Strawberries ‘n Cream Cloud Cake
On the other hand we all know that there are times when we want to impress and only our very finest will do. Who wouldn't be impressed to the 4th power when you present this wonder. Since it uses dried strawberries (which I've used with great success) it will be doubly impressive in the winter for the holidays or other special occasions.
The cake it's self and the Chambord syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Featured Pinch Tips Video
- 2 c
- all-purpose flour
- 1 c
- cake flour
- 1 Tbsp
- baking powder
- 1/4 tsp
- baking soda
- 1/2 tsp
- 1 c
- unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened at room temp
- 1 3/4 c
- granulated sugar
- eggs, room temp
- 1 Tbsp
- pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c
- plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temp
- 1.2 ounce bag freeze-dried strawberries, roughly chopped (optional—i bought mine at costco)
- 1/2 c
- 1/2 c
- 2 Tbsp
- chambord liqueur
- vanilla bean, split in half length-wise and the inside “paste” scraped out with a paring knife and reserved (*see note)
- 1 Tbsp
- plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 qt
- whipping cream, very cold (4 cups)
- 1 c
- powdered sugar
CHAMBORD SIMPLE SYRUP
VANILLA-BEAN WHIPPED CREAM
1Preheat the oven to 350°
Prepare two, 9” cake pans by lightly buttering them and lining them with parchment rounds, and then lightly sprinkling in some flour on the bottom and on the sides, and tapping the excess out.
2To prepare the cake batter:
Begin by sifting together the all-purpose flour, the cake flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium-large bowl; set aside these dry ingredients for a moment.
3Next, add the softened butter and the sugar to the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and cream the two together on medium-low speed until very pale and light and fluffy (for about 5-8 minutes), scraping down the sides about half-way through the two thoroughly, as it will help create a lighter, more “airy” cake).
4Be sure to take the time to cream the two thoroughly, as it will help create a lighter, more “airy” cake
5Once the butter/sugar is thoroughly creamed, begin adding the eggs in one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated into the butter/sugar before adding in the next one; next, add in the vanilla extract and allow it mix in.
6Next, reduce the mixer to low speed, and begin adding the “dry” ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating the two, beginning and ending with the flour; mix only until all ingredients are blended in, being careful not to over-mix the batter; finally, gently fold the chopped, freeze-dried strawberries (if using) into the batter.
7Pour the batter in equal amounts into the buttered/lined cake pans, tapping the pans several times on your counter to allow air bubbles to come up.
Place the pans into the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean; once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and allow them to cool completely on wire racks before filling and frosting.
(If baking the cake a day or two in advance, wrap the completely cooled cakes in plastic wrap and store them in the fridge until ready to assemble.)
8To finish and assemble the cake:
9cut any unevenness off of the tops of each cooled cake (a “dome” for example, or the bubbly “skin”), and cut each cake in half horizontally through the center to create 4 thinner layers (reserve the two layers that have the flat “bottoms” from the cake pans to use as the top two layers of the cake for a prettier, more even finish).
10Place one of the cut layers (with it's most even side up) in front of you on a cake stand or large plate, and with a pastry brush or spoon, add a generous amount of the Chambord Simple Syrup to the cake layer to moisten it well
Add a generous amount of the Vanilla-Bean Whipped Cream and smooth it out with a off-set spatula or knife, and then arrange about 1 - 1 ¼ cup's worth of sliced strawberries over the whipped cream; repeat the process with another layer.
12Then for the third layer, use one of the two “flat-bottomed” layers you set aside, flat side up, and repeat the process with the simple syrup, whipped cream and strawberries.
With the final layer, finish off by adding only the simple syrup and then just frosting the outside of the entire cake generously with the remaining Vanilla-Bean Whipped Cream
13Add a few sliced fresh strawberries on top for garnish (perhaps indicating where each slice is), and store in fridge to keep very cold. Serve fresh, and cold.
14Chambord Simple Syrup:
In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and the water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat; once it has simmered, turn the heat off and stir to completely dissolve the sugar; cool the simple syrup completely.
You can place it into the fridge to expedite the process, and once cooled, add in the Chambord liqueur, stir to combine; keep covered in fridge until you're ready to soak the cake layers with it.
15Vanilla-Bean Whipped Cream:
Combine the vanilla bean “paste” and the vanilla extract in a small ramekin, and set aside for a moment; add the cold whipping cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whip the cream until it begins to thicken.
this as closely to when you'd like to frost the cake as possible, for best results.)
16Next, add in vanilla extract/paste and the powdered sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
Use immediately to frost the cake with, or cover and place into the fridge to keep very cold until you're ready to frost the cake with it. (Whipped cream is best when used almost immediately for optimal “fluffiness”; the longer it sits, the more air is loses, so prepare