Cleveland Cassata Cake (strawberry custard layer cake)

(from kintyre’s recipe box)

Make cake and custard a day ahead. 3 layers are perfect

Source: Stir

Serves 12 people

Categories: dessert, not tried


  • For the custard:
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • For the cake layers:
  • 8 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) plus 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups (271 grams) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the strawberries:
  • 2 pounds strawberries, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. Make the custard:

  2. Whisk together all the custard ingredients in a saucepan.

  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat,

  4. whisking constantly.

  5. Turn down the heat so that the mixture just simmers, and whisk until thick, 1 to 2 minutes.

  6. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with plastic, and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

  7. Bake the cakes:

  8. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

  9. Spray the bottoms (not the sides) of two 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line the bottoms with cut-out circles of parchment, and spray the paper.

  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

  11. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, and beat on high until the peaks are stiff but not dry.

  12. Set aside.

  13. Sift the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, and the slat into a medium bowl.

  14. In a separate large bowl, use an electric hand mixer on high speed to beat together the yolks, lemon juice, water, oil, zest, and vanilla until smooth.

  15. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.

  16. Using a rubber spatula and a very light touch, fold about a quarter of the fluffy egg whites into the egg yolk mixtures.

  17. Then fold in the remaining whites.

  18. The goal here is to incorporate the egg whites without significantly deflating them.

  19. As soon as the egg whites are no longer visible, stop folding.

  20. (A streak or two of egg white is preferable to overmixing.)

  21. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and spread evenly.

  22. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

  23. Leave the cakes to cool in their pans on a rack for at least an hour.

  24. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release the cakes, cover each pan with a wax-paper-lined plate, and flip.

  25. Lift the pans off of the cakes, and carefully peel back the pieces of parchment.

  26. Wrap the two cakes in plastic, and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight.

  27. Prepare the strawberries:

  28. Thinly slice 1 pound of the strawberries lengthwise, 1/8 inch thick, and place in a medium-sized bowl.

  29. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons sugar, and stir.

  30. eave the strawberries to macerate for at least 1 hour.

  31. Give them a stir once in a while.

  32. They will release their juices.

  33. Strain the berries, reserving the syrup.

  34. (Don’t worry if you don’t end up with much syrup.

  35. Some strawberries are juicier than others.)

  36. Meanwhile, slice the remaining 1 pound of strawberries lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick, and set aside.

  37. These unmacerated berries are for the top of the cake.

  38. Split the cakes, whip the cream, and assemble:

  39. Remove the custard and cakes from the fridge.

  40. Using a long, serrated bread knife, carefully saw each cake into two equal layers.

  41. You’ll only need three layers for this cake.

  42. Store the fourth, well wrapped in the freezer for another day.

  43. Place each of the three remaining layers on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet or plate.

  44. Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff.

  45. Tear four 2 to 3 inch strips of wax paper and arrange them in a square on your cake stand or serving plate.

  46. Place one cake layer in the center of the square, with the four strips of wax paper partially sticking out on all sides.

  47. (The strips are to keep the plate clean from frosting.

  48. You’ll remove them before serving, taking any smears with you.)

  49. Brush the top of the cake with half of the reserved strawberry syrup.

  50. Cover with 1 cup of the custard, then half of the sliced macerated strawberries.

  51. Top with the next layer of cake, and repeat: syrup, 1 cup of the custard, strawberries, cake.

  52. Using an offset spatula, over the entire cake with whipped cream.

  53. Arrange the sliced unmacerated berries in concentric circles on the top of the cake, and press them into the sides of the cake around the bottom.

  54. Chill the cake for at least 8 hours, then bring to cool room temperature before serving.

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