This Sunday, I went to a Brazilian-themed party that I later found out was a party in honor of the World Cup game with Brazil playing against the Ivory Coast. I arrived just in time to see the recap of the game, but since I’m not into sports, I was completely okay with that. I just wish I could have heard all the Brazilian guests yell after seeing their country win. I love witnessing that type of excitement.
The reasons I made this strawberry shortcake cake were threefold (one of my mom’s favorite words): 1) I had bought a bunch of strawberries at Costco the day before; 2) I have been wanting to make this type of cake ever since I saw this beautiful one on the Good Mood Food blog, an Irish blog written by Donal Skehan; and 3) I wanted to bring a cake to the party. I chose this cake over the Pioneer Woman’s version because she used sour cream in the cake, and you know how I feel about sour cream.
I changed around the recipe for the cake so much that I can only say that I was inspired by the Donal’s recipe. For instance, instead of melting the butter, I blended it with the sugar as is done with most cakes I’ve made. Also, I felt that half of a stick of butter was not enough for a good cake, so I used a whole stick. The other major change I made was to sweeten the whipped cream instead. I couldn’t imagine eating whipped cream without sugar! Blech!
Once the strawberry filling was placed on top of the cake layers, they started to slide (along with the filling), and it became a huge mess. Also, I was already running late, so that is why I didn’t take photos of the process. I
angrily threw placed the cake layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, I made more sweetened whipped cream and covered the entire cake after cleaning the edges. I was very pleased with the end result. This was a very photogenic cake. I speak in the past tense because everyone ate that cake so quickly. It was gone before I knew it. Anyway, after I had frosted the cake, I placed it back in the freezer for 15 minutes just to be safe. After placing more strawberries on the cake and taking photos of it, I got ready to go to the party.
I placed the cake in the passenger seat and surrounded it with my camera bag and a VCR that I am planning to donate or recycle that was sitting in the backseat of my car. I then wrapped everything together with the seatbelt :). It worked. The cake didn’t move one inch.
I drove up to my friend’s house and was greeted by the sight of bright green and yellow shirts with “BRASIL” written on the front. I almost turned around because I didn’t recognize any of the people on the stairs (remember my social phobia?). I reminded myself that there were people I did know inside the apartment, and that thought helped me muster up the courage to get out of the car. I hid as much as I could behind the cake and cake stand and muttered a brief “Olá” to the people outside and anxiously searched for a familiar face.
Once I walked inside, my anxiety increased even more because there were so many people in there that there was barely enough room to walk! Even the sight of a few of my colleagues did not assuage my increasing desire to run back home. Finally, my friend – the host of the party – spotted me and got so excited about my cake. I felt a bit better and less nauseated after seeing her and walking in the near-empty kitchen. I managed to eat a traditional and DELICIOUS Afro-Brazilian dish called Bobó de camerão over white rice (I am soooo going to make this very soon) that another friend/colleague had made. I then became part of an interesting 3-way conversation that lasted until 8pm!
When the cake was taken out, almost everyone took a slice. I personally thought the cake wasn’t sweet enough. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since I’m aware that desserts in the U.S. tend to be sweeter than those made in other countries (correct me if I’m wrong!). Nevertheless, because the cake wasn’t super sweet, I knew that the guests of this party, which was comprised of 90% Brazilians (there was also one Mexican (the host), an Argentinean and one German), I assumed they would like it. I was right. They raved over the cake and kept saying comments like “Que delícia, Memória!“.
If I were to make this cake again, I would pick a sweeter cake as the base and use a regular frosting. I love sweet desserts, though, so ignore my preferences if yours are different haha. Despite the sweetness level, the whipped cream and strawberry filling tasted really good. I loved how soft everything was. It was a very comforting cake that felt very light even with the presence of heavy cream. If this cake sounds like your kind of dessert, you should definitely make it!
1/2 cup (1 stick/113g) of butter, room temperature
1 1/8 cup (225g) of caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (100ml) of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup (210g) AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pint (300g) of strawberries, washed and hulled
1/4 – 1/2 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 (550ml) heavy cream
1/2-3/4 cup granulated or powdered sugar, to taste
1 1/2 tsp CLEAR vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas 4, and grease and line two 8-inch cake pans.
Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Mix the milk and vanilla extract together in a liquid measuring cup. Sieve or whisk the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Then, pour the flour and milk mixture into the mixing bowl, alternating and ending with the flour.
Mix the batter completely until smooth and combined.
Divide the mix evenly between the two baking tins (or you can pour it all into one pan and separate it with a knife if you have a steady hand. I used two pans) and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool slightly for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. [While the cakes are cooling, place the whisk and bowl for the filling in the freezer!]
Filling and Topping:
When both cake layers are completely cooled, make the strawberry filling. Place the cut strawberries in a medium sauce pan along with the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Heat to boiling and then remove the pan from the heat. With a potato masher or fork, mash the strawberries into smaller chunks. Allow the filling to cool while making whipped cream.
With the cold whisk and bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add in the sugar and CLEAR vanilla extract. [If you don’t have clear vanilla extract, you could omit it or use the dark variety. Just know that it will change the color of the whipped cream.]
If the cake layers have a peak in the middle make sure to slice it off so you are left with perfectly flat layers. Place one layer face down on a cake stand and dollop with half the cooled strawberry purée. Then, add about a fourth to a third of the whipped cream, spread evenly. Carefully place the second cake layer on top and add the remaining strawberry purée. To avoid making the mess that I made, place the layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. After that time, add the remaining whipped cream generously. Feel free to garnish your cake with more hulled strawberries.