It was my birthday last weekend and I made a birthday cake for myself. Never really thought about it but from the reaction I got from everyone who knew I was doing this, not everyone does it! Control issues? Maybe, but I know what I like and how to get it! Do it myself.
My birthday always comes when strawberries are plentiful so naturally most of the cakes I have baked have strawberries involved. This year they took center stage…along with some Limoncello of course!
I first made this cake almost 2 years ago, here, and absolutely fell in love with it. It is a beautiful dense cake and the mascarpone whipped cream was the perfect compliment but I was not really keen on the sherry macerated berries so this year I decided to macerate the berries in Limoncello…good move too!
Mascarpone-Filled Cake with Limoncello Strawberries – adapted from Gourmet, July 2008
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 large eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 cup Limoncello
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups strawberries, quartered
8 ounces mascarpone cheese (1 cup)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Line bottom with a round of parchment paper, then butter parchment.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer at low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.
Spread batter in cake pan, smoothing top. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Discard paper and reinvert cake onto rack to cool completely.
Pour the limoncello and the sugar over the berries and toss gently ( allow to satnd for about 30 minutes mixing periodically - or you can do it the real way and bring Limoncello and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Put berries in a bowl and pour hot syrup over them, gently tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. make cream and assemble cake.
Beat mascarpone and cream with sugar in a large bowl using cleaned beaters until mixture just holds stiff peaks.
Halve cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Carefully remove top half and reserve. Put bottom half on a plate, then spread evenly with half of the cream and replace top half. Use the rest of the cream on the top and serve with berries.
•Cake, without cream, can be baked 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic wrap once cool and keep at room temperature.
•Berries can macerate at room temperature up to 2 hours.