Simple (Honest) Strawberry Shortcake. Tiered x 4.

Simple enough, I mean – it is a tiered cake after all. Tiered cakes are to be respected. Straight up. One must be gentle yet stern with them all at the same time. At least that’s why I believe this sexy cake came out so magnificently. So timely. Surely, it also had something to do with setting a vibe of tranquility. (I’ve been known to bust a move all in the name of a homemade birthday cake many a time.) Having all of my ingredients ready. Researching the substitions I would make once I decided on a recipe.

Which all ends in the minor technicality that the hour in which I profess it took me to make this cake? Well that isn’t really true at all.

I love baking and cooking. I don’t count the research and experiment time. What I can tell you is that this is the perfect cake for the summer season – or any occasion really. I made it for a dear sweet, charming young man in my life, for his 17th birthday. I now plan on making it for my dear, sweet, baby girl for her birthday in one short month. Her 1st! Onwards with this cake business.

Let go of your fear, revel in the fact that your search for the perfect cake is over and you can just get to the business of creating this masterpiece. I don’t have a fancy cake cutting wire (although that would be splendid), or probably half of the tools one could use to make this even more simple and uber profesh looking. The making part is what I’m referring to. Which is fine, because I don’t profess to be a food blog. Just a momma who believes in the inherent, magical virtues of a homemade birthday cake. Bar none.

This recipe is for all the moms who believe in that magic and appreciate the community on the internets that allows us to do so more often. Recipes, tips, inspiration, stories, support. It’s why I’m here. You are here for all that and some cake, too, right? 

Strawberry Chiffon-er-iffous Shorty (But Not Really) Short Cake
adapted from the brilliance that is The Smitten Kitchen

What You’ll Need For Those Feisty Layers:

2 1/4 cups sifted organic all purpose, unbleached flour
1 cup of organic cane sugar, spilt in two
1 tablespoon gluten free baking powder (Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks at room temperature
8 large egg whites at room temperature (use eggs from your local farmer’s market people! Or get chickens > This, I dream of.)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Creamy & Berry-Licious Filling:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 quarts strawberries, beheaded and sliced (don’t be too neat about it – I wasn’t in the chopping or the layering.)

Now that you’re set let us commence. No fear. Smitten Kitchen’s recipe called for 9 inch cake pans. I only had 10 inch spring-foam pans. (I’ve actually crossed over to using spirng foam pans for just about all of my cake baking.) Worked out fine. As would 8, surely. Line them bottoms up with parchment paper. Yes, I cut mine near to the exact circumference of the bottom of the pans. I don’t grease or spray. Coconut oil has a wonderful way of discreetly seeping through baked goods to perfection; greatly aiding in the ease of pan removal. Than there’s the obvious of the parchment paper. Like great friends they are. The coconut oil and parchment paper. Oh, and also preheat your oven to 325. Fahrenheit.

Typically sift your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) in a big ole bowl. (I’m not saying it has to be vintage pyrex, but oh, the nerd in me really LOVES baking with my pyrex). Now over in a smaller bowl, whip your separated yolks, oil, zest, water and vanilla on medium to high till effortless. Onto the chiffon part. You should have another large bowl so as you don’t spray all over the place like I did. Because it’s on high speed that you will want to beat those egg whites and cream of tartar into pearlescent, soft-peaked perfection. Not forgetting to add the remaining sugar to whip up even more till you have acquired stiff, mountainous peaks. Right now you are winning. Do a little dance. Take a picture.

A rubber spatula will do this part the best: gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue-y chiffon goodness into the creamy egg yolk mixture. Then keep folding till the peaks are gone. Ever so delicately, as you don’t want a dense, flat cake do you? Naye.

Spoon and scrape the batter into your two pans ready for show-time. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean as a whistle. As with all cakes. I let my layers cool without touching them a-once for well over an hour on the dining room table. In the pans. I got caught up in work/baby-land/laundry, as I do. No biggie. Once I resurfaced I scoured the edges between the edge of the pan and the cake all the way ’round with a knife and flipped them over to gently release their glory. I used a cutting board as the landing spot. The I left them for some more, as someone was hollering for something. As they do.

Whipped cream? So easy. You know it. Beat with vanilla and icing sugar till peaked out. Yum.

Cutting time? Have no fear. As I mentioned before, this was my first time. Obviously, I was careful, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Each cake layer got split in two and they may not have been perfect but they were dang close.

Assembly Line: one by one, scoop and spread 1/4 of the whipped cream onto each layer spreading out to the edges. Top each layer with a mess of strawberries. I did not line them up perfectly, there was much shoving and squishing and general strawberry tom foolery. Also? I did one layer at a time, stacking them one on top on the other and it worked! By golly it all worked and this is what it looked like. Glory be. End of story. Your turn.

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I’ll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!

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