This cake is absolute heaven. Lightly sweet with full strawberry flavor. A nice twist on your traditional strawberry shortcake. Has the hint of vanilla in the cake that is light and airy, the layer has fresh strawberry reduction which adds just the right amount of sweetness, top this with fresh cut strawberries and beautiful whipped cream and the outside?? Well nothing short of amazing since this is Swiss Meringue Buttercream and that is not your typical buttercream by any means of the imagination. Put them all together and you have a burst of yumminess all in one bite.
I make this mostly on those nice summer days when strawberries are at their peak and you want to serve a cake that is not overly sweet and heavy after a nice cook out or dinner. Don’t be fooled though frozen strawberries can also be used in part of this so if you have the need for in the dead of winter it can be done. The trick to sweet tasting fresh strawberries in winter will be explained below. Let’s get this party started !!!!
Some of the recipes I am going to share with you are from my dear friend and pastry chef Gretchen Price. She has a website at Gretchensbakery.com that she is rebuilding the site at the moment and if the recipe is not posted yet, I will place ingredients and instructions at the bottom of this post if they are, I will attach a link to those recipes 🙂 The reason I am posting her recipes – they are really amazing and closest to how mine are but I will let you know where some of my modifications have been made.
I make all the components to this recipe ahead of time except for the whipped cream and assemble the day of serving. The whipped cream does not take long and I want that fresh when using. My cakes are made and frozen in layers also well plastic wrapped, strawberries are cleaned and sliced, reduction I have made up to 4 days ahead and the Swiss meringue buttercream also done days ahead and have even had it ready and frozen up to a month before.
What You Will Need:
This list is for all the recipes needed so do not be afraid of the long list since it is for 5 actual parts to this amazing cake. 🙂
1 – 8 inch cake pan that is 3-4 inches deep or 2 – 8 inch cake pans 2 inches deep
Parchment Paper cut to the size of pan/pans using
Stand Mixer with Whip and Paddle Attachments or Hand Mixer with Beater Blades and Whip Blade
Non-Stick Baking Spray “OR” http://www.gretchensbakery.com/professional-bakery-pan-grease/ (this is what I use works the best and I can make it which saves money)
Microwave Safe Bowl or Container
2 Mixing Bowl Medium Sized
Double Boiler or (Sauce Pan filled with an inch of water and a larger Stainless Bowl for the top)
Off Set Spatula (for decorating)
Piping Bags and Tips (for decorating)
Measuring Spoons and Cups
2 Balloon Wire Whisks or just 1 if you wash and reuse
1 Medium Sauce Pan
1 Potato Masher
Cake Board (size of cake you are making)
1 Wooden Spoon
1 Small Microwave Safe Bowl for melting gelatin
Small Air Tight Container (for Strawberry Reduction after it is done)
- 1 Recipe Vanilla Sponge Cake http://www.gretchensbakery.com/vanilla-sponge-cake-recipe/
- 1 Recipe of my Fresh Strawberry Reduction
- 1 Full Recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream http://www.gretchensbakery.com/swiss-buttercream-recipe/
- 2 Cups Stabilized Whipped Cream http://www.gretchensbakery.com/stabilized-whipped-cream-for-icing-cakes/
- 1 Large Container of Fresh Strawberries (I always get 2 so I have enough to pick the best for the top) (you can never have enough strawberries)
- 1 Vanilla Bean Seeds – split – remove seeds and add to sugar in recipe (use fingers tips to rub into sugar)
Strawberries out of season?? No problem 🙂 You are in the middle of winter and the strawberry selection is low so what to do to make your strawberries pop with flavor is as simple as adding a teaspoon of sugar — oh wait,,, that is exactly what you do
Wash your strawberries as you would normally do, while they are still a little wet add a little sugar mix them around and place them in the refrigerator for later use. This little trick adds the sweetness that is missing in some strawberries at winter time especially if they have that fiber taste to them.
Be sure to place them in a colander that is placed inside a bowl in the refrigerator since juices will start to come out of the strawberries and you do not want them soaking in this unless you plan on putting them over ice-cream – then by all means let them swim !! 🙂 If using these for a filling like this recipe then I slice them right before using them and dap them dry with paper towels before placing them in the cake. Yuk Soggy cake 😮
Instructions: Putting it all together
Wash in cold water “all” your fresh strawberries and pick out the best ones for decorating the top and or sides of your cake, place those aside on paper towels to dry.
With the rest, using your paring knife and cutting board, clean and hull the tops and center of the strawberries then slice into thin slices and lay them out on paper towels as well to dry.
Key Note: If you, like me, make your Buttercream ahead and froze this you are going to want to thaw it in the fridge one day and then place it on the counter and get to room temperature so you can place it back in your stand mixer and bring it back to its original fluffiness before using.
Place your cake bottom on cake board, not shown in pictures but place a thin layer of buttercream on top. Then with piping bag and no tip required make a damn around the edge 2 levels high using buttercream. This will hold in your filling. Do not worry if you go over the edge of the cake you can fix that latter. Place this in refrigerator for a few minutes to harden up a tad only about 5 minutes should work.
Take it back out and add a good amount of the strawberry reduction in the center and spread out evenly with offset spatula.
Add your fresh cut strawberries up to 2 layers or more depending how thin you cut them or add another layer to your buttercream damn and pile them on. 🙂
Add a nice heaping amount of your stabilized whipped cream over the strawberries and then your other layer of cake.
With the offset spatula work the sides as shown and adding more buttercream to fill gaps if needed to seal the two layers together. Place in refrigerator to firm up and seal.
After it is firm, decorate the outside of your cake with either rosettes like mine or whatever design you want. I have also done basket weave and that looks very stunning.
I always leave the top open for more of the reduction and those special strawberries you placed aside. Before placing final strawberries on cake – heat up a small amount of your reduction in a microwave and using a small food safe paint brush, paint each one with the reduction to add color, sweetness, and sheen to the strawberries before placing them on the cake – this also seals the outside of the fruit from drying out while on display. Refrigerate when done.