This is number 3 of what will be the four birthday cakes I made in two weeks (4 out of 5 if you expand it to cakes in general). I started this cake while finishing up the red velvet cupcakes for Ali because her show and my friend Serena’s birthday were on the same night. However, that whole finger-slicing business sidetracked me a bit, and I ended up leaving the baked cake layers and half-done strawberry filling to go to the ER.
An hour or so later, bandaged beyond reason, I returned to my kitchen somewhat concerned as to how I was going to finish a cake without using my index finger. I decided that I had already done most of the work pre-knife attack, and set about gingerly assembling the cake.
Of all the cakes that I have made, I consider myself oddly fortunate to have gotten injured during this one, as it is by far the easiest cake to put together. You bake cakes. You cut up some strawberries and toss them with sugar and lemon and they do the rest. Finally, you whip cream and smear it in layers, and let it sit.
The only major change I made was to use 8” pans instead of 6” ones, mostly because I don’t own 6” pans, but also because I thought it would be a little too high to bring to a party. I also omitted rose water from the filling because, Hi, I live in a small town in Ohio, we don’t exactly have Middle Eastern specialty shops nearby.
Lastly, this cake is so popular I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of a slice because by the time, I got my phone, it had already been devoured.
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides and bottoms of three 6” (or in my case 8”) pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. [I don’t like taking the time to cut parchment rounds, but for this cake I think it’s important that you bother with it]
- In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk. (Start with the dry ingredients and end with the dry ingredients). Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
- Bake the cake layers for 20-25 minutes (16-18 if using 8” pans), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes before inverting onto wire racks. Let the cake cool completely.
While the cakes are baking, make the Strawberry Filling.
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rose water [I skipped this]
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon [My addition- lemons make strawberries better. It’s scientific fact.]
- Place prepared strawberries in a large bowl. Add in the vanilla, sugar, and lemon juice and toss so that the strawberries are coated.
- Let the filling sit for an hour while the strawberries macerate (aka release all their amazing juices).
Once the cakes are cool, and your filling is ready, make the whipped cream.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Place cream and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high
Assemble the Cake
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Spoon 3/4 cup of the filling onto the layer and make sure the juices go into the cake.
- Top with 1 cup of whipped cream and spread evenly over the strawberries.
- Repeat with the middle layer.
- Top with the final cake layer and cover with whipped cream. Garnish with whole berries.[I opted to save some of the filling for the top, spreading the remaining cream over it because I did not have extra berries for garnishing]
- Covering the cake loosely with foil or plastic wrap and let stand in the fridge for two hours. [I only waited an hour because of all that stiches-business, and it was great, but I’m sure the extra hour would have made it even better]