I hadn’t used one of my favorite books in quite a while and looking at its cover I knew exactly what recipe to choose from it. Yes, strawberries again – I’ve warned you, remember? :D
This cake is so pretty I’d an eye on it since buying the book, but I ended up making other cakes from it and all of a sudden the strawberry season was gone. I would not make the same mistake this time, oh, no!
It is, indeed, a beautiful dessert and it tastes wonderful, but it’s really unstable and difficult to slice (even after 5 hours in the fridge, more than the recipe calls for). There was some filling and cream left, so combined them with some cake scraps to make a trifle:
Sky-high strawberry shortcake
from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (150g) caster sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk
Fresh strawberry filling:
4 cups strawberries, small if possible
2 teaspoons rosewater
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup (100g) caster sugar*
1 ½ cups (360ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar*
a few whole strawberries, sliced in half if desired, leaves on
Start by baking the cake: preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease the bottoms and sides of three 15cm (6in) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of parchment or baking paper and grease the paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk, in 2 or 3 additions. Beat well. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely – I removed the paper after the cakes were completely cool.
Now, the filling: wash and hull the berries and slice into pieces about the thickness of a nickel. Place in a bowl and add the rosewater, vanilla and sugar. Stir to coat them well, cover the bowl, and let the berries macerate at room temperature until they exude their juices, about 1 hour.
Whip the cream: in a large chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff – there will be about 3 cups.
Assembling the cake: place one cake layer, flat side up, on a small cake stand or serving plate. Top with 3/4 cup of the fresh strawberry filling, spooning it over the entire layer and making sure any juices go onto the cake layer and not the plate, if possible. Top this with 1 cup of the whipped cream, spreading it evenly over the berries. Repeat with the second cake layer and another ¾ cup filling and 1 cup whipped cream. Top with the final cake layer flat side up. Cover with the last of the whipped cream and garnish with the whole berries. For best flavor, cover the dessert with a cake dome or loose plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours before slicing. Serve with the remaining strawberry filling on the side.
* I used vanilla infused sugar