I have a coworker who loves to bake as much as I do. Maybe more. We talk shop (baking shop) frequently. Like what kind of flour works best in biscuits. Or how macarons turn out one out of every three times you make them. So when I found out she was turning 30 (such a young’n!), I volunteered to make her a cake. It was a great excuse to try a new recipe. So I asked her what type of cake she wanted and she started out talking about a white cake with some sort of fruity filling. I’m not sure why but my mind immediately went to strawberry short cake turned into a layer cake. I found a great looking recipe at Go Bold with Butter. So I sent the recipe to the birthday girl for approval. I got a thumbs up and a suggestion for a sturdy whipped cream if I was looking for something that would hold up on the cake. Considering that the cake probably had to last a few hours before we could dig into it, I decided the sturdy whipped cream was the perfect option. Thus, a star was born.
- 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 3 c. cake flour, sifted
- 1 T. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ¼ c. half-and-half, whipping cream or milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
strawberry filling ingredients.
- 1 qt fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2 T. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 2 c. heavy cream
- To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for a convection oven). Grease the bottom of the of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the bottom (again) and sides and dust with flour to keep the cake from sticking to the pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high speed until pale and creamy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time beating over medium speed until incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, alternating with milk mixture and ending with flour mixture. (So three flour, two milk.) Scrape down bowl between each addition.
- Divide the batter between two prepared cake pans and bake until tops are barely golden brown and spring back when lightly touched. Begin checking the cake at about 30-35 minutes. If you’re baking in an 8-inch pan it will take longer. I used 8-inch pans and it took about 45 minutes.
- Cool the cakes in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover cake layers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Or you can freeze the cakes right in the pans until you are ready to use. That’s what I did!
- When ready to assemble the cake and serve, prepare the strawberries. Toss sliced strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract in bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
- To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. You may want to bump the speed up a notch or two. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
- Remove chilled cake layers from refrigerator (or freezer, but you’ll need to thaw slightly first) and use a small knife to score each layer in half horizontally. Then use a large serrated knife to slowly cut all the way through each layer, using scored line as a guide.
- Place one cake layer on cake plate or stand. Cover with whipped cream and one quarter of strawberry mixture. Here I would lay the strawberries out flat and even to try to cover the entire layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers, whipped cream and strawberries. Garnish with additional strawberries, if you’d like.
- Serve cake immediately.
I baked the cake and made the frosting two days before I planned on serving it. This morning at 4 am I sliced the strawberries and assembled the cake. The pretty cake you see in the pictures was nearly destroyed by the 710 and the 405 freeways. I didn’t think I was driving that fast but as soon as I got on the 710 I glanced at the cake and saw that most the strawberries hand flung themselves off the top and landed on the serving plate. The top two layers were leaning dangerously to one side as though any sudden movement would topple the entire thing. I drove with one hand on the steering wheel and one finger on the top layer of the cake propping it up. And on top of that I drive stick shift!
When I got to work I had to wash off the whole strawberries, wipe away some of the filling that was all over the plate and generally rearrange the cake. One side looked acceptable. I faced that side forward for everyone to see.
This cake was a huuuuuge hit at work. Multiple people said it was the best cake I’d ever made. And I’ve made a lot! The cake is moist. The filling is perfectly delicious and the strawberries were (thankfully!) in season. We ate the cake for breakfast at 8 am