As mentioned here, I’m shifting gears a bit on this site- I personally have little interest in explaining why I chose a recipe to make it beyond interest or relevance for a season/holiday. As in, oh I saw this dish at a restaurant and it brings me back to my childhood and here’s a super long story about that! I’ll admit that may come up sometimes, but generally the feedback I’ve gotten from people is that they usually just skip that part and scroll down to the recipe. If there’s some history or cultural relevance, sure, but not just day to day life. We all have that, and there are plenty of other places to get such content, should you desire it. We’re here for the food, people- the important stuff.
So, in pursuit of keeping these posts brief (except for recipe info/notes, of course), here is my tried and true recipe, updated from here. I have made this cake a lot over the last five years, in which I have experimented with nearly all aspects of it at one point or another, so I’m pretty happy with this. Things to keep in mind:
- This cake really is best when chilled for 1-2 hours after assembly, but I’ve also done so at room temperature, or not at all. It will always be delicious, but the extra time allows the cake layers to absorb more of the fruit juice (and maybe a little of the whipped cream) thus making it a bit more moist [Yep, that word is weird, but super inevitable when writing about baking]
- If you haven’t used/tasted rosewater before, I suggest either testing on its own/in something else (if you can), or in a small amount of the fruit mixture (like 1/4 cup and just a drop of it) after all the other ingredients have been added. I find it to be extremely fragrant, and not everyone loves that, so it’s best to figure that out before you seek it out/add it.
- For the strawberries: you want four cups AFTER they’ve been hulled and sliced, not before. If anything, always err on the higher end (like if you’ve got an extra 1/2 cup that you won’t eat on its own, add it) because you can always save extra for the topping/put it on other food.
- Only take out the heavy cream when you’re ready to whip it- it will take much longer at room temperature
- As far as evenly dividing the batter between the three pans, I use a 1/2 up coated with a bit of nonstick spray to roughly measure out the amounts, adding one at a time, alternating between the three. Usually I get about 1 heaping cup per pan (i.e. adding in the batter twice) and then try to allocate the remaining batter evenly.
- That said, weights are always more precise, and because I have established that I am pretty OCD about things, I instead add a big dollop of batter to each pan and then weigh the pans on a scale. Evenly distributed, the total weight of each pan (its weight included) was 440g each. Obviously the weight will vary depending on the type of pan you use, so keep that in mind.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (225g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (254g) cake flour*
1 tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk**
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, then sift together. [You can also sift it straight into the mixer later, but it will probably make a bit of a mess]
- Grease the sides and bottoms of three 8” pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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. [See above for measuring tip]
- Bake the cake layers for 16-18 minutes, rotating halfway through, 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.
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place sliced strawberries in a large bowl. Add in the vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and rose water (if using), then gently 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.
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 with remaining fruit 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]
- Cover the cake loosely with foil or plastic wrap (I usually omit this) and let stand in the fridge for two hours. If you don’t have access to a fridge, or merely not enough space, the flavors will meld at room temperature.