- 2cups cake flour
- 1/2cup cornmeal
- 2 1/3cups granulated sugarseparated
- 1tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- 10 large eggsat room temperature
- 12tablespoons unsalted buttermelted and cooled slightly
- 1/4cup water
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3pounds fresh strawberrieswashed, dried, stemmed (see note)*
- 8tablespoons sugar
- pinch salt
CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED CREAM
- 12ounces Cream Cheeseroom temperature
- 3/4cup granulated sugar
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round by at least 2-inch deep cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray with FLOUR, or grease and flour pans. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoons of granulated sugar (per pan)– starting with the top edges of the pan so it trickles down the pan and tap and turn the pan to evenly coat the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, TWO cups sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add 4 whole eggs. Separate remaining 6 eggs, and add egg YOLKS to flour mixture and egg whites to a mixing bowl. Add butter, water, and vanilla to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a handheld mixer at medium-high speed to soft frothy mounds (see photos). With the beaters running, gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes.
Stir half of egg whites into the batter to lighten, then gently fold remaining whites into batter until no white streaks remain.
Pour batter into prepared pans and drop a few times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 325 degrees F until toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes (mine took 38 minutes).
Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto greased wire rack; peel off parchment and allow to cool completely, about 2 hours.
While cake is baking/cooling, make Strawberry Filling.
Halve 32 of the most uniform/best-looking strawberries and reserve.
Quarter remaining berries (they can be rough; we are processing later). Add chopped berries to a bowl and stir in 8 tablespoons sugar. Let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add berries to a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and let berries drain for 10-30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator, pressing down with a spatula to get rid of excess moisture. Add drained berries to your food processor and pulse 4-5 times to roughly chop (or chop by hand). Set aside.
Transfer berry juices to a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until thick and syrupy, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Refrigerate until cake is cooled or until ready to use.
Once the cake has cooled, add cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to a large bowl. Beat with a handheld mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow stream, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 -3 minutes more.
Cut cakes in half horizontally using a long-serrated knife to create 4 even layers (I score them first then cut along score lines). Add a dab of frosting to the center of a cake stand or platter “to glue” bottom layer down. Add bottom layer of cake, cut side down, and arrange a ring of 18-20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.
Pour one third of processed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread up to strawberries. Add 1 1/2 cups whipped cream over berry layer and spread to within ¼” of the edge. Place second layer of cake on top, cut side down and press down gently so the whipped cream layer comes flush with cake edge. Repeat layers until you place the final cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining whipped cream over top and decorate with remaining strawberries.
Chill at least 1 hour before serving. You can chill up to 8 hours, but it is best within the first 4.