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Strawberry Vanilla Bean Layer Cake with Recipe

June 7th was my friend Carl's birthday, but he was away that weekend and had a show the following weekend, so we celebrated with dinner and dessert at my place.

For dessert I made this awesome cake from a recipe that came from my great grandmother's recipe box, which my uncle scanned and put into a binder for me.

The cake is called "Happy Day Cake" and has a notation that it originally came from Mrs. Gallagher. Granted, I have no idea who Mrs. Gallagher is (or more likely was) but thank you for the recipe, Mrs. Gallagher!

2 1/2 cups flour (i used cake flour to make it lighter and fluffier)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla (I substituted the contents of 2 vanilla beans)
2 eggs
7/8 cup milk

Instructions: Combine flour, baking powder, salt in medium mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl, stirring thoroughly to incorporate.

Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until no lumps remain. Do not overmix or the batter will take on a more bread-like texture. We're aiming for light and fluffy.

The rest of the instructions were rather vague! But, I've made cakes before, so this is my interpretation from here out. All I was given for instructions was the following:
Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees)

Ok, can do. How long though?

I baked mine in parchment-lined 9 inch pans for half an hour, which was ok, but turned out to be just a tad too long. I'd say check it at 20, but definitely remove by 25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and cake top is springy.

I cooked just past this stage, which was still delicious, but was a tiny bit dry and a little too golden on the edges of the cake. I'll probably try this recipe again another time with an altered bake time.

Once the cakes were cooled, I sliced them horizontally down the center, iced the inside of each cut layer, and assembled as such:

Bottom half of one cake, cut side up. Frost. Add thinly sliced strawberries. Frost cut side of top half, layer frosted side down. Frost baked top. Place top half of next cake onto bottom layers, cut side up. Frost cut side, then layer sliced strawberries. Frost the remaining bottom half of the cake on the cut side, then place frosted side down.

You may need to support the cake by adding bamboo skewers cut to size. Place cake in the freezer for a little while to harden layers, then frost entire cake. Decorate with remaining strawberries.

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