It looks like a Japanese Christmas cake, but does it really taste like one as well?

Now that Halloween is officially over, and Starbucks Japan’s Night Masquerade Party drinks have come to an end, it’s time to pass right by Thanksgiving and head straight towards Christmas. That’s because the coffeehouse chain has just released its very first festive offerings of the year, in the form of the Merry Strawberry Cake Frappuccino and the Merry Strawberry Cake Milk.

Our Frappuccino tester Masami was on the scene as soon as they were released to give us her expert report. She ordered the Frappuccino, but when she looked at the menu she saw there was another surprise drink on offer: the Gingerbread Latte. Unlike the Christmas cake drinks, which are brand new, the Gingerbread Latte has been a staple at Christmas over the years, and this year it appeared to have snuck its way onto the menu without any fanfare, so she purchased one of these as well.

Masami started the taste test proceedings with the Merry Strawberry Cake Frappuccino, which is said to look and taste just like a Japanese Christmas cake.

Before we go any further, Masami would like to remind everybody that Christmas cakes in Japan are actually strawberry shortcakes layered with cream and topped with strawberries, which play on the red-and-white colour theme of the festive holiday.


The Christmas cake Frappuccino is beautiful to look at, with its contents mimicking the layers of the actual cake. At the bottom of the drink is a layer of “sponge cake crumb”, made with a mixture of shortbread and finely crushed sponge cake, which is topped with a rich strawberry sauce containing fresh fruit pulp. 

On top of everything is a mound of cream and crunchy strawberry pieces, designed to look just like the strawberries and cream on top of a Japanese Christmas cake.

According to Starbucks, this drink aims to recreate the moment you bite into a slice of Christmas cake, and as Masami dove in with her spoon, she couldn’t wait to find out what this experience would be like. She put a spoonful in her mouth, and was immediately dazzled by the drink. It was light and airy, and tasted strongly of sponge cake, and with the fruit flavours providing a refreshing finish, the beverage was neither too heavy nor too tart…it was just right.

Accompanying the Frappuccino is the Merry Strawberry Cake Milk, a beverage that’s said to taste like “eating a Christmas cake with a glass of hot milk”. However, as it contains the same ingredients as the Merry Strawberry Cake Frappuccino, Masami decided to give it a miss this time, instead choosing to soak her taste buds in the spicy essence of gingerbread with the Gingerbread Latte.

Warm and flavoursome, this latte has become the taste of Christmas for Masami, and this was definitely the first of many Gingerbread lattes she would enjoy this season.

The Merry Strawberry Cake Frappuccino is available in a tall size only for 590 yen (US$5.43), while the Merry Strawberry Cake Milk is sold in Short through to Venti sizes from 490-570 yen, and the Gingerbread Latte is available in Short through to Venti sizes from 460-590 yen. All prices are tax-exclusive.

Both new beverages will be available at Starbucks stores around the country from 1-21 November, while the Gingerbread Latte will be available until 25 December.

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