This recipe makes an impressively tall, four-layer cake, perfect for celebrations. If that seems like too much cake for you, just freeze half of the cake wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap. You can defrost it, slice it in half, and fill it with berries and cream the next time the mood strikes you. If you choose to save the cake for later, make sure to cut the strawberries and cream in this recipe by half. Use the freshest, sweetest berries you can find; I love buying berries from the farmers market this time of year because they are bright red, all the way through to the core.
Try adding a couple of tablespoons of chopped mint, some lime zest, or a couple of teaspoons of rosewater to the strawberries for extra flavor.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the sour cream, zest, and extract.
Gently mix the flour into the butter mixture until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, hull and slice the strawberries. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and stir gently. Taste the berries and add more sugar if they need more sweetness. Let the strawberries macerate for at least 15 minutes.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, then add in 1 tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the mascarpone.
To assemble the cake, slice each cake round horizontally to make 2 layers. Place a layer of the cake on a serving plate or pedestal, cover with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a third of the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, making sure to save a spoonful of cream and a spoonful of strawberries to garnish the top. Enjoy immediately. This cake is best served on the day that it is made.
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.