Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180°C. Grease 3 (8 inch) round baking pans and line with parchment paper.
- Serves 8-10:
- For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- For the frosting:
- 1-pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (substitute cream cheese if you cannot find mascarpone)
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, or less (to taste)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- For the strawberry simple syrup:
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1-2 pounds fresh strawberries
- Fresh mint for garnish
- Fresh flowers for garnish (optional)
Begin by making the cake. Combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
In the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until thick and creamy. About 3 minutes on high speed.
Add the eggs, milk, and yogurt and beat until incorporated. The mixture will separate and appear curdled. Don’t worry.
Add the flour mixture in 3-4 batches and beat just until incorporated. Over mixing will create a tough cake.
Using a spatula, mix the batter gently folding 2-3 times.
Distribute the cake batter evenly in the prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden, springy to the touch and until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with some crumbs attached.
Allow to cool, remove from pans and set aside while making frosting.
Note: These cakes can be stored in the freezer up to 3 weeks. Once completely cooled, wrap 2-3 times with plastic wrap and freeze. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the counter.
To make the strawberry syrup, combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Note: This strawberry simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Discard the strawberries and store in a glass jar. Use to sweeten your favorite cold drinks: lemonade, iced tea, watermelon Fresca, etc.…
To make the frosting, combine the heavy cream, 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a tabletop mixer with the whisk attachment. Begin whisking on low and increase the speed to high. Mix until the whipped cream is thick and resembles the texture of Greek yogurt. Take care not to over mix or it will turn into butter. Transfer the whipped cream into another bowl.
There’s no need to wash the mixing bowl, just continue making the mascarpone cream.
Combine the mascarpone cheese, remaining powdered sugar, and almond extract in the mixing bowl.
Whip until combined and fluffy.
Fold in 1/3 or the whipped cream into the mascarpone cream to lighten it up.
Fold in the remaining whipped cream until incorporated.
Slice the strawberries in half reserving about 1 cup of the smaller strawberries to decorate the top of the cake.
Note: If you prefer a cake with thinner layers, cut each layer in half with a serrated knife and store the extra cakes in the freezer wrapped in plastic.
Place one cake layer onto a cake pedestal or serving plate. Brush generously with the strawberry syrup.
Spread a generous amount of mascarpone cream over the cake and top with a layer of sliced strawberries.
Top with another layer of cake and repeat the same steps 2 more times.
Decorate the top of the cake with sliced and whole strawberries. Garnish with fresh flowers and mint.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.