September 21, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cake

Sometimes, you just need a fancy cake.

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Aunt Renel!! :)

Strawberry Cream Cake (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Printable Recipe
*High-altitude adjustments in italics: 6000-8000 ft*

1¼ cups cake flour (plus 2-3 Tb)
1½ teaspoons baking powder (3/4-1/2 tsp)
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar (minus 1 Tb)
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature (6 eggs, 3 whole and 3 separated)
6 Tb unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Strawberry Filling:
2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
4–6 tablespoons sugar
Pinch table salt

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream

Adjust your oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 325 (340) degrees. Butter and flour one or two round 9 by 2-inch cake pans  and line with parchment paper. (Use one pan if you are confident in your cake-cutting skills, I used two, because I am not!) Grease and flour the parchment as well.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in a mixing bowl. (If you have a stand mixer, save it for the next step and stick with a mixing bowl.) Whisk in butter, water, extracts, and 2 (3) whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites) until smooth.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the 3 reserved egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy.
With the machine still running, gradually add the remaining 3 TB sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat just until soft peaks form.
Gently stir about one-third of the whites into the batter, then very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter with a spatula just until the white streaks disappear. Do not overmix, it will deflate!

Pour the batter into prepared pan (or pans) and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 (25-35) minutes. (If you are using 2 pans, start checking your cake at 20 minutes, 15 for high altitude) Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, the remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack, while you prepare the filling and cream.

Strawberry Filling: Pick about 24 of the prettiest strawberries, cut off the stop and slice them in half. Set them aside. Quarter the remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries) in a bowl and let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain the juices from the berries and reserve them (you should have about ½ cup). In a blender or food processor give the drained berries a few pulses, making a chunky puree. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the reserved juices until thickened and reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Pour the reduced juices over the puree, add a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cake is cooled and ready to assemble.

Cream: Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the cream in a slow, steady stream; when it’s almost fully combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat (scraping down sides occasionally) until stiff peaks form.

Assembly: If you baked your cake in one pan, it's time to split it in half! Place one layer on a plate or cake platter and arrange a ring of the prettiest strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around the edge of the cake.
Pour the pureed berry mixture in the center and spread to the strawberry halves.
Gently spread half of the whipped cream over the berry layer, leaving just a bit of space to the edge.
Place the second cake layer on top and press down gently, until the cream comes to the edge of the cake. (You can also divide the cake in three, in which case you would use half of the puree and a third of the cream, and repeat with the second layer). Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and decorate with the remaining cut strawberries. Serve or chill for later!
 I'm sorry, but is that not the prettiest cake EVER?! It's certainly the prettiest I've ever made!!! I love that I didn't have to frost it perfectly, I'm pretty insecure about my cake-frosting skills, which makes this the perfect cake for me!! Even with all the steps, I promise you it isn't that hard. Really. You've got to try it!!
The cream cheese whipped cream is without a doubt my favorite part. FAVORITE!! If gives you the same fresh, light flavor and feeling of whipped cream, with the stability and tang of cream cheese. SO scrumptious!!
I love that the strawberries retain their fresh berry flavor too!! This cake is a strawberries and cream masterpiece, I hope you try it!


  1. Happy birthday to your aunt. A beautiful, beautiful cake. Blessings, Catherine

  2. Ah! Thank you, sweet April! I wish I had that cake in my mouth right now! That could not be closer to what I love in a dessert: Berries - cream (or it's likeness) - and crust!

  3. I love, love, love the looks of this cake.

  4. Very pretty and delicious looking:)

  5. Happy Birthday to your Aunt April! Your cake turned out beautiful. Brilliant tutorial as well! Fab photos! xxoo


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