My work buddy Hannah is leaving us. She is moving on to bigger and better things, and we all wish her well of course, but we will miss her! To celebrate our time together and send her off with best wishes, we are doing a potluck tonight at work. Now, you know, with me it’s all or nothing – I’ll either bring a jar of pickles and paper plates, or I’ll bake.
Today, we bake.
Last night I prepared the strawberry filling. I wanted to be sure and have plenty of cooling time, as you want this to be completely cool before you assemble your cake. In a medium saucepan on medium low heat, bring 2-1/2 cups of sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2-1/2 Tbsp of corn starch to a simmer. You can add a dash of flavor if you like – I put in a bit of lemon extract. Let this simmer, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken. Pour into a non-reactive bowl, lay wax paper directly on the filling and refrigerate. I did use frozen strawberries instead of fresh (because that’s what I had!) and ran it through my Bullet to break them up.
Now for the custard layer…2 egg yolks, 2 tsp of corn starch and 1 Tbsp of sugar mixed well in a bowl. Next time I will use more sugar, but since this layer in this particular cake is more for moisture and to relieve the starkness of the strawberry filling, it’s just fine as is. Now in a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of milk and 1tsp of vanilla until warm. Wisk it into the egg mixture, then put it all back in the saucepan and simmer on low, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Put this in a bowl and top with wax paper just like the strawberry filling, and chill.
This is a simple buttermilk layer cake. I used this recipe, and increased it by half, giving me 3-9″ layers instead of 2-8″. Be sure and watch your baking time – mine was done in 20 minutes instead of 25, so you may want to start checking at 15-18 minutes.
Make your frosting. I used my old whipped cream cheese favorite – 8oz of cream cheese whipped with 3/4 cup regular sugar and a tsp of vanilla, then drizzle in 1-1/2 cups super cold whipping cream, then whip the daylights out of it until light and fluffy. Fill a piping bag and make a ring around the bottom layer to hold the fillings in place. Smear on the strawberries (amount to taste), then half the custard. Next layer, repeat. Then top with the final layer and cover the entire thing with the frosting you have left. Now, I happened to have some milk chocolate ganache laying around, and strawberries + custard + chocolate? Yeah! So I drizzled that on top.
My hope is that this super moist and tender cake will hold together! I did have a crack develop in the top layer (I usually don’t level my layers, so this is always a risk) but I hurried up and put in the fridge to chill well before transporting tonight.
I will try to get a picture of the inside when we cut this concoction and update this post. I hope my Hannah enjoys her last night with us, and especially hope this cake leaves her with sweet memories!