Friends, I am coming off a most exciting, fun, and food filled weekend. I was lucky enough to participate in the IFBC (International Food Blogger’s Conference) here in Seattle. I found some of the content helpful, some of it inspiring, some of it not relevant to what I do, and some of it simply boring. Pretty standard for a conference, right? For me, the real value and the tremendous fun came in hanging out with some really wonderful people eating, drinking, laughing, and talking with one another. In addition to hanging out with old friends, I got to make some new ones including Megan from A Sweet Spoonful and Sarah from Lettuce Eat Kale. I am excited to know two more lovely women in the Bay area! And I finally finally got to meet Peabody.
I kicked Randy and the boys out strongly suggested Randy take the boys up to Lopez so that I could invite some women to stay with me and he graciously accepted my suggestion. That freed up some beds in our house so that Cheryl, Tracy, Denise, Joy, and Kristina could stay at Hotel Dana Treat. I was so thrilled to be able to not only share our house with them, but also meals at some of the best restaurants Seattle has to offer. We had sandwiches and incredible views at Matt’s in the Market, perfectly proportioned toppings on perfectly charred pizza crusts at Delancey, and an unbelievable, no-holds-barred tasting menu at the new hot spot Staple and Fancy.
I baked some treats for my fellow food bloggers (including these cookies) – of course I did – but alas, this strawberry cake was not for them. I actually baked this cake to bring to a Sunday night dinner with friends. Normally, I make something much more simple for a casual dinner – especially on a Sunday. But John and Lauren’s son Jaden is a dessert lover of the highest order and I feel it is my duty to keep sophisticating his dessert palate. Also, Randy and I had just celebrated our 8th anniversary and Randy loves strawberries. I don’t think I gave strawberries their due this summer so I made this cake for him too.
As I mention on a semi-regular basis, layer cakes and I are not the best of friends. In general, they would not be invited to my birthday party (as my 3 year old is fond of saying). I would make an exception for this cake because it was very well-behaved. It is still a layer cake, meaning that the cakes need to be baked, split, and filled. Frosting needs to be made and the whole thing needs to be assembled without looking like the leaning tower of Pisa. But the filling is nothing more than jam and fresh strawberries and the frosting is made from cream cheese and butter (no multi-step buttercream here), and really the whole thing was just a joy to make. And to eat.
One Year Ago: Mixed Berry Spoon Cake
Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting
Whenever I make a cake like this one, I always make the cake part days ahead and freeze them once they are cool. I allow them to thaw out overnight before proceeding with the recipe.
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup seedless strawberry jam
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups cake flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 large eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6 tbsp. plus 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
2 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced, divided
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in sugar, then jam. Beat cream in medium bowl until peaks for. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover; chill until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time beating to blend after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream; beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides, then turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely.
Using large serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake half, cut side up, on cake plate. Spread 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, then ¾ cup frosting. Top with ¾ cup sliced berries, arranging in a single layer. Repeat 2 more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and berries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread 2 cups frosting over top and sides of cake in thin layer to coat completely. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Stir remaining 1/3 cup jam to loosen. Spoon teaspoonfuls onto top and sides of cake, then use back of spoon to swirl jam decoratively into frosting.
(Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake slices with remaining sliced strawberries alongside.