Fluffy white cake layers, filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit, and covered with white chocolate frosting.
I wasn’t planning on doing another cake with fruit right after the Riesling Rhubarb Crisp Cake, but a friend needed a cake for a baby shower and strawberry shortcake was at the top of the list for the soon-to-be-momma. Tessa Huff, who’s recipe the rhubarb cake came from, actually has a beautiful strawberry shortcake with basil whipped cream in her new cookbook Layered, but I was worried about doing the cake, like she did, without any frosting to act as a barrier because this cake needed to be transported in the car for about an hour.
I could tell Tessa’s chiffon cake (from the strawberry shortcake recipe) would be a great base to start with because it uses cake flour, grapeseed oil (a very light oil), and 8 egg whites folded into the batter. Based on experience and my own research, I knew this combination would create a really light, fluffy, sponge-like cake that would closely resemble the classic strawberry shortcake we all know and love.
Using Tessa’s chiffon cake for my cake layers, I then added whipped cream and strawberries for the filling and topped it all off with a light coat of white chocolate frosting, which I think pairs wonderfully with the cake and filling and adds something a little different to this very traditional dessert.
I’m so pleased with how the combination turned out, and even more so with how the cake looks. There’s just something so appetizing about fresh fruit on a cake!
Strawberry Shortcake with White Chocolate Frosting
Yield14-layer, 8-inch round cake
Fluffy white chiffon cake layers, filled with fresh fruit and whipped cream, topped with white chocolate frosting.
For the Chiffon Cake (recipe source: Tessa Huff, Layered)
2 cups (260 g) cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (275 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
8 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the White Chocolate Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oz. good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (used in between layers)
8-10 whole strawberries
1 cup blueberries
For the Chiffon Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray or grease with butter. Line the pans with parchment and spray or butter the pans again. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil and 1 1/4 cup sugar and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and mix for another 3 minutes. You want to mix until the mixture becomes pale in color and has almost doubled its volume. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into a large bowl and set it aside.
Thoroughly clean out the bowl of the stand mixer and dry it out. In the now clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cream of tartar. Whisk the egg whites and sugar on high until stiff peaks form.
Stop the mixer and carefully fold the egg-whites into the cake batter. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes rest on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then invert the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely. If the cakes don't slide out easily on their own, run a paring knife around the edges of the cakes before removing them from their pans.)
For the Whipped Cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the powdered sugar and whipping cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the whipping cream to another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the White Chocolate Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sifted powdered sugar until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another minute.
Turning the mixer to medium speed, gradually add the cooled white chocolate.
Add the whipping cream, one tablespoon at a time. Once the cream is incorporated, add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat the frosting for 4 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the frosting for 1 to 2 minutes by hand to push out any air bubbles.
Level the top of each cooled cake and then cut each cake horizontally so you have four cake layers total. (For my cake, I added one-half of the recipe and cooked three 8-inch cake pans, and then only used five cake layers.)
Spread a little of the white chocolate frosting on your cake board and place the first cake layer on the cake board, bottom-side down.
Pipe a border of the white chocolate frosting around the edge of the cake.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream in the center of the cake and then place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the sliced strawberries on top of the cream. Using the back of your hand, lightly press the strawberries into the cream and add another couple tablespoons of the whipping cream on top of the strawberries, using an offset palate knife to spread if across the strawberries and create an even surface.
Place another cake layer on top of the whipped cream and strawberry and repeat step 4 until you get to the final cake layer.
For the final cake layer, place the cake layer bottom-side up. Use a piping bag to fill in the sides of the cake to create an even surface. (Check out my video above for a visual.)
Create a crumb coat and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Continue frosting the cake and decorate with fresh berries and mint leaves.