Strawberry & Butterscotch Whipped Cream Cake From Jami Curl

April 22, 2021
33 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food & Prop Stylist: Alexis Anthony.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes one 9x13-inch cake
Author Notes

Pastry chef Jami Curl wanted the simplest possible vanilla cake to stir together at home—one that, without a mixer, you could be eating warm from the oven in under an hour. Her latest cookbook Baking Gold has lots of ideas for dolling it up with fruit and glazes and crunchy bits (pictured here: jammy strawberries and butterscotch whipped cream). And in Genius trick news: It keeps well days longer than your average cake—so you can try lots of them. Sprinkle fruit on top or stir it through before baking (Jami loves frozen blueberries, and says blackberries would also be good, but will bring a bit of extra moisture). After baking, top it with anything you’re in the mood for: Buttercream and sprinkles for a birthday cake. Toasted coconut, grated chocolate, spiced nuts. More sour cream, fresh fruit, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. And ice cream would never be a bad alternative (or addition!) to the whipped cream.

For smaller households, Genius Research Assistant Emily Hanhan has taken to making a half-batch of this batter and baking it off in an 8-inch round pan. When out of vanilla, she’s brilliantly swapped in the same measurement of orange or lemon zest. The compote and whipped cream halve (or even quarter) well, too.

In her book, Jami writes, “This batter makes the vanilla cake that changed me from an all-chocolate-cake-all-the-time kind of cake person to someone who genuinely enjoys vanilla cake. Vanilla–Sour Cream Batter can be dressed up with buttercream and sprinkles for birthdays or covered in crunchy streusel as a coffee cake.

“Every bakery needs a cake like this on their side. It’s easy to make, limitless in variation, and the flavor is perfectly vanilla. It’s not overwhelming or wacky and it works well for any cake you’re trying to bake. You can experiment by stirring swirls of spices, chocolate chips, fruit, jam and more right into the batter. You can make almost any flavor of cake you’d like!”

Recipe adapted slightly from Baking Gold: How to Bake (Almost) Everything with 3 Doughs, 2 Batters, and 1 Magic Mix (Ten Speed Press, February 2020).

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Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Strawberry & Butterscotch Whipped Cream Cake From Jami Curl
  • Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake
  • 3 1/3 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (20 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon (18 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) boiling water
  • Strawberry Compote & Butterscotch Whipped Cream
  • 4 cups (600 grams) frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups (800 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (480 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (72 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) pure vanilla extract
  1. Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a sturdy spoon to stir them all together.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sour cream with a fork, mixing until smooth. Add the oil and vanilla and use the fork to mix until they’re incorporated. The mixture will be smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and continue to stir until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated. The batter will turn very thick.
  6. Add the boiling water and stir until the batter is smooth and uniform with no traces of unmixed ingredients remaining.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth it evenly into the corners. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until it’s golden, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely (editor’s note: or steal slices warm from the oven).
  8. While the cake is cooling, make the Strawberry Compote and Butterscotch Whipped Cream. (See the steps below.)
  9. When you’re ready to serve the cake, there are two ways you can serve it: 1) Spoon the Strawberry Compote over the cake. Top the compote with the Butterscotch Whipped Cream, using the back of a spoon to give it some pretty swirls. Or 2) Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled cake out of the pan. Cut the cake into 12 equal pieces. Spoon some Strawberry Compote over each piece. Top with a generous dollop of Butterscotch Whipped Cream.
  10. The Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake will keep, tightly covered at room temperature, for several days. Once assembled with the Strawberry Compote and Butterscotch Whipped Cream, plan to enjoy this cake the day you assemble it. That said, if you cover and refrigerate it, it will not disappoint the next day or the day after that. Especially for breakfast.
  1. Strawberry Compote & Butterscotch Whipped Cream
  2. Make the Strawberry Compote: Combine the strawberries and vinegar in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the fruit is soft and has released some juice. Add the granulated sugar 1 cup (200 grams) at a time, stirring between additions until the sugar disappears. Increase the heat to medium and bring the fruit and sugar to a boil. Boil for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the compote cool before using. The compote can be spooned into a jar and refrigerated for up to 1 month.
  3. Make the Butterscotch Whipped Cream: Chill a bowl and a whisk. Pour the cream into the bowl and add the brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk the cream until stiff-ish peaks form. Take care that you don’t turn it into butter by overwhipping. Use immediately. (Yes, you can use a mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the cream!)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Debora Ajenblit
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    Nehal Thakkar
  • Therese
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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

