Beautiful, red and juicy Strawberries make perfect little gems all on their own but when dipped in chocolate, topped over sundaes or mixed with other fruits, they’re truly amazing.
These awesome berries also become insanely delicious when added to cake. The Strawberry Cream Layer Cake to be exact. Have you ever tried this magnificent creation? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. The pairing is a true match made in heaven. Oh my!
The recipe, created by America’s Test Kitchen, does take a little bit of time but it is absolutely worth it… each and every bite. Enjoy!
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325-degrees F.
Break two eggs in a small bowl and separate the other three. Place the egg yolks with the whole eggs, cover and set aside. Place the egg whites in a different bowl, cover and set aside. Leave the eggs on the counter for around thirty minutes or until they reach room temperature.
Grease 9” round pan with oil and flour it evenly. You can spray with Baker’s Joy to prevent sticking. Line base and sides with wax paper or parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.
With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds.
Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING:
Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about ½ cup).
In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1½ cups).
In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2½ minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4½ cups).
Using a serrated knife, slice cake into 3 equal layers.
Place bottom layer on cake stand, arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves (cut sides down) around the edges of the cake. Pour about half (3/4 cup) of the strawberry puree filling in the middle of the cake and spread to cover the center of the cake, avoiding the strawberry slices.
Gently spread ⅓ (1½ cups) of whipped cream over berry mixture, leaving ½ inch border around the edge of the cake.
Place middle cake layer carefully on top and press down gently. Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, puree, and half of the remaining whipped cream.
Gently add the last layer of cake, pressing carefully. Spread remaining whipped cream over top layer. Decorate with remaining strawberry halves. Serve immediately or chill up to 4 hours. Store in refrigerator.