When I think of spring I think of strawberries, full of flavor and juicy. I know it’s not the height of the season yet, and in fact it’s a little early, but because of the warm spring we’ve had the berries are showing up everywhere! I managed to get a huge container of organic strawberries for what I would have paid for Driscoll’s just a week ago, and they were very flavorful……not quite local berries but all in all well worth the price. When I bought them I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to make with them, but when my June issue of La Cucina Italiana came in the mail, my problem was solved as they featured strawberries in that issue! They really did have some delicious desserts to choose from, but when I saw the picture of the Strawberry cake with Cream, it was a no brainer!
I would have made it right then and there if I had only purchased cake flour as well. So with cake flour in hand I tackled the recipe and the results were very good, almost excellent. I did have a little problem with the syrup penetrating the top layer of the cake, even with holes poked it was just absorbed at the top. I do think I may have over baked it just a little and the top layer of the cake was just a little too hard (even with the holes poked in).
That was the only problem with the cake, as the crumb was perfect, and not too sweet, the perfect vehicle to showcase those fresh luscious berries and that lovely whipped cream! Lisa had gone to walk one of our dogs while I was finishing the cake, and when she walked in I presented the cake to her for the full effect, it is a show stopper!
- 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
- 2 cups Cake Flour (not self rising)
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs -kept at room temperature for 30 minutes
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Quart Fresh Strawberries
- 7 tbsp sugar
- 3 ounces lemoncello
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Confectioners sugar for dusting
- preheat oven to 350 with rack in middle of the oven
- lightly grease and dust with flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans
- in a medium bowl sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder
- in the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together whipping until pale yellow and fluffy (about 5 min)
- add eggs one at a time beating until combined, then add vanilla
- with mixer on low speed alternatively add flour mixture and milk in four batches. Beat until just combined
- divide batter between both pans, spread evenly with cake spatula
- bake until cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. about 20-25 minutes (the tops of the cake will be pale in color)
- let cool in pans for 5 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
- in a small saucepan, combine 5 tablespoons sugar, lemoncello, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water
- whisk over heat until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat
- Set cakes with tops facing up and poke holes with the tines of a fork, leaving a half inch border on the outside of the cake, brush the cake with the syrup*
- Slice strawberries (leave 8 or 10 whole for top of the cake)
- With your electric mixer beat the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar, start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed until cream is fully whipped and forms stiff peaks
- Top bottom layer with half the whipped cream (leave a half inch border), then layer the sliced strawberries over the whipped cream
- Place the second layer on top of the strawberries and cover the layer with the remainder of the whipped cream leaving a one inch border.
- Place whole berries on top of the whipped cream as a garnish
- Dust with confectioners sugar
I hope that where ever you are, the strawberries are plentiful and sweet and if your’e looking for the perfect recipe to use them in, or even an alternative to a plain strawberry shortcake, Have I got the cake for you! This would make a great addition to your table for that special get together or just to treat the family! But anyway you slice it, they’re going to love it, I mean how could you not love cake, strawberries and whipped cream….sigh
I know it’s spring but for now were just pretending it’s spring, after last weeks 90 degree days the temps are back into the 50′s, but I shouldn’t be complaining , yesterday parts of Western Pennsylvania got up to 23 inches of snow….Yay Spring! I’ll take the 50 degree weather, even though a snow day would have been nice, just not in April!
Well, where ever you are and what ever type of weather you may be experiencing (including sand storms) , have a happy week my friends, and I’ll see you all real soon!