In Which Davies Turns 16…and I realize I am now old

Happy Birthday Davies!  Can’t believe my little sis is already the bit 1-6, aka will soon be driving.  Lord help us all.

Look at this happy family!  All we need to complete it is the dogs.  What?  Oh, wait, since you asked, here’s a picture of the cutest fuzziest dogs in the universe!

(Henners on the left, Mudge on the right. Obviously)

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s PARTIES! The caps and exclamation point really add emphasis to how fun the parties are that she throws.  If you need more evidence of Ina Garten’s awesomeness, see this clip from 30 Rock

Now, back to the recipe!

It’s fairly simple: combine wets (sour cream, mmm) and dries, and you get

Sour cream is always a fun thing to play around with because it adds this great moisture.  Buttermilk too!

Whip up some cream.  Leticia, my pastry boss from JCT Kitchen, gave me some good whipped cream tips.

-If you want the whipped cream to whip up slower, but be very soft and fluffy, add the sugar (ALWAYS powdered) before you whip the cream.

-If you want the whipped cream to whip up faster and stiffer, add the sugar at the end, after the cream already has stiff peaks .  p.s. still peaks means if you take the whisk out of the bowl and hold it upright there will be a little peak on the top, and it will not collapse onto itself

Yeah I didn’t take this picture.  I googled it.

For this recipe, I’m more for the softer approach because it makes the cream easier to spread.  Add a little vanilla at the end, or orange liquor if you’re crazy.

Beautiful!  If I do say so myself.

This cake could be done with any in season berry.  I was really pining for those Aix outdoor markets whilst shopping for strawberries at Publix, but hey, I take what I can get.  Just make sure to smell the berries before you buy them, because it’s smell, not looks, that determines if they’re ripe or not.

I macerated (fancy word for marinated, but with fruit) the berries in a bit of orange juice and sugar for about an hour to let them get tender and even more juicy.

Buon Appetit!  Im off to watch Barefoot Contessa on TV and eat some waffles.  Life is good in the summertime.


Strawberry Country Cake

This recipe actually makes two cakes, each of which make the layered cake pictured above, so it would be fine to halve the recipe.  Or you could always go big and make a quadruple layered cake.  Send me a picture if you achieve this feat.


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cups sour cream at room temperature

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (We found the lemon flavor was a little strong, maybe cut it out if that’s not what you want)

1/2 tsp grated orange zest

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I always do more)

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

For the Filling of Each Cake

1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

3 tablespoons sugar (I do powdered, no grittiness)

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled (tops taken off) and sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix well.  Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.  On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.

To make the filling for one  cake, whip the cream by hand or in a mixer until firm, add the sugar and vanilla.  Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife.  Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, and spread with half of the whipped cream, and scatter with sliced strawberries.  Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with the remaining cream.  Decorate with strawberries.