STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

This cake requires a total of about 3 pounds/ 1.3 kilos of fresh strawberries. Weight is with the stems, before the strawberries get hulled. Amount is to be divided in the different components of the cake, in varying shapes and sizes.







Ingredients

    FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1 (15 1/4oz/432g) vanilla cake mix (disregard instructions on the box)*
  • 1 cup (125g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (242g) sour cream
  • 1 cup (237ml) water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons if using imitation vanilla flavoring)
  • FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: (YOU'LL NEED A TOTAL OF ABOUT 3LBS/ 1.3KG OF STRAWBERRIES, WITH THE STEMS, FOR THE ENTIRE CAKE. AMOUNT TO BE DIVIDED LATER)
  • 1 1/2 lbs (680g) fresh strawberries, stemmed & diced into 1/2 inch pieces (4 cups)*
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (38g to 50g) granulated sugar*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water or lemon juice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • About 16 large fresh strawberries, stemmed & sliced in half vertically (1lb/ 450g)
  • FOR THE STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM:
  • 3 cups (700ml) very cold whipping cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup (57g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (7g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons if using imitation vanilla flavoring)
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 8 whole fresh strawberries, with stems (8oz/ 227g)






Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE CAKE:
    Start by preparing the cooked portion of the stabilized whipped cream (recipe below) as it needs time to cool.
    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F/180C.
    Spray 3 (9-inch) round pans with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease with oil. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds and spray parchment or lightly grease again with oil then dust with flour, tapping out excess flour.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar and salt to combine.
    Add in the sour cream, water, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat everything together until well combined and a smooth batter forms.
    Give the batter a final stir to make sure it is thoroughly combined, then evenly divide batter into the prepared pans. I like to use an ice cream scoop to get an equal amount of batter into each pan, but you can also weigh them.
    Transfer the pans to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs attached, 18 to 22 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry filling; recipe below.
    Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edges of the cakes, then invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment paper, and allow to cool completely before filling, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the cakes have cooled and are ready to be assembled, start whipping the cream (recipe below).

  2. TO MAKE THE STRAWBERRY FILLING:
    In a large bowl, toss the 4 cups (1 1/2lbs/ 680g) of diced strawberries with the 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries). Cover and set aside for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 3 hours.

  3. TO MAKE THE STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM:
    In a small saucepan, off heat, whisk the powdered sugar and cornstarch to combine. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup of the cream.
    Place the saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened to the consistency of warm pudding; it should still be pourable.
    Scrape the mixture to a measuring cup with a spout or small bowl and stir in the vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly over the surface of the thickened cream to avoid a skin from forming, then set aside to cool to just room temperature.
    In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the remaining 2 1/4 cups of cold cream just until traces of the beater marks start to appear. Add the cooled cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, whipping as you go. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over mix so the cream doesn't curdle. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.

  4. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
    Drain the diced strawberries in a strainer set over a bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the strawberry juice into a tiny bowl (reserving remaining juice in bowl for brushing the cake layers with later). Stir the cornstarch into the 2 tablespoons of juice, until well combined. Microwave, stirring every 10 seconds, until mixture is very thick and translucent, 30 to 45 seconds.
    Gently stir the thickened strawberry juice into the diced strawberries, to glaze. Set aside.
    If your cakes are domed, level them off by slicing away a thin layer from the top, so the cakes are as flat as possible.
    On a serving platter, place the first layer of cake and using a pastry brush, brush a third of the unthickened strawberry juice all over the surface.
    Arrange a ring of about 16 strawberry halves (more or less depending on the size of the strawberries), cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around the perimeter of the cake layer. Spoon half of the glazed, diced strawberries in the center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of the stabilized whipped cream over the strawberry layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border from the edge.
    Place the second cake layer over the whipped cream and gently press down. Repeat with brushing half of the remaining strawberry juice, 16 additional strawberry halves, remaining glazed strawberries, and half of remaining whipped cream.
    Gently press the last cake layer on top; brush with remaining strawberry juice. Spread remaining whipped cream over the top; decorate with a mixture of whole and halved strawberries. Serve right away, or chill for up to 4 hours. Cake best eaten on the same day its made.




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