice flour, aka “mochiko” (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Mix the rice flour, sugar, and water together.
  2. Cook the rice flour mixture in the microwave for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
  3. Stir rice flour mixture and heat for another 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Roll mixture into small balls.  Dust with extra rice flour to prevent stickiness.

Assembly: Stack cake with layers of red bean paste and mochi bits in between the strawberry cake.  Frost cake with a thin layer of whipped cream for a naked finish.  Use cookie cutters to punch out strawberry shapes and use these to decorate the top of the cake.