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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

June 12, 2013

Strawberry Not-So-Short Cake

So you'll never guess what I treated myself to a few weeks ago: a fancy, schmancy new camera that takes beautiful photos. And where was said camera when I made this cake? Hanging on a hook at home, packed safely in its bag. That's a great place for it but not when I get a hankerin' to bake and I'm away from home! Sadly I had to rely upon my phone's camera which has a reputation for being less than stellar at taking reliable photos.

 Anywho, on Sunday I had seen a photo on Pinterest for a multi-layer cake that had chocolate glaze drizzled over each layer and then frosted. It was on my mind as I walked around the grocery store shopping for dinner and I was thinking of ways to tinker with the recipe and use strawberries. I had an idea that I could make the cake, drizzle strawberry syrup on each layer and then top with fresh strawberries and freshly made whipped cream. I figured it was worth a shot.
The idea is that you bake as many thin (but not too think) layers of vanilla cake and then as you take them out of the oven, while they are hot, you stack them, lightly saturating each layer with warm strawberry sauce. Once you run out of cakes, you can fill the top of the cake with a generous layer of whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Serve the cake on a plate with a pool of strawberry sauce and whipped cream garnish - sorry, no photo of that. The cake was gobbled up way too fast!
In spite of me not having my fancy camera, I wanted to share the recipe and photos anyway. The cake was far too pretty and scrumptious to not share.

Strawberry Not-So-Short Cake 

adapted from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood via Leita's Culinaria
Serves: 8-12. It's a really hearty cake so a small slice will make a great serving size.

This recipe consists of 4 parts:
  1. Strawberries Sauce - make this first. You'll need it as you're baking the pancakes
  2. Fresh Strawberries - prepare when you make the sauce. It needs to sit for a while.
  3. Whipped Cream - you won't need this until the very end.
  4. Cake - this cake is yummy! 

The directions for each part is listed below as is the assembling the cake and how to plate a slice. Yes, it's a little time consuming but it's not very difficult. You can do it and it's worth it, trust me. 

Strawberry Sauce
Yield: around 4 cups
2 pints of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (organic strawberries are best!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup of water
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

*Make this first!*
Stir strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until no chunks remain. Strain it to remove seeds ( this is optional but will help the cake stack more evenly) Transfer sauce back to the saucepan. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream, COLD
A few tablespoons of powdered sugar or white sugar - amount up to you.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Get your mixing bowl and whisk attachment cold.

Pour cream into the mixing bowl (but leave a little bit in the container) and beat on medium high heat until it just starts to come together and the whisk leaves tracks.

Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, mixing for about 10 seconds. Keep an eye on the cream, be careful not to over whisk. Keep adding sugar until it's at your desired level of sweetness. Add the vanilla and any remaining cream to the bowl and whisk for a final 10 seconds or by hand until fully incorporated. Cover and store in the fridge until you're ready for it.

Fresh Strawberries
1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)

Place the sliced berries into a bowl and dust lightly with sugar. Mix and cover. Leave on the counter until you're ready to use it.

1 cup or 2 sticks butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 1/2 granulated sugar, at room temperature but not not melted
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon full-fat milk at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray pans with Pam with Flour or butter and flour each pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. In a small bowl, mix the vanilla with the milk. Add the flour to the egg mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

Baking the cakes and Cake Assembly

**Make sure you have your strawberry sauce ready.**

Pour a very thin layer of batter into each pan. You should have enough batter that you can't see the bottom of the pan, but not so much that it seems overly excessive. Think thin! What ever the amount you ultimately decide to go with, just make sure you do it the same for every layer so they will be consistent.
See how you can sorta see the bottom of the cake pan peeking through? Avoid this... add just a teeny bit more batter.

After you add the batter, be sure to shake the pans or use a spatula to distribute the batter to the edges - really thin areas will bake faster and get crispy which you want to avoid. Bake the layers for 9 to 13 minutes - it really depends on your oven. Keep an eye on the first layer and use it as a guide. The cake should lift out of the pans easily without sticking. I used three 9" cake pans so I baked all 3 in the same oven at the same time, but you can do what ever works best for you but I wouldn't bake more than four at a time.

Immediately remove the layers from the pans and, working one at a time, place the hot layers on a cake plate and immediately saturate with the strawberry sauce. You can use a spoon or a brush, drizzling the sauce. (Tip: If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water and bring it back to a simmer for a moment.) Don't go overboard but don't be too skimpy either. I went a little skimpy and wished I had used more. Don't forget the edges.

Bake all of the remaining batter in this manner being sure to wipe down the cake pan with a paper towel and respraying them with Pam with Flour before adding the batter. You should be able to get 10-16 layers from this recipe. Continue to stack the layers, sandwiching them with glaze. If the cake starts to get uneven, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top-most layer and then weight it down with a pie plate, pushing down slightly but don't squish too hard, or put something that a little heavy heavy in the center. I speak from experience!

After all the pan cakes are layered, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool. Then spread the top of the cake with a very generous portion of whipped cream. You can frost down the sides too if you wish but I liked keeping the layers visible. Top the cake with fresh sliced strawberries.

Serving the cake
Put a little pool of strawberry sauce in the center of the plate (it should be bigger than the slice of cake), place a cake slice on it and add extra whipped cream and strawberries.
My dog Brizzie got a little treat.

I let her lick the bowl! I love how she put her foot in it to keep it from sliding around the kitchen! She's so clever.
This is what how the cake will appear to those around you. (Actually there was something on the camera lens that made an "angels are singing" effect to the photo but this is pretty accurate!)


  1. Strawberry shortcake always has and always will be my absolute favorite dessert. But this takes it to a whole new level! Layers?! Melt in your mouth layers!? Bliss. I will be making this as soon as summer strikes the Northwest next year.


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