Have you ever heard about a Korean cake? Not Korean’s popular rice cake, but a real cream cake that is often used for birthdays! It’s a food trend these days, where the cakes mostly appear in a “minimalist” shape, unlike the usual sizes of cake, but it lacks the typical creative design of what a birthday cake should’ve been. However, the less arty-crafty is exchanged for the delicious flavor of this cake.
Korean minimalist cake
Because this cake is minimalist and sized about two-by-four-inch, weighing about 300-350 grams, it is also called Bento cakes or Lunchbox cakes. They are pretty and can be shared per person to maintain hygiene, especially during this pandemic era, where celebrations are usually smaller due to many restrictions. This cake can be an ideal option because of those conditions. Not only it’s much more hygienic with less sharing, and we can easily take it everywhere without having any difficulties like how large cake does.
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The trend of such cakes was first seen in Korea; hence many also call them Korean cake. This cake is called a “cake on the go” or “no-share cake”. Thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop and K-Drama these days, the trend of Korean cakes boomed up in no time. No wonder it happened since these cakes have those minimal aesthetic designs, dream-like color palettes, and vintage flourishes. Either you’re a cake lover or a Korean culture lover, you don’t want to miss this fancy cake!
Its other name is “bento cake”
This minimalist Korean cake is also called “bento cake”. Bento means lunch box, originated from Japan during the Kamakura period in the 12th century, where their cooked and dried rice were carried to work. During the 16th century, people started to use wooden lacquered lunch boxes for these meals. Bentos continued to be used in Japan and continued spreading to neighboring countries like China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Because the shape of these cakes is small, sized around 3-4 inches (7.6-10.2 cm) in diameter, and easy to carry for one person, hence the name bento cake. This cake is also called a minimalist cake, thanks to its mini size and simple designs.
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Adorable and aesthetically pleasing
With the trend of minimalist and aesthetic kinds of stuff, the Korean cake can surely fulfill all of those yearnings. Because of their simple appearance using minimal decorations such as pearls, handwritten greetings, and pastel colors, they look specifically pleasing to the eye and give adorable vibes, making them perfect for any gifts; congratulation birthday gift, or even anniversary gift. They are very “instagrammable” and are mentioned as the minimalist cakes where less is more.
How to make a Korean Bento Cake
To make a perfect Korean bento cake, there are two ways of making them that you can choose which you’ll prefer more, but first, we will list up the ingredients you’ll be needing. It might take quite a long time to prepare this cake; for the preparation, you need about 1 hour and 40 minutes for the cooking time. It will be ready in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
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For the cake:
– 1 Packed cup of all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp of baking powder
– Pinch of salt
– ½ cup of granulated sugar
– 6 tbs of brown butter at room temperature, solid
– 1 tsp vanilla
– ¼ cup of light brown sugar
– 2 large eggs at room temperature
– ½ cup of milk
For the syrup:
– ¼ cup of sugar
– ¼ cup of water
– Boil both until the sugar is dissolved
For the frosting:
– 3 large egg whites
– 1 cup of granulated sugar
– ¾ cup of unsalted butter
– 1 tsp of vanilla extract
– Pinch of salt
How to bake:
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined and set it aside.
- Use a separate bowl to whisk cream browned butter and sugars until they’ve become pale and fluffy (estimated 3 minutes). Reduce your mixing speed and add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with fully incorporated flour after each addition.
- Pour the batter halfway up to 4 in cake pans or pyrex.
- Bake the cake for 30 minutes. To know if it has been baked long enough, insert a toothpick into the center and ensure it comes out mostly clean.
- Cool down the cake for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Level the cake layers and paste each layer with the syrup.
- For the frostings, you can use whichever kind you prefer, for example, swiss meringue buttercream or other types of cream.
- Add your base and accent colors for the cake.
- After cooling down your base decoration, let it cool down in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then add a level layer of frosting. You can decorate however you like.
Another Way to Make Korean Cake
There are also two ways to make this Korean cake: the half-sheet pan method or the silicone mold method. For the half-sheet pan method, you need to bake the cake in a half sheet pan and cut the cake layers using a cookie-cutter, so you can shape it into any shape you like. The cons of this method are that you will end up with lots of cake scraps because of the cutouts. If you plan to make all mini cakes, using the silicone mold method is more recommended. The silicone mold method is great if you plan to make evenly shaped layers of cake without any cake scraps.
Decorate Korean Cake
To decorate a Korean bento cake, keep it simple. You can write a message on top of the cake, and some styles don’t require full frosting. If you’re new to making these miniature cakes, you can decorate them straight inside the take-out box to make your job easier too. Swiss buttercream frosting is mostly recommended because they are perfectly silky.