Looking for a fresh, summery dessert that is sure to impress people without spending hours in the kitchen? This strawberry layer cake is the answer. Isn’t it gorgeous? Whether you are hosting a baby shower, graduation gathering or a memorial day barbecue, this dessert will wow your guests.
Think of it as a twist on strawberry shortcake. The cake layer is a cross between pound cake and shortcake – not too sweet, a great crumb, and it holds up well to the whipped cream without getting soggy. The filling? Simply sweetened vanilla whipped cream and freshly sliced strawberries. Can you believe it? It looks like so much more. You can’t beat it in simplicity, taste or presentation. If you have a smaller crowd, you can easily make half of the recipe and still have enough. But I love the four layers, and it is just as good the second day.
Another hint: these cakes freeze well and are a snap to put together. Make and freeze the cakes ahead of time. Simply defrost and fill the day of your event, and you have a knockout dessert that will impress (and feed) a crowd. Sometimes simple is best. You don’t have to fill others in, though. Let them think you slaved for hours over this beauty. Your secret is safe with me.
Grease the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the lined pans.
For the cake batter:
Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. In a small bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth. Cake batter will be thick.
Divide the batter evenly in the 2 pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.
Hull and slice the strawberries in a medium bowl and set aside.
To make the filling:
Place the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until firm peaks form.
Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with a thick layer of whipped cream and scatter with sliced strawberries. Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with whipped cream and strawberries. Repeat with the process with the second cake. Decorate with strawberries. Chill until serving.