I’m seeing this cake everywhere now! ‘The Fearless Baker’, by Erin Jeanne McDowell was recommended in one of my many cooking magazines and I couldn’t help myself, this was the very first recipe I ‘needed’ to make. Obviously it looks and tastes marvelous with all 3 layers but the biscuits are so dense that even a single layer served with the whipping cream and berries would make a great dessert for several people. I made this for a crowd of 12 and still had some leftover. Make the biscuit layers ahead (and freeze them), and you can whip this beauty up at a moment’s notice – enjoy!
Strawberry ‘Not-So-Short’ Cake
Biscuit Layers – makes 3, 9-inch cakes
5 c. flour AND 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. baking powder AND 1 t. baking soda AND 1/2 t. salt
1 lb. cold butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 c. buttermilk AND 2 t. vanilla
2 eggs AND 1 egg yolk
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter 3, 9-inch cake pans. In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add in all of the butter and pulse until the butter bits are the size of peas. Transfer this mix to a large bowl.
In a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg and egg yolk then make a well in the middle of the dry mix and pour it all in. Use your hands to mix and then gently knead it for a minute or 2 until it comes together as a workable dough – do not overwork it! Divide the dough evenly into 3 portions (I weighed mine), and then press each biscuit evenly into your buttered pans. Sprinkle each layer with the coarse sugar and then bake for 28 to 32 minutes until they are golden brown. When they come out of the oven they’ll be a bit puffy in spots so while wearing my oven mitts I used one pan to evenly press and flatten the others down – super easy way to get 3 perfect cake layers. Allow the biscuits to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely (then wrap well and freeze!).
Strawberries – doubling this would be nice, add some to each individual slice!
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced AND 2 T. sugar
2 t. lemon zest AND 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
About an hour before you’re planning on putting together the cake and serving it, toss together the berries, sugar, zest and lemon juice in a large bowl and allow it all to sit and macerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cheater’s Whipped Cream
1 package (250 g/8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature AND 2/3 c. icing sugar
2 1/4 c. heavy cream AND 1 t. vanilla
Using your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and icing sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the cream, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and whip until soft peak form. Add in the vanilla and mix again until combined.
Assembly – Place one biscuit layer on a platter or cake stand, spread on about 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream and then evenly add about 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining 2 layers. This will be a very tall cake! – but don’t worry, the ‘Cheater’s Whipped Cream’ does a great job of stabilizing it. Drizzle the juices from the berries over the whole cake or over individual slices as you serve them, and remember to keep the slices a reasonable size…this is a very hearty dessert and will feed a lot of people!