61 Reviews

Leslie July 25, 2022
Easy to make cake but it was very dry. I even made a second batch and under cooked it but still dry. If I made it again I would plan for more filling and cream or even possibly cutting the cake horizontally into two layers first.
Ann D. June 23, 2021
This was an absolutely adorable video--loved how "real" you were about everything you did--and making decisions on the fly. The cake looks amazing and I'm going to make it after seeing you make it. It was fun to see and hear cameraman Mike, too!
Debora A. July 11, 2020
I made half the recipe as it was suggested that this was OK to do. It turned out well and it was a nice, moist cake, I can see how it can be a very versatile. batter. For half the recipe, I used the same cooking temperature/time as suggested. It browned more in the borders and the cake had a little "dome". I noticed in the video that the cake came out perfectly even and flat. How would you suggest adjusting the baking time for half a recipe?
Mike E. July 5, 2020
Really did not like this. Cake was bland and dry and compote was wayyyy too sweet! Tried to salvage the remainder by mixing a little of it in with plain yogurt for breakfast and it was still too cloying.
Masi'sMothi76 June 30, 2020
Oh so yummy! I did make two changes to the strawberry sauce, adding 1.5 C of sugar instead of 4 (Yikes!). I also added 2 T of Chambord to the sauce during the boiling process.

Will definitely make it again!
Nehal T. May 30, 2020
The cake was excellent! I agree with some other reviews the texture is a little dry but the compote and whipped cream would counteract that. However, I added 1 cup of sugar to the strawberry compote and it was too sweet, 4 cups of sugar would be just too much! I added some lemon zest and a pinch of salt to counteract the sweetness. I just put a dollop of regular whipped cream on top.
R F. May 30, 2020
We just made this cake and did not love it. I was short on sour cream, so supplemented with about 1/4 c of Greek yogurt. The cake was really dense and dry, and didn't taste like much. I also made the compote, using mixed berries rather than just strawberries. 4c of sugar is a LOT of sugar. If I make the compote again, I'll use half that amount. My son and I are pretty disappointed, since we love berries and cake. This was bland and just overly sweet.
Amy May 7, 2020
I’m sorry but I didn’t like this cake.Lovely video, nice effort, but no. It’s fine, just not something I would make again. I’m always thinking that I’ll find the holy grail of one bowl, no-mixer cake, but I never do. For me, there’s no escaping the creaming method. When using good ingredients, go the extra mile.
RaquelO April 27, 2020
Made it. Loved it. Easy recipe. Came out lovely. Not too sweet. Great recipe for older kids in the kitchen (I'd say 10+, but that depends on your child). I helped my daughter with this one. We had it plain one night and then with ice cream the next. I just want it for breakfast!
strawbaby April 26, 2020
I'm not a baker, and by that I mean I almost NEVER bake. But I watched the video of Kristen making this cake, and thought, "Why don't I ever bake?" It looked so easy.

And it was. SO easy. So much more delicious than I expected from that humble list of ingredients. I made a half recipe, by the way, to fit my little vintage Mirro aluminum 9 X 6 pan, and it was perfect for two for a week of indulgence.

AND, it lasted all week. I made it last Sunday and only today did it seem a little less fresh. We had it totally plain on day one, with ice cream on day three, and for day four (or was it five?) I melted some sugar-free strawberry jam and spooned it over the cake, finishing with some canned whipped cream.

