Ree Drummond's second cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier is our June Cookbook of the Month! Aren't we glad the accidental country girl "traded her black heels for tractor wheels and found love, family and fame"? Save this one for the 4th of July next week!

A dish with "cake" repeated twice in its title probably belongs on my plate immediately.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake


Makes one 10-inch cake

I made this cake a few years ago on a whim . . . and what a delightful whim it turned out to be. It’s a spin on strawberry shortcake, but the cake is, well, cake—not the biscuit-like disc in the classic strawberry shortcake recipe. I added cream cheese frosting instead of whipped cream, just for kicks, and it turned out to be just what the whole mess of deliciousness needed.

This is one of my father-in-law’s three favorite desserts. He likes to eat it for breakfast.

I do too, now that I think about it!

CAKE


  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1½ cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


STRAWBERRIES

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 1½ pounds powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep (or you can split the batter between 2 pans if they’re not deep enough).

2. To make the cake batter, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add the sour cream and vanilla, then mix until just combined.

4. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda and add it to the bowl.

5. Mix it together until just combined.

6. Spread it in the pan or pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is no longer jiggly like my bottom.

7. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely.

8. Next, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or a fork (reserve a few for garnish if you like).

9. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Toss them around and allow them to sit for a little while.

10. They’ll give off this beautiful liquid after several minutes. Try not to drink it with a straw.

11. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl.

12. Mix until very light and fluffy. Warning: You’ll feel like eating this bowl of icing before you even get it on the cake.

13. To assemble the cake, use a sharp knife to cut it in half through the middle. It’s easier if you go all around the perimeter of the cake, slicing only halfway through the circle the whole way.

14. Lay the two halves cut side up.

15. And cover both halves with an equal amount of strawberries. Then—this is an important step!—place the cake halves in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. This’ll firm up the surface of the strawberries just a bit so that it’s easier to spread on the icing.

16. Remove the cakes from the freezer and place one layer on a cake stand or platter. Cover with a little less than a third of the icing.

17. Place the second layer on top, then spread the top with icing.

18. Carefully ice the outside of the cake with the remaining icing.

19. Lovely! You can certainly decorate the top of the cake with strawberry slices, too.

But I’m hungry and want to eat, so I’ll skip that part.

Store leftovers in the fridge. The cake can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

Excerpted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. Copyright 2012 by Ree Drummond. Used by permission of William Morrow/HarperCollins. All Rights Reserved. Read our review of this book.

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