Strawberry shortcake in beverage form is Japan’s latest vending machine temptation.

Along with fried chicken, strawberry shortcake is an essential part of the customary Christmas Eve meal in Japan. The reason might be that the red-and-white color scheme matches Santa’s suit, or perhaps it’s because the whipped cream topping resembles soft, freshly fallen snow.

Then again, it could just be that people love cake, and finding an excuse to enjoy the dessert is an idea we can all get behind. And so it was with great excitement that we heard that Japanese beverage maker DyDo was releasing a “drinkable shortcake” in time for the yuletide season, and with greater excitement that we procured a can for ourselves.

The Rich Grand Time Shake and Drink Sweet Shortcake, as it’s officially called, just went on sale on November 28. As referenced in the name, you’re supposed to shake it before drinking, since it contains gelatin to help give it a more food-like consistency.

▼ “Please shake five times before opening” the can’s text instructs.

After giving the can the recommended five shakes, we twisted the lid off and peered inside, where we saw a liquid with a pale pink hue not unlike the strawberry milk that Japan is so fond of.

Being the contrarily-minded rebels we are, though, we decided that the drink still looked a little thick, so we screwed the lid back on and gave the can 10 more shakes, mixing the gelatin more evenly into the drink for a smoother texture.

You can, of course, drink Rich Grand Time Shake and Drink Sweet Shortcake straight from the can, but we decided to be fancy and pour it into the classiest piece of glassware we had in arm’s reach.

So how does it taste? Really good, actually. DyDo uses cream from the northern island of Hokkaido (Japan’s leading dairy producer) and Amao strawberries from Fukuoka Prefecture in the south. The resulting combination tastes like a strawberry milkshake, which is never something we’d complain about, and the strong, lingering taste of the Hokkaido cream does make it feel a lot more cake-like than typical shakes.

As an added bonus, the Rich Grand Time Shake and Drink Sweet Shortcake is relatively diet-friendly, too, with a single can’s 165-gram (5.8-ounce) serving being just 81 calories, but a surprisingly filling sweet indulgence thanks to the gelatin.

Oddly enough, despite DyDo’s headquarters being located in the central Japanese city of Osaka, the Rich Grand Time Shake and Drink Sweet Shortcake is available exclusively from vending machines inside JR East train stations (which includes its stations in Tokyo). It’s priced at 160 yen (US$1.40) a can, which is slightly more expensive than most other vending machine drinks, but considering its tastiness, and the fact that it exists all by itself in the “drinkable cake” category, we’d say it’s a fair price.

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