I'm on your site now because I have to print the recipe and stash it so I don't lose it. And did I mention I am definitely now a baker? Thanks. :)
Lisa L. April 23, 2020
Kristen, I enjoyed your video so much more than the recipe. Made it yesterday for my daughter's birthday and am happy that she was thrilled, but I'm much more discriminating. The cake had a beautiful crumb, but it was too dense and hard and I baked it for only 35 minutes at which time it was beautifully golden and a cake tester came out clean. Smelled wonderful when it came out of the oven, but I didn't care for it (and I love vanilla and sour cream!). Made the compote w/a frozen berry combo & I felt that it was just flatly sweet. It needed something more than the apple cider vinegar to balance the 4 cups of sugar. And the whipped cream was fine, but, although I love butterscotch, I prefer a lot less sugar in my whipped cream. Overall, I think this recipe was just SWEET and tasted boring as a result.
Therese April 20, 2020
Terrific! Mine came out a little dense, like a coffee cake but no one is complaining here. I didn’t do the fruit or whipped cream. I had extra sour cream and chocolate chips do I made Amanda Hesser’s topping from her chocolate dump cake. Really good. I look forward to topping with summer berries this summer.
Denise H. April 20, 2020
Amazing! So simple, and I didn’t have the topping ingredients, so I just used some homemade salted caramel sauce (also amazing) warmed and poured over the hot cake. The sweet of the caramel was perfectly tempered by the not quite so sweet cake. The little bit of salt brought it over the top. My husband (and I) could not stop eating it! He said it was an explosion of flavors that kept coming. I didn’t expect such a strong review! This will definitely go into the rotation. Can’t wait to make it with some different toppings!
Angelag83 April 19, 2020
All I heard was, yumm....
Yvette April 19, 2020
Made this cake yesterday with my 5 year old and it came together so easily. I used Greek vanilla bean yogurt instead of sour cream. It smelled wonderful baking; I served it with whipped cream and everyone enjoyed it. I find the crumb a bit heavy but will definitely have another go at making this cake.
Aliwaks April 19, 2020
Hello — funny I always cringe when I see reviews of my recipes that start with I didn’t use any of the ingredients and changed the directions and I was amazing/horrible/not what I expected ——- but due to circumstances beyond my control I had no sour cream and was just short 1/2-ish cup of flour, only had corn oil or olive oil (should’ve gone olive in retrospect) — so I made a concoction out if nonfat plain yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese and lemon juice, add buckwheat flour to make up for absence — my only issue really only issue is as I stirred the batter - I felt rather like Mrs Padmore slogging with a giant wooden spoon as I peered longingly at my kitchen aid Mixer — Am using blueberries rather than strawberries because if the buckwheat - and because I haven’t any —-other than thats taste is great texture is fine I look forward to trying again with proper ingredients
Susanna B. April 19, 2020
Exceedingly sweet. Halved the sugar in compote (4 cups for 600 grams of fruit? WHAT?) and also cut down amount in whipped cream and still found final product challenging to eat. Simple cake + Berries + Cream is a favourite combo of mine but I won't be making again.
Kristen M. April 20, 2020
Susanne, thanks for your note—I'm sorry to hear it. I agree that for people who prefer less-sweet desserts the compote would be a little much, but that part of the recipe is very flexible to your tastes.
Preetha S. April 18, 2020
Loved this...only had a half cup of yogurt and half cup of cream but but it worked great...added chopped apples and used the granola bar crumble on top...needed a little longer in the oven but result is a perfect moist apple cake 😁
CookinMama April 18, 2020
I made this today with KAF Measure for Measure GF flour. Question: why the parchment and not conventional grease and flour/sugar/ground nuts?
Kristen M. April 20, 2020
I'm not exactly sure why other than it ensures the cake will pop out cleanly, but (especially if you're serving in the pan) feel free to do it your way!
Judy April 27, 2020
Were you happy making it with Measure For Measure GF Flour? I am GF and want to try this. Thanks for your help.
emma April 18, 2020
I'll be making this again! Made a few changes based on what I had on hand (whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream; melted virgin coconut oil instead of canola) and how lazy I was feeling. Skipped the compote and swirled several spoonfuls of strawberry jam along the top of the batter before baking. I was skeptical that brown sugar would be enough to make a butterscotch whipped cream, but it turned out awesome. Even my mom, who believes all desserts should be chocolate, enjoyed it. I'll be picking up this cookbook for sure.

My only complaint was that the crumb was a smidge on the heavy side. Tender and moist but not quite light enough for my ideal cake. Next time I might use cake flour if I can find it (who knows these days?) or add a little cornstarch to bring down the protein content of the flour.