Bake

Strawberry & Butterscotch Whipped Cream Cake From Jami Curl

April 13, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food & Prop Stylist: Alexis Anthony.
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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Strawberry & Butterscotch Whipped Cream Cake From Jami Curl
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes one 9x13-inch cake
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  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!)

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