Few things bring out such sentimental feelings as childhood birthdays. I so vividly remember my mom making me this cake from my favorite childhood cookbook Fanny at Chez Panisse and am happy to report that after making it myself, its as good as I remember. I was asked to make a birthday cake for a friend and immediately was set on this recipe. We had a beautiful flat of strawberries from Watsonville, CA (the strawberry capitol of the world!) and a lovely amount of heavy cream, perfect for whipped cream. This cake is normally a breeze with an electric mixture but our kitchen recently lost theirs, so I made it the old fashion way with nothing but elbow grease, and I've got to say, it was quite the workout, though if you're making the decadent cake, its probably not the worst thing to get a work out in. The cake is not limited to just strawberries and cream, all summer fruits work well, whole or preserved. This cake is a classic french 'quatre-quarts' and can be made chocolate very easily with the substitution of cocoa powder.
Strawberry Cream 1234 Cake
3 cups cake flour*
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
Combine all ingredients, beat cream until whipped.
3 pints strawberries, sliced into discs
Make sure your eggs, flour and butter are at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with butter and tap in a bit of flour, no more than a tablespoon for both pans. Measure out all ingredients. Separate eggs. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Fold in egg yolks and in thirds add flour mixture while slowly adding milk. Add vanilla. Beat egg whites until they form glossy peaks and fold in. In prepared pans, pour in batter. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating racks in oven around the 10 minute mark. Remove from oven and let cool. Run knife around sides of pan and gently flip onto a plate. When completely cool, gently cut each cake in half with a serrated knife and transfer to cake plate lined with wax paper. Set 1st layer on pan and smooth out a dollop of whipped cream. Lay out a ring of strawberry discs and repeat 3 times. Ice cake with whipped cream and enjoy!
*Lets be real, who has cake flour lying around? I sure didn't. To substitute simply take all purpose flour and for every cup replace 2 tbsp with corn starch. Be sure to sift the mixture thoroughly (1 cup all purpose flour - 2 tbsp replaced + 2 tbsp corn starch, sifted 3 times over)