• 10 oz (1 cup) frozen whole strawberries, thawed and drained well
• 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp cornstarch
• 3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese at room temperature?
• 1 1/3 cups sugar
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 extra large eggs
• 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
• 3 to 4 drops red food coloring (optional)
For the sponge cake (2 layers):
• 2/3 cup sifted cake flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 5 extra large eggs, separated and at room temperature
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
• ¼ tsp pure lemon extract
• ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
• ½ tsp cream of tartar
To assemble and frost:
• 2 quarts fresh strawberries
• 1 tbsp unflavored granulated gelatin
• 3 tbsp cold water
• 1 quart heavy or whipping cream
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Makes one 9-inch three layer cake for about 5 inches high
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the base and sides of one 9-inch springform pan and two 9 inches round layer cake pans. Using aluminum foil, wrap the outside of the springform (but not the cake pans), wraping the base and extending all the way up the sides. IMPORTANT REMINDER: line the base of all three pans with parchment or waxed paper (do not let the paper come up the sides).
- Use a food processor to pulse the thawed strawberries until smooth (you need ¾ cup of puree). Put in 1 tsp of cornstarch and then put to one side. It will solidify slightly as it stands.
- Add one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat on low until creamy for about 3 minutes. Wisp the bowl a few times. Beat in the left over cream cheese, one pack at a time. Wisp the bowl after each. Add the mixer speed to medium and then beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Put in the eggs one by one, beat well after adding up each egg. Beat in the cream just until is well mixed. Be careful not to over mix! Fold in the strawberry puree, and also the food coloring, if preferred (add just enough to tint the batter light pink).
- Cautiously spoon the batter into the springform. Set it in a large shallow pan with hot water that comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake the cake around 1 ¼ hours until the ends are light golden brown and the surface is set. Pull out the cake from the water bath. Move the tin to a wire rack. Leave it to cool in the pan for 2 hours. Cover with a plastic wrap. Chill until absolutely cold for around 4 hours. Next, freeze it for the night until it’s ready to assemble the cake.
- Create the sponge cake layers whilst the cheesecake is cooling. Make sure if the oven is preheated to 350 degrees and also the water bath has been removed. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt at the same time in a small bowl. Beat the egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually add 1/3 cup of the sugar while the mixer is still running. Carry on beating until thick, light yellow ribbons form in the bowl for around 5 minutes more. Mix in the extracts. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and mix it in by hand, just until there are no more white flecks visible. Put in the melted butter.
- Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium size bowl. Use clean, dry beaters, beat the mixer on high speed until frothy. Sift the remaining 1/3 cup sugar gradually. Constantly beat until stiff peaks are form. (the whites will stand up and appear glossy , it should not appear dry). Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter. Put in the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, it will vanish during baking. Divide the batter equally between the two layer cake pans. Bake for around 12 minutes until it appears golden (not wet or sticky) and the middle springs back when gently pressed or pat. Leave the cakes to cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Next, flip it out onto the rack and gently peel off the paper liners. Leave it to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap. Let it chill for the night or until it’s ready to assemble the cake.
- How to assemble the cake: Hull 1 quart of the strawberries and slice them into ½ inch pieces (2 cups needed). Put aside the left over strawberries to decorate the cake.
- Creating the Frosting: Put the gelatin in a heatproof measuring cup. Mix in the cold water and leave it stand until it swells and thickens. Cook for around 30 seconds in the microwave on high or over a pan of simmering water for around 1 minute, until clear and well melted. With an electric mixer whisk the cream in a medium size bowl on high until it thickens and soft peaks start to form. Put in the sugar with the mixer still running and beat just until the cream stands up in peaks (do not over mix or the cream will curdle). Mix in the vanilla. Put in the melted gelatin all at the same time and mix it until fully incorporated. Leave the cream to chill for at around 30 minutes (no longer than 1 hour) in 2 bowls put in 2 cups in a small bowl for piping the decorations on the top of the cake and the left over in a second larger bowl for frosting the cake. Next, get the frozen strawberry cheesecake from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Use a cake plate put one layer of the sponge cake, top side down. Spread evenly with a thin layer of whipped cream frosting from the large bowl and half of the strawberry pieces. Let go and pull out the ring of the springform. Collect the frozen cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. Take off the paper liner and put it top side down on top of the frosted bottom layer. Cautiously press or pat the cheesecake down, just enough so the two layers will stick together but not to strong for the filling to come out the sides. Top the cheesecake layer with some more whipped cream from the large bowl and sprinkle evenly with the left over strawberry pieces. Top it with the second cake layer of sponge cake, top side up. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream in the large bowl.
- How to Decorate: From the surface to tip, Hull the left over quart of berries and halve them. Put a ring of strawberries around the bottom edge of the cake, tip ends up. Create a star in the center of the cake using 5 or 6 berry halves, pointing the tips of the berries away from the center. With a pastry bag with a medium closed star tip or a medium open star tip then, fill up the cream from the small bowl. Pipe shells or rosettes around the top sides of the cake and create a large rosette on top of the strawberry pieces.
- Leave the cake to chill until serving time (around 2 hours to let the cheesecake to soften enough to slice easily). With a sharp straight edge knife, do not use the serrated one. Wrap and left over cake and chill but don’t freeze.