Thursday, April 15, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

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

Whipped cream:

  • 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
Who knew donkeys liked strawberries?


Memória said...

What a lovely cake indeed! You did a fantastic job. The card you gave your sister is beautiful as well. Happy birthday to your sister and the other two lucky people!!

Peggy Clyde said...

That looks so tasty and very refreshing. Thanks.

Lynn Gardner said...

What a beautiful cake! I'm sure my father would love it for his birthday :)

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I want this cake! I have a few things to bake first, but I hope this will be the first cake I bake out of the Sky High Cakes book! :)

Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} said...

Gorgeous. We must be on the same page because I just made something similar.

Selba said...

What a pretty pretty pretty cake of Strawberry! Love it!

cookies and cups said...

Gorgeous cake! And what a cool gadget...I'm gonna have to get one of those :)

Brandy L said...

That looks soo good! Now i want strawberries in a cake like that. :D I'm sure it tasted amazing as it looks amazing.

Julie said...

Delicious looking cake! I love that donkey picture..too cute :)

Sophie said...

Cakes like this remind me of summertime and fun :). I always want a strawberry cake but have such a hard time making them, for some reason. I like how fresh yours looks. Happy birthday to your little sis :)!

Also, that little strawberry tool is so so cool! It's so cute!

oneordinaryday said...

Oh, I love that book and I agree that everything I've made from it has been great. Your shortcake is stunning. I'd have to agree with your sis - it looks like a big piece of summer to me too.

You feeling better? Hope so. And, did I miss something? Where'd you get the donkey??? : )

♥peachkins♥ said...

She is lovely..Those are perfect strawberries you got there!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
peach and things

Keeley said...

Mmmm! When we get some good strawberries at our market (hopefully in the next 30 days), I'll be making this as a weekend dessert!

Strawberries are my favorite fruite and I love anything with whipped cream!

Cassie said...

Holy yum! I need to find an excuse to make this VERY SOON.

Ms. K.I.M. said...

This looks absolutely wonderful. I've been debating on whether to make a tradional strawberry cake or a short cake. I'm with you though.. sometimes you just don't want to make a filling and this doesn't require much assembly. Did the leftovers keep well in the fridge or was there not any left to know?

vanillasugarblog said...

yes she is a beaut! i am going to whole foods today to get my strawberries. the local grocery stores around here have horrid looking berries.
and girl, i love that there is a donkey on your website too. LOL

Monica H said...

Ms KIM- We had this cake for a total of three days (the day I made it and served it, the next day and the day after that) The first two days were fine, but even with wrapping it, the cake portion dried out.

I think it would have kept better if we had covered the entire thing in whipped cream. But there was no waste it was all consumed!

The Food Librarian said...

Monica, Girl, that is one beautiful cake!!!!!! It is so pretty! Turned out beyond perfect. Happy Birthday to all in the family! - mary the food librarian

Lori said...

I know I would enjoy that. It looks so delicious. Oh I just can not wait to have strawberries in my kitchen.

Katie said...

It looks wonderful and so fresh and summery. Will have to make this when strawberries appear.

Debbie said...

That is one amazing looking cake...I'm with you, I just love anything chocolate but this would definitely be great just the way it is! LOVE the pic of the cute!!!!

cybil said...

looks so great!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Donna (Texas) said...

Every year I HAVE (Hahaa) to make my daughter a Strawberry & Whipped cream cake to....Love your recipe!
Happy weekend!

Foodiewife said...

I am anxiously awaiting our locally grown strawberries to reach the perfect ripeness. You can bet, I'll be making this baby. Looks fantastic!

tamilyn said...

What a beautiful cake! It looks so light and airy-yum!

Kerstin said...

Now that's a gorgeous cake! And what a cool strawberry gadget - must add it to my list :)

From the Kitchen said...


Monica, a while back I asked for prayers for two little friends of mine. I have a new posting on my blog regarding Jillian. She's undergoing heart surgery on Wednesday. Would you be so kind as to offer up more prayers for her? Thank you so much!


Mermaid Sews said...

Wow, that is gorgeous. I can't seem to make anything with fresh strawberries that doesn't run. Hope you are well.

Lorraine said...

Amazingly beautiful cake. One of my all time fav's is strawberry shortcake. Love that strawberry huller too!

Joy Tilton said...

Sinfully good! Nothing says spring or summer like strawberry shortcake!

Unknown said...

Yum! Strawberries are my favorite!!! I wish you were my sister so I could get this cake for my birthday! LOL! I guess I'll just have to make it for myself. ;-)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I really can't believe I did't comment on this. But I know remember why! I sent you an email instead. Remember? About a certain someone? Can a "sista" atleast get points for reading the post and sending an email instead? :)

She is lovely....

Jana said...

Yum. And, yeah. Who knew?

Samantha H. said...

Do you think I could make this as cupcakes? I was going to make it tonight but just got a cute flower-pattern cupcake pan from a garage sale this afternoon!

Unknown said...

Can you re-write how much butter? I mean gramm. I wanna try, but spoon is not too exact.

Unknown said...

What exactly is vanilla suagr?!

Monica H said...

Vanilla sugar is just granulated sugar that has been stored with vanilla beans. It takes on the vanilla flavor. You can use regular granulated sugar in its place.

Jessica said...

hello! I've been scouring recipes for a perfect 1st bday cake for my strawberry loving guy... this is it! BUT my question- I'm making it for about 25-30 guests... was going to do two rectangle pans (9x13?) but is that too much and should I double? or x1.5? Just wanted your expert advice! thanks so so much for your time (and your amazing recipes!)

Monica H said...

I would double this recipe

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