Ah, isn't this a beauty? Every year for my sisters' birthday I make her a special strawberry cake. I usually make her a strawberry layer cake topped off with a strawberry flower using this recipe. But this year I wanted to make something a little different, just as pretty and much simpler.
To hull the strawberries, I used a new gadget from Chef'n called the Stem Gem. You push in the green stem, which pushes the prongs out. Then you insert it into the stem of the strawberry and let go of the button. The gadget holds the stem tight, then you twist it and pull it out. It was pretty effective at removing the hull and nothing more.
You see, in a matter of 10 days there are 3 birthdays in my family and I usually make all the cakes. I'm happy to do it, but I get tired of making batches of frosting. So this year, my father in law got a banana pudding cake, my sister received this strawberry shortcake and my mother in law got a pretty glazed Bundt. That recipe will come a little later, but for now here's a little strawberry goodness.
This recipe comes from Sky High: Irresistable Triple Layer Cakes from Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. I've many many cakes from this book and they've all been delicious. I remembered The Food Librarian made this cake so I visited her blog to read her notes on it. The original recipe called for Rose Water and vanilla to macerate the berries in. I just wanted to use sugar and Mary agreed that was a good idea. I also wanted to bake the cake in 2 larger pans rather than 3 6-inch pans and it just so happens that Mary made it again and did the same thing recently. Good minds think alike, I guess :-)
This cake was light and fresh. It was creamy and dreamy. The berries were bursting with sweetness and as Mary says, "it's like eating a cloud of summer". My sister and the rest of my family really liked this cake. My mom liked it so much she had 2 big honkin' pieces. (Sorry mom, I ratted you out!) Mr. H was hesitant because it didn't have chocolate, but later that night he said he thought it was good. The only thing that would make it better was if it were chocolate cake instead of vanilla and chocolate mousse instead of whipped cream! Guess you can't please them all.Strawberry Shortcake adapted from Sky High Cakes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk
Fresh strawberry filling:
- 2 pints strawberries, small if possible
- ½ cup vanilla sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- a few whole strawberries, sliced in half if desired
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottoms and sides of 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of parchment or baking paper and grease the paper.
For the cake:In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk, in 2 or 3 additions. Beat well. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers for 18-23 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.
For the filling:Wash and hull the berries and cut them into thin slices. Place in a bowl and add the sugar. Stir to coat them well, cover the bowl, and let the berries macerate at room temperature until they exude their juices, about 1 hour.
For the cream:In a large chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff – there will be about 3 cups.
Assembling the cake:Place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with half of the fresh strawberry filling, spooning it over the entire layer and making sure any juices go onto the cake layer and not the plate, if possible. Top this layer with half of the whipped cream, spreading it evenly over the berries. Repeat with the second cake layer, using up the remaining berries and whipped cream. Garnish with whole berries if desired.
For best flavor, cover the dessert with a cake dome or loose plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours before slicing. Serve with the remaining strawberry filling on the side.Serves 8-10