My sister was here this weekend! She spent most of it at R.I.T.’s College & Careers program, but we did get to spend some time together. While she was here, I finally made that angelfood strawberry shortcake layer cake.

The recipe was cobbled together from a few different places:

The strawberry filling/topping came from your typical strawberry shortcake recipe.
Most of these use a split buttermilk biscuit instead of cake. That’s not at all what I’ve been going for. First of all, these recipes are generally touted on women’s magazine covers as low-cal. Do you realize how much cream and butter are in a butter goes into a buttermilk biscuit? One batch could probably feed a small family for a week. They are really good biscuits though.

The angelfood recipe was a combination of a cooking for engineers article and this other recipe.
The two differed mainly in intended audience. The cooking for engineers article is kinda long and rambling, and insists that “even a drop a fat could ruin your cake!” It’s insanely purist basically. Meanwhile, the Food Network recipe tells the user to do some rather odd things like spin your sugar in a food processor “until it is superfine”. If you needed superfine sugar for this, you’d be using confectioners’ sugar. Grinding your granulated sugar into confectioners’ sugar is a waste of time and electricity. The only time I can imagine this being reasonable is if a person is unlikely to mix the sugar in evenly, resulting in heavy clumps of crystallized sugar. In this the case, save yourself some time and use powdered sugar instead.

The vanilla icing/filling recipe came from cooks.com, but next time, I may just use an extra-thick, double-sugar variation on whipped cream.

Start the strawberries first.

Mix:

2-3 lbs chopped strawberries
2-3 tbs sugar
and, if you want, a few drops of lemon or orange juice.

Let it sit for at least an hour while you make the other parts. If you plan on taking a while for the whole thing, use an airtight container and refrigerate it.

Next the cake layers.

You’ll need:

1 1/2 cups cake flour (All purpose flour works too, but cakes in general work best with cake flour.)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (Set aside 1/3 cup to be mixed in separately from the rest.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1-1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
12 large egg whites (Don’t worry if you break a yolk. Just scoop it out. A little bit won’t hurt if you’re using an electric mixer, but it may take a bit longer to whip up.)
and
3 eight or nine inch round or springform pans
1 oven, preheated to 375 degrees

Whisk the eggs until they start to froth, then add the cream of tartar and salt. Keep whisking. Once the eggs have formed soft peaks, mix in the vanilla and orange extracts. Gradually add 1/3 cup of the sugar while continuing to whisk. A tablespoon or two at a time works well. Keep whisking until the mixture has forms stiff peaks.

Mix the flour and remaining sugar, and either sprinkle or sift (Sifting is much less messy!) a thin layer over the mixture. Fold it in carefully, so you don’t deflate the eggs. Repeat this as many times as you have to, until all the flour and sugar is in. Don’t rush or over-stir.

Pour the foam evenly into your three pans, and bake until they’re lightly browned on top and a poked in fork or toothpick comes out clean. Watch it closely, because it won’t cook at the same rate as the tube cake in most angelfood recipes. 15-20 minutes is probably enough.

Once your three cakes are done and cooled, remove them from the pans.

If you’re using smallish pans, the layers might be an inch high or larger. Using a large chef’s knife, I cut mine down to about half an inch high.

Next, make the icing or whipped cream.

Icing:

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add sugar and milk, stirring until well blended. Over medium heat again, bring it to a boil. Let cool slightly.Gradually mix in confectioners’ sugar at medium speed into warm mixture, beating well after each addition until frosting is thick enough to spread, gradually beat in a little more confectioners’ sugar. Add vanilla.

(If you don’t use an electric mixer on this, it can turn kind of soupy, but dry hard. This might be good for cinnamon rolls, etc…)

Regular whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
Mix all three together on high speed until they form stiff peaks.
Super thick and sweet whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
Mix all three on high speed until they form very stiff peaks, and has a consistency like cupcake icing.

And finally, assemble the cake.

I spread a layer of icing over each layer of cake, than spread a layer of strawberries over the icing before putting down the next layer of cake. I did the same for the top, creating a thick topping of strawberries.

So, I really want to do this again and get it perfect. But I need people to help eat it. Volunteers?

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