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Today was Michael’s birthday and Brooklyn and I made him a yummy Strawberry cake. They don’t have box cake mixes here in France so we had to make one from scratch. Michael’s favorite has always been any kind of Strawberry cake so this is what we decided on. The cake was easy to make, and much easier to cut and put the layers together, than a normal box mix. It turned out much better looking than I thought it would. You might be wondering what the white chunks are. They are chunks of cream cheese are not supposed to be there, but I don’t have a mixer here so I had to mix everything by hand. Not fun. My next purchase will be a hand mixer. Here is the recipe if you want to try it for yourself.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

FROSTING
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup seedless strawberry jam
¾ cup chilled heavy whipping cream

CAKE
3 cups cake flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 large eggs
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE LAYERS:
6 TBSP plus ⅓ cup seedless strawberry jam
2¼ lbs strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 6 cups), divided

FROSTING: Put a small/medium bowl in the freezer to chill. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in sugar, then jam. Remove that chilled bowl from the freezer and beat cream in that chilled bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover; chill for a couple of hours until it’s firm enough to spread. (If you are in a hurry, you could put the frosting in the freezer to chill quickly.)

CAKE: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, and beat for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in three additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter into prepared pans.

Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, divide each layer in half horizontally. Place one half, cake side down, on a cake plate. Spread 3 TBSP of strawberry jam over the cake, then spread ¾ c of the frosting over the jam. Arrange ¾ c of the sliced strawberries on top of the frosting in a single layer. Repeat two more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and strawberries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread two cups of frosting over the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer, then frost with remaining frosting. Stir remaining jam to loosen, then spoon teaspoonfuls onto the top and sides of the cake. Use the back of a spoon to swirl jam decoratively into the frosting. This recipe makes a very big 4-layer cake that will feed a lot of people. Serves 12-15.

P.S. Brooklyn picked out the gift bags.

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