I drove all the way to my parent’s house in Virginia on Saturday. Then, because they weren’t home and I had forgotten my key, I dropped off my cat (she could get in through the cat door) and drove another two hours to see my partner. She had no idea I would be home on Saturday and so it was a great surprise! I also made this cake last night to “surprise” her (even though she sent me the recipe that was the initial inspiration).
Although I’m not a cheesecake (or cream cheese frosting) fan, I did like the idea of a poke cake in the recipe she sent me. I hated the use of a box cake mix, and I was a little wary of sweetened condensed milk making it too sweet. So I guess I really kept almost nothing from that recipe except the strawberry sauce (and even that I mixed up a little). But the idea was helpful.
I found this recipe for a homemade cake that the blogger said was sturdy enough to stand up to lots of holes. I changed it to remove most of the lemon flavor, and decided to bake it as two layers instead of a 9×13 cake. My parents, grandparents, and aunt were all at the house, so I wanted to impress, and double decker tends to do that! The sauce never really soaked in as much as I wanted, but it was still pretty and delicious!
I went with my usual extra vanilla whipped cream and then also added some strawberry sauce to half of it to make an amazing sweet/tart strawberry whipped cream as well. I wanted to go for a slightly ombre look, though with only two layers I couldn’t do too much. Still, I was happy with how it turned out.
This was a perfect dessert after a spaghetti dinner– light, slightly sweet, and not too rich.
I didn’t time the different pieces as well as I could have, so it took me three hours or so, but you could easily cut it down to two or less. I’d make sure the eggs and butter were out before you wanted to bake, have two cake pans so you can bake both cakes at once, while the cakes cook make the strawberry sauce and cool two thirds of it and continue to cook the other third. Then once everything is cool you can assemble it and make the frostings.
Yellow Cake Base
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1.25 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 T limoncello (or lemon juice)
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 and cream the butter and sugar for five minutes until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture, then the limoncello and vanilla.
- Gradually add the flour, then the sour cream. Mix until just combined.
- Divide batter into two oiled 9 in round pans and bake for 22-28 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
- 1 lb strawberries, washed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Blend strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
- Heat over medium heat for several minutes to make sure it is combined.
- Remove two thirds of the mixture and chill, leaving the other third in the pot.
- Cook the remaining third over medium heat until reduced by at least half. (Mixture will be thicker, like pudding.) Remove from heat and cool.
Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 1T vanilla
- 3T reduced strawberry sauce (from above)
- Whisk cream in a mixer until soft peaks form.
- Add in vanilla and powdered sugar. Add more to taste, if desired.
- Save 2/3 of the vanilla mixture and set aside
- To the rest of the mixture add the reduced strawberry sauce, to taste and whisk briefly.
- Poke holes with the end of a straw and/or a fork into the warm cakes and spread generous helpings of strawberry sauce over each cake. Allow to cool and for the sauce to soak in.
- Once cool, set one layer of cake on the cake plate and top with vanilla whipped cream.
- Add the second layer of cake with the strawberry sauce.
- Frost the bottom of the cake with the strawberry whipped cream and then the top of the sides and the top with the vanilla whipped cream. (I also used extra strawberry whipped cream to make poofs on the top and added some red, white, and pink sprinkles.)
Store this cake in the fridge. Makes 10-16 pieces.