Seems likes it's getting muggier and muggier here in Florida each day. The non stop pouring rain and the rising heat is killer. I love and hate Florida. This being one of the reasons I hate Florida.
Since it's been so very hot out, I haven't really been baking as much as I use to. I mean, why would I stand around a hot oven and sweat my butt off even more than I already am? It also doesn't help that our air conditioner seriously sucks. I swear out conditioner literally loathes us. We've tried so many times to get it fixed, yet, it always decides to brake down and not work. It's always pms-ing!
But, I wasn't going to let the heat keep me from baking for to long. I've been really craving cake lately, which is strange because I don't exactly love cake. I like it, but it's not something I necessarily love. But I wanted it. And the heat was not going to keep me from making cake, no I was not. My mom found a recipe awhile back for a Strawberry Cream Cake in Cooks Illustrated that I knew I wanted to make eventually, but after seeing Lisa's, Pittsburgh Needs Eated, post on the cake, I decided that this was what I was going to make.
The cake turned out excellent! One of the best I've had, seriously. It was so light and so tasty. I couldn't help but get another slice. It was so good. It's a great light and refreshing cake for the summer!
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated)
6 tbsp. butter , melted
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed
4–6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. kirsch
Pinch of salt
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
1. For the cake,Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with 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 and whisk until smooth.
2. 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.
3. 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 cool completely for about 2 hours.
4. 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 1/2 cup). In a food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 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.
5. For the whipped cream, 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 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.
6. To assemble the cake, slice cake into three even layers (or two like me). Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed 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 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, or chill for up to 4 hours.