Creator of Taste the Nation and host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi plays with the idea of strawberry shortcake as a layer cake with a dense buttery cake, fresh berries, and cream cheese frosting fluffed with whipped cream.
By Padma Lakshmi | Updated on August 10, 2022
2 ½ cup chopped strawberries, divided
⅔ cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
4 large eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
1 ½ cup buttermilk
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 cup heavy cream
In a small bowl combine 1 cup of the strawberries and 1 tsp. of granulated sugar; set aside.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9x2-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.* In a medium bowl whisk together the 4 cups flour, the cardamom, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and 2 tsp. of the vanilla on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl between each beating. Fold in the lemon zest.
Add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating on low. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk, beating until just incorporated.
In a medium bowl toss the remaining 1 1/2 cups strawberries with the remaining 2 Tbsp. flour. Fold strawberries into batter, then divide batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake until cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove; cool completely.
For the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar to combine. Slowly add the heavy cream and continue to mix until the mixture becomes thick, like medium-peak whipped cream. Mix in the remaining 2 tsp. vanilla. Chill until ready for use.
To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to cut the domed tops from cakes so they are flat.
Place one cake layer on a cake stand and scoop half the whipped frosting on it; spread evenly. Top with half of reserved strawberries (use a slotted spoon to avoid bringing too much juice along with the fruit). Place remaining cake layer bottom side up. Top with remaining frosting and remaining strawberries.
*Padma's Pro Trick
Use the wrappers from the butter to grease the pans, then leave them lying flat in the bottoms of the pans instead of lining with parchment paper.