As June, Strawberry Month here at Urban Cottage Life, draws to a close, it’s fitting to share a recipe that makes a fine Canada Day celebration treat: Strawberry Cream Cake. I daresay this is the quintessential strawberry treat, with its strawberry shortcake connotations.
Happy Canada Day!
Canadians from coast to coast to coast are celebrating our nation’s 153rd birthday tomorrow, July 1. In 2020, due to the pandemic, many of our major national celebrations will be virtual and there won’t be the usual fireworks shows. but I know that I’ll be hearing fireworks in my neighbourhood as people set them off at (hopefully) small gatherings.
When I first published this post in 2015 I was still living in the urban cottage, which had been there for about two-thirds of Canada’s lifetime. What history those walls have witnessed, and still do, even though I’m no longer there to be part of it. Regardless, perhaps it’s no wonder I hanker after old-style recipes this time of year, including this simple and ever so patriotically red-and-white strawberry cream cake.
Strawberry Cream Cake
The cake itself is a simple two-egg layer cake that I’ve been making for years from a cookbook received as a wedding gift back in the mists of time. Nothing fancy, just a yellow cake flavoured with vanilla that can be mixed up and baked in just over 30 minutes total. The filling is whipping cream fortified with confectioner’s sugar, just sweet enough to set off the tartness of the fresh local berries that are the real star of this dessert.
The recipe makes two eight-inch pans. I’ve used both layers in one cake, but found there was too much cake for the delicate filling (although my guests certainly didn’t complain). I now cut each cake layer in half horizontally, making two layer cakes, and there’s still enough whipped cream filling for both. That’s a great way to both maximize your baking efforts and win friends and influence people. Yes, I often give them away.
Cakes like Strawberry Cream Cake remind me of the desserts Mom used to make on the farm. She had such a huge strawberry patch that she used to set boxes of them at the roadside for passersby. Living in my lovely old cottage with its crunchy gravel driveway that reminded me of the farm laneway made me nostalgic for the best of country life: simple generosity, welcoming company with something made from scratch, and sending them home with a sweet treat.
- 1-3/4 cups white spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 pint (473 ml) whipping cream (35%)
- 2/3 cup confectioners (icing) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pint strawberries (of course, you can put as many strawberries as you like on your cakes)
Pre-heat the oven to 375℉. Butter two 8-inch baking pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds, butter those lightly, and then flour the pans.
Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside, then combine the milk and vanilla.
Cream the butter until light, then add the sugar gradually. Scraping the bowl once, continue to cream until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs individually, beating well after each.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients in thirds, with half the milk mixture in between. Beat just until smooth, taking care not to overmix. I like to stop using the mixture when the last of the flour is barely incorporated and use a spatula to scrape the bowl and fold everything together.
Pour half the batter into each prepared pan and smooth. Rap the pans on the counter two or three times so any air bubbles come to the surface (I keep forgetting this step!). Place the pans on the centre rack of the oven and bake for about 22 minutes, or until the cakes pull slightly away from the sides of the pans and the tops are springy.
Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of each pan and invert the cakes onto the wire rack. Remove the layer of parchment paper and (gingerly) turn the cakes right side up to finish cooling.
Using a serrated bread knife and a steady hand, or a handy wire cake cutting tool (my choice), slice each of the cakes in half vertically.
Whip the cream until it just starts to thicken. Add the vanilla and gradually sprinkle in the confectioners sugar and continue whipping until it’s thick and spreadable with a soft consistency.
Cut the washed and trimmed berries in half or in thick slices, depending on their size.
To assemble the cakes, allow half the cream filling and berries for each cake. Spread a bit more than half of the first cake's portion of cream on the bottom layer, staying about an inch away from the edge. Top the cream with a single layer of the cut strawberries, then place the top of the cake over. Press gently until the cream filling and strawberries appear at the edge of the cake. Lavish the rest of the cream allocated to this cake on top and garnish with more strawberries.
Repeat with the second cake.
Looking for More Simple Cakes?
I generally prefer the cakes I make to be more on the side of rusticity and charm than architectural creations with perfect decorations. Here are a few cakes that satisfy my tastes: Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Jam Buttercream, Black Forest Cake, and Queen Elizabeth Cake.
First Published 2015 07 01
Republished 2020 06 30