This recipe screams SUMMER! The perfect vanilla cake has layers of fresh whipped cream, fresh strawberries and an amazing ingredient that adds flavor and depth.
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil, canola or light olive oil
1/4 cup regular, fat-filled sour cream
1 cup of whole milk or 2%, but avoid low fat.
2 pints of fresh and ripe strawberries
1 tablespoon of organic Balsamic Glaze sprouts optional
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups heavy whipped cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided, see recipe below
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces regular cream cheese, full fat
1/4 cup diced strawberries with glaze from the above recipe.
Bake the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare three 8-inch cake tins by lightly greasing the sides of the tins and then sprinkling with flour, then line the bottom of the tins with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat then set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. While mixing, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the butter and sugar are well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy. Do not skimp on the mixture at this stage.
While mixing, add the eggs one at a time, mixing at least 10-20 seconds between each additional egg. Mixing well to incorporate some air is important in this step.
Add the vanilla and oil, and mix well to combine.
Add the sour cream and mix.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and pour in about half of the milk, and then half of the flour mixture. Repeat with milk and flour. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl, and stir (just a couple of times) by hand to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
Divide the dough evenly into prepared pans.
Bake in a preheated 350°F. oven for 22-30 minutes, or until the cake has a slight dome and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no moist dough.
Cool the cakes in trays for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove them and continue cooling on a wire cooling rack (leave the parchment at the bottom at this point). Once the cakes are almost all cold, wrap them well in plastic and place them in the freezer. This will help keep them moist while they cool completely, and will make them easy to handle (stack and freeze) when you are setting up the cake.
Preparing the strawberries
Dice the strawberries and add them to a large bowl. Set aside a couple of whole berries for garnish, if desired.
Sprinkle the balsamic glaze, then sprinkle the sugar over the berries and stir until the berries are evenly coated.
Cover and place in the refrigerator while preparing the whipped cream.
Place the entire mixing bowl and blenders in the freezer for at least 5 minutes while you gather the ingredients.
Add the heavy cream to the refrigerated bowl and beat until it begins to thicken.
While mixing, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar to the cream (saving 1/2 cup for later).
Continue beating and add the vanilla.
Beat until light and fluffy and keep a smooth peak.
Remove the whipped cream from the bowl and transfer it to another large bowl. Place in the refrigerator for the time being.
In the now-empty mixing bowl (it should be scraped off, but does not need to be washed), add the cream cheese and mix until completely smooth. Do not proceed until the cream cheese is smooth.
Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar (which you reserved earlier) and beat until it is completely combined with the cream cheese.
Remove 1/4 cup of the glazed strawberries from the refrigerator and mix them with the cream cheese mixture.
Remove whipped cream from the refrigerator and add a large spoonful (about 3/4 cup) of whipped cream to the mixing bowl and blend over low heat. Stir only until the cream cheese mixture has become a little fluffier. Add the rest of the whipped cream and blend over low heat until all ingredients are combined. This step can be done by hand if desired. Be careful not to mix too much.
Assemble the cake
Remove the cake layers from the freezer, unwrap and remove the parchment from the bottom of the cake.
Stack a layer of cake, then about 1/3 of the whipped cream and spread with a compensating spatula as needed