CONTEST WINNER: Strawberry Layer Cake
Serving Size / Yield
- Cake layers:
- 2 1/2 C. cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. table salt
- 1 3/4 C. sugar
- 10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 C. buttermilk, at room temperature
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 6 lg. egg yolks, at room temperature
- 3 lg. egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 C. strawberries, sliced
- Vanilla frosting:
- 1 1/2 C. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb. (4 C.) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9"x2" round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.
Add flour mixture to now empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.
Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
Assembling the cake:
Flip both cakes on to a plate, so the smoother and straighter side is facing you. Frost the surface of both cakes (not the sides yet). On one of the cake layers, place half of the sliced strawberries, and then place the second cake on top like a sandwich. Cover the whole cake with the rest of the frosting (I had some frosting left for decorative piping). Decorate the top with the other half of the strawberries.
With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. After every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.