For the cakes
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 pints of very ripe strawberries
- Drizzle of honey
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 8oz package of cream cheese (soften by setting out on the counter for 30-45 minutes)
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 pint whole (whipping) cream
- 1 TBSP vanilla
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Always use a conventional oven setting (not a convection/fan setting). Line bottoms of two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper (do not grease the sides). You may use 9” pans too for larger but slightly thinner layers.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat eggs for 1 minute on high speed. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating 8-10 minutes until thick and fluffy.
Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder then sift this mixture into fluffy egg mixture one third at a time. Fold with a spatula with each addition just until incorporated. Scrape spatula from the bottom to catch any pockets of flour and stop mixing when no streaks of flour remain. When no streaks of flour remain in the dough, fold a few extra times to ensure you aren’t missing pockets of flour at the bottom. Do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.
Divide evenly between prepared cake pans (it helps if you have a kitchen scale to weight the pans). Bake at 350˚F for 24-26 minutes or until top is golden brown. Bake the cake layers right after folding in the flour – they should not sit too long. Do not open the oven door to check on the cake until towards the end
While the cakes are baking prepare your strawberries by removing the stems and slicing in half lengthways into a medium mixing bowl, you may slice them more if you prefer but I like the big chunk a full half berry produces. If your berries are large, quarter them. Drizzle in the honey and add the salt, give them a good stir to get those juices flowing. Maceration Congratulations! Set aside for an hour then store in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your dessert.
Remove from pan by sliding a thin spatula around the edges then transfer to a wire rack and remove parchment backing. Cool cakes to room temperature, do not put in a drafty area or the cake will develop an “eggy” taste.
If you are making the dessert for later, wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and store unrefrigerated for up to 24 hours.
To assemble the cake, beat the cream cheese and honey together in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until smooth and soft about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the cream and begin the whip on low speed until the cream cheese/honey mixture incorporates with the cream. Run the mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and run the mixer to incorporate.
Place one layer of sponge cake on a cake plate, spread half of the whipped frosting on top, to the edge. Feel free to take it over the edge and down the side if you prefer but I like the “naked” cake look on this one. Top with half the berries arranged in a single layer. Add the second cake and repeat. You may store the finished cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve or, it holds for a couple of hours outside in the shade.