Beautiful three-layer strawberry cream cake for that special occasion. Rich pound cake cut into three layers, filled with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and strawberry purée. Topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
- 4-6 Tbsp sugar
- Pinch salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
Make the cake
1 Prepare the oven and cake pan: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
2 Make the cake batter: In a large bowl, by hand, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 Tbsp of the sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
3 Beat the egg whites: In a separate bowl, use an electronic mixer to 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.
4 Fold beaten egg whites into batter: Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten. Add the remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.
5 Bake: Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325°F 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. It does help to freeze the cake after it has cooled to make it easier to cut horizontally in later steps.
6 Macerate the berries in sugar, then mash: Cut in half 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Slice or 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. The sugar will macerate the strawberries, making them soft, and generating liquid.
Strain the juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). Put the strawberries in a bowl and use a potato masher to mash them; set aside.
7 Make syrup with strained strawberry juices: In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices 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.
8 Make the whipped cream and cream cheese: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, 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 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).
Assemble the cake
5 Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 12-20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.
Pour one half of puréed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge.
Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 12-20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top.
Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries.
Serve immediately, or keep chilled. If the whipped cream warms to room temperature it will be harder to keep stable while cutting.