Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday dear Sarah,
Happy birthday to me!!!
That's right, my birthday is on the 4th of July! For many reasons, this makes it the ultimate birthday date ever. For one thing, it's pretty much as far away from Christmas as you can get, so there's no overlapping of presents. Another reason is that almost everyone has this day off!
And for my family, this means heading up to Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire, like we have been doing for over 20 years, hitting up the beach, having a barbecue, watching the fireworks, and relaxing. It's simply amazing to be surrounded by your family on your birthday, year after year, knowing that everyone is celebrating and having a good time.
So since I went strawberry picking for the first time this weekend with Kevin, I thought "why not use them to make the most epic red, white, and blue berry cake ever?"
You will need:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
butter cream Frosting
- 1 cup strawberry jam
- 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries, stemmed and halved
- 1 cup whole fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottoms of 2 8x1 1/2 inch round pans (I actually divided the cake between 4 9in round pans so that I wouldn't have to cut the cake in half), and cut out a circle of parchment paper to stick on the inside. Grease again, and coat the entire pan with flour. It may seem like overkill, but the fastest way to ruin a cake is have it get stuck in the pan!
In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add the water, oil, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
In a medium bowl combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold beaten egg whites into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on racks.
To assemble, use a long serrated knife to cut cake layers in half horizontally. Place one cake layer, cut side down, on a flat plate. Spread with a generous 3/4 cup of the butter cream frosting and 1/4 cup of the jam. Top with 1 cup of the sliced berries. Repeat with two more cake layers.
For the final layer, place the cut side down, spread with frosting and jam, and top with 1 cup whole berries.
For the buttercream, you will need:
- 1/2 cup margarine or butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
Mix margarine and vanilla until fluffy, gradually add sugar and milk until you reach frosting consistency.
This cake was so scrumptious! It was my first time assembling a multi-layer cake, and I think I definitely dodged a bullet by baking 4 separate layers. I don't know how smoothly I could have cut a cake in half...
But the cake itself is fantastically light and fluffy, which is great because a denser cake would just be too heavy with all the berries. Beating the egg whites into submission really makes a huge difference in the texture, and kudos for Kevin for successfully creating the right consistency of egg whites!
So happy 4th of July everyone, and if you're looking for an incredibly sweet dessert to bring to your picnic/barbecue, look no further.
I might also think about making this this as individual cakes, each topped with their own berries! As gorgeous as this layered beast is, it might not lend itself to car travel that well...
Recipe from here