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From Athens Locally Grown
<p>A light and refreshing cake filled with fresh fruit.</p>Source: Sylvan Falls Mill (Entered by Mike Johnson)
Serves: 9" layer cake, serves 8-12
Step by Step Instructions
- Position racks so that the cake layers will bake in the middle of an oven and preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a strainer or sifter and sift into a bowl. Repeat the process two more times. Whisk to mix well and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 45 seconds. With the mixer still running, slowly add 1/2 cup of the sugar, then stop the mixer and scrape the mixture that clings to the sides of the bowl into the center. Continue beating at medium speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly drizzle the egg yolks into the mixture and beat well; stop at least once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and blend well.
- Using the mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold in half of the flour mixture, then the milk, scraping the sides of the bowl and folding just until the ingredients are incorporated. In the same manner, fold in the remaining flour mixture.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces with a rubber spatula; set aside.
- Using the stand mixer fitted with a wire whip or hand mixer with clean beaters, in a clean metal bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form when the beater is slowly raised.
- Increase the mixer speed to high and slowly sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, then add the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until the whites form peaks that are very stiff and glossy when the beater is raised.
- Spread the meringue evenly over the batter in the pans, then scatter the almonds (pecans) all over the meringue-topped layers.
- Bake until the meringue is firm and golden brown, about 45 minutes; the surfaces will be irregular and cracked. Remove the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Shortly before serving, whip the Whipped Cream until stiff and smooth. If using berries, sweeten with sugar to taste. (cut the fruit to bite size slices and set aside)
- To assemble, run a small metal spatula or table knife around the edges to loosen the cake layers from the sides of the pans. Invert a serving plate over one pan, invert the plate and pan together, and lift off the pan, leaving the meringue side down on the plate. Arrange most of the berries or sliced fruit evenly over the cake and cover with most of the whipped cream. Turn out the remaining layer and place it, meringue side up, on top of the cream. Garnish with whole berries, leaves, and blossoms (if using). Serve with the remaining cream and berries.
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