Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck and Caroline Cunningham
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
7 egg whites, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
Halved fresh strawberries, edible flowers
How to Make It
Prepare Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat 1 1/4 cups softened butter and 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add egg whites, one-third at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together cake flour and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with 1 cup water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour batter into 4 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Prepare Strawberry Mousse: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Process 2 cups sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer strawberry mixture to a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add gelatin to strawberry mixture, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves. Cover and chill until consistency of unbeaten egg whites, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes).
Beat cream at low speed until foamy; increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until well blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes or just until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape when mounded.
Spread about 1 cup Strawberry Mousse between each cake layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges; cover and chill 3 hours or until mousse is set.
Prepare Strawberry Frosting: Beat 3/4 cup softened butter at medium speed 20 seconds or until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and 3/4 cup finely chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. Spread frosting on top and sides of cake.
Your suggestions were spot on! I find that most cakes I make improve when placed in the refrigerator or even freezer for hours and sometimes days. I did not have time to do this so much with this cake because I did not take into account having to back twice as my oven won't bake four layers evenly, only two at a time. I chilled a square cake pan in the freezer until I mixed the strawberries with the cream. Then a put the mousse in the cold pan and refrigerated it for a few hours. I chilled the first two layers while the second two baked, then chilled the second two layers until the mousse set. The cake was perfect! When frosting gets curdled looking, just keep whipping it and it will smooth out beautifully.
I am a southern woman, who loves to bake homemade, scratch cakes. This is a wonderful and beautiful cake; but it does take time to make it come out right. Bake the cake layers the day before you frost the cake. Let cake layers cool completely outside the pan and then wrap well in Saran wrap and put in the refrigerator. The next day make the gelatin filling, cover with Saran and let it cool in the refrigerator until it gets to the right consistency. It will take longer than 30 minutes. (Probably an hour or more )Give it a stir every now and then. Then when the gelatin holds its shape really well, make the frosting. Take the cake layers out of the fridge, put the cold gelatin between the cold layers and frost the cake. No slipping, sliding or mess. It is simply fabulous. But remember a fabulous cake does take time. Now to serve it.....let it get to a room temperature. If served too cold, it's not as good as when it sits out awhile to "marry," as we say in the Deep South.
I have never heard of unflavored gelatin in a can, it always comes in envelope packets in a box at my stores. 1/2 cup is waaaaaaaay too much, maybe try 2 envelopes ne x time. I would like to make this, but from the reviews, I am afraid to do so.
There are some things missing. First of all with 4 layers it is too heavy to not add yolks to create a denser cake. The mousse needed way more time to set. Let mine set for over an hour and the cake still slid off and created a disaster since the cake layers then broke apart as they slid off. What a cluster!!! Also, in the ingredients list it should list the 1 cup of water you need to add with the flour!!! Everything tasted good but what a mess and pain in the butt! Very dissapointed for a SL recipe!